The Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu has called on legal practitioners in the country to speak against the level of impunity in the country.
Ekweremadu decried what he described as the high handedness of the executive arm of the federal government.
The Deputy Senate President, while delivering a keynote address at 2018 Law week celebration of the Abuja Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), urged the NBA to resist any form of intimidation and reckless use of power capable of truncating democracy in the country.
While expressing worry over the continued silence of the NBA over the continued onslaught of one arm of the government against the others, he warned that if the situation is not arrested now it could derail democracy in the country.
“The Bar has not uttered any word of condemnation of these and other clear acts of aggression against the legislature or the judiciary in recent years.
“We must bear in mind that democracy does not die in a day. Democracy dies a slow and painful death. Democracy will die if the independence of the judiciary is destroyed, the National Assembly turned to a rubber stamp, the media gagged, the civil society organisations sucked-in, and the electoral umpire annexed”, he said.
Ekweremadu further remarked that it is not in anybody’s interest, let alone the Bar, for democracy to fail. “We cannot fold our hands, keep sealed lips, and expect heavens to play our parts as lawyers. So, the Bar must rise in defence of democracy”, he noted.
“There is no sitting on the fence. The poet, Dante Algheri, warns that the hottest parts of hell are reserved for those, who in the time of moral crisis, preserve their neutrality. The Bar must speak up against impunity.
“The Bar must be heard loud and clear in condemnation of desecration and intimidation, and annexation of key institutions of democracy.
“The Bar must stand up in defence of the rule of law, separation of power, rights, liberties, and other laudable tenets without which democracy becomes an empty barrel, a civilianised dictatorship, and, above all, the Bar must continue to promote justice, equity and fairness to sustain our democracy”, Ekweremadu emphasised.
In a brief remark, Chief Judge of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court, Justice Ishaq Bello, said the NBA must first be united, if it must play the role of defending democracy in the country.
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