The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has apologised to Nigerians for what it describes as the failure of lawyers to live up to their responsibilities of offering guidance for the advancement of the country.
Speaking at a National Dialogue on the State of the Nation organised by the association, NBA president, Yakubu Maikyau, said most challenges Nigerians faced were due to the failure of lawyers to provide direction and leadership to the people.
“I dare say, with the utmost respect, that to a large extent, our experience today as a country is a direct result of the legal profession’s abdication of the duty to provide direction and leadership to the people.
” I must therefore, as one who is privileged to lead the bar at this time, apologise to Nigerians for the abdication of our role.”
Highlighting the roles of the bar in the country’s advancement, the NBA president noted that it was pertinent to apologise to Nigerians.
“Today, as members of the Bar, we are reputed more for how much fees we charge our clients as opposed to the discharge of our primary call to offer guidance and/or offer ourselves for the advancement of the cause of our country.
“This apology is necessary because no other group of professionals is called to this privileged position as the lawyers, which also comes with a corresponding responsibility to provide leadership,” Mr Maikyau said.
Speaking on behalf of the federal government, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, said the dialogue was apt, as it was a call to duty for legal practitioners.
“I thank the NBA under its new leadership for initiating this national dialogue.
“This shows that you are bringing back the responsibilities restored on us as members of the legal profession.”
Mr Mustapha said whatever came out of the dialogue should be transmitted to the federal government to enable them to transmit to the incoming government.
Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations Amina Mohammed, who joined the conversation virtually said the objective of the UN was to ensure that a free and fair election was conducted in Nigeria.
For his part, Governor Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi said the dialogue was audacious.
“Looking at the state of the nation’s security, economy and administration of justice were taking a holistic look at the country to find the problem areas and proffer solutions as we approach the elections,” he said.
The theme of the dialogue is Security, Economy and Administration of Justice.