President Goodluck Jonathan has once again given reasons for the declaration of emergency rule in Borno, Yobo and Adamawa States, insisting that the rule was necessary to guarantee the safety of lives and properties of residents in the states.

Speaking in Calabar, Jonathan, who was represented by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister for Justice, Mohammed Bello Adeke, hailed the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) for its struggle for the rule of law and ensuring a lasting democracy in the country.

While declaring open the 53rd Annual Conference of the NBA with the theme, ?Law, Leadership and Challenges of Nationhood in the 21st Century Nigeria? in Calabar, Jonathan said the conference would aid the country?s quest for transformation.
He said: ?Law is a social tool of engineering as seen in the development agenda of the Federal Government. The challenges facing the country include insecurity and threat to lives and property which culminated in the declaration of state of emergency in Borno, Yobo and Adamawa States.

?Nigeria to be fully democratic, there should be freedom of expression, association and thought. Government is determined to improve the living condition of the people by instilling law and order, creating a favourable economic environment and create jobs to fight unemployment. This can be achieved with the support of the public, private sector as well as associations like NBA to enable Nigerians take advantage of the global liberalization and complete favourably.?

Governor Liyel Imoke of Cross River State urged delegates to reflect the objective of the conference by ensuring a better Nigeria in 21st Century especially in the quality of leadership.

Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State, who was represented by his Duty, Mrs. Valerie Ebbe, challenged the lawyers to defend and shape the Nigerian goal as the nation prepares for its 100 years anniversaries.

The Senate President, David Mark, represented by the leader of the senator, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, said law and lawyers are central to legal and development of the country, adding that law should provide frame work for social justice and change irrespective of tribe or religion.

?The National Assembly has passed a lot of legislations to fight corruption and is determined to ensure a just, secured and equitable nation through rule of law and leadership because true leadership can turn challenges into opportunities,? he said.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, who commended NBA for its contribution to constitutional amendment as well as nation building, said there are issues abound which threaten the existence of the nation in terms of oneness and unity.

?The national assembly will not fail to introduce any law reform that will reposition the nation while pledging to partner NBA to achieve its goals of national building through meaningful legislation,? he added.

The Chairman and one-time Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice SMA Belgore, who urged the lawyers to proffer solutions to current incidents in the country, added ?Nigeria has lost a lot through corruption and violence which the conference should address?.

The Chairman of NBA, Calabar Branch, Mrs. Nkoyo, O. Amah, noted that to survive as a nation, members of the association must rise up against the cankerworms of corruption, terrorism, insecurity, brutal killings and destruction of lives and property by terrorists and other challenges confronting the nation.

Prof Jonah Isawa Elaigwu, Prof Emeritues of Political Science, in a key note address, enjoined NBA to revisit the nation?s old national anthem and reflect on its relevance on Nigeria.


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