The Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) Professor Bolaji Owasanoye, SAN, has given the assurances of the Commission to the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) that it would continue with its culture of upholding respect for the rule of law and dignity of persons while discharging its duty of fighting corrupt practices and other related offences.
Professor Owasanoye, who stated this while welcoming the NBA Committee on Security Agencies Relation, under the leadership of Mr. J. K. Gadzama, stressed the need for the Bar Association to deal internally with lawyers that are unethical in their practice, and also to train them to be people of noble character.
He emphasized that the measures, if implemented, would change the public perception and assessment of the profession as some lawyers were seen as money launderers, landing themselves into criminality.
Speaking earlier, the Chairman of Nigerian Bar Association’s Committee on Security Agencies Relation, J. K. Gadzama, stressed the need for effective synergy and collaboration between ICPC and the NBA in order to achieve more success in the war against corruption in Nigeria.
Gadzama further explained that the NBA Committee on Security Relations was a child of necessity due to the recurring trend of brutal treatment of legal practitioners by security operatives whilst discharging official duties and obligations to clients.
The NBA Committee however appreciated the good work of the Commission in the areas of asset tracking and recovery of looted funds, noting that it was obvious that procedures and protocols were duly observed in discharging the duty.
He further solicited for engagement in seminars, symposia and workshops that could help in building a bridge of understanding, not a wall that may become a barrier in trying to give lawyers the respect they deserved as counsels.
Professor Owasanoye also pointed out the lack of openness between lawyers, who shield their behaviors while discharging their duties, and NBA, only for the lawyers to later complain of being maltreated or brutalized along with their clients.
ICPC Chairman further enjoined the Committee to offer maximum cooperation to ICPC, and to introduce guidelines to regulate affairs through operational procedures as well as internal reform measures.