The new President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr Abubakar Mahmud (SAN), formally took office yesterday with a call for the reform of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).The reform should limit the EFCC’s role to investigation, he said, while prosecution should be handled by an independent resource prosecution agency.“The critical institutions involved must be repositioned, re-equipped and re-tooled to confront the problem of corruption on a consistent and sustainable basis,” he said.He commended the EFCC for its current work and achievements in the fight against corruption, but said: “however, going forward, the NBA must demand the reform of the institution itself. We need to define its mandate more narrowly and more clearly.
“In my view, its broad objective as an investigative and prose curial agency should be reviewed.“I recommend strongly that the EFCC be limited to investigation.”The president said the NBA anti-corruption committee would be mandated to develop clear recommendations towards enhancing the fight against corruption and improving the effectiveness of the agencies involved.Mahmud also said that the NBA would advocate urgent reforms for the repositioning of the judiciary and make it play crucial roles.He said a clean, efficient and knowledgeable judiciary was a foundation for building orderly, peaceful and prosperous society.“The NBA under my watch will fight judicial corruption. We shall make the legal profession unattractive for corrupt lawyers,” he said.He stressed the need for vision and the fight for the new bar system if the judiciary would remain the last hope of the common man.He noted that for judiciary to be free of any suspicion, the vision of the new bar system must be geared towards reinventing the bar, by the skills and knowledge of its members. ”The vision and fight for the new bar system must continue and lawyers need to brave up for the challenge, the insurgency spurring up in the country; inequality, the expectancy, internal conflicts, poverty and failure of the legal order is dysfunctional in the dissemination of criminal justice. ”Our top priority will be to fight for a clean judiciary, to give out plausible solution; not only criticism and the judiciary must give out consistency predictable utterance and also in the area of electoral practices. The judiciary must be free from any form of corrupt allegation and other illegality.”He said lawyers must continue to brave up for the challenges despite the problems facing the Nigerian system which is embedded with vices such as corruption; failure of Nigeria to guarantee the right of development of its citizens and other challenges. In a communiqué at the end of the NBA 56th Annual General Conference, the association urged the Federal Government to adequately fund university education in the country.The association also urged the government to equip the military to enable it face the insurgence confronting the nation.The association described education as central to human capital development in any country, just as it is imperative to properly equip the military.It urged the military to “returns to its ethics and educate the young officers on the ethics of military profession to achieve good conducts,” and asked the federal government to separate religion and tribal sentiment from governance because it could damage a lot of things and the integrity of government.NBA said that there was urgent need for the National Assembly to amend Military and Prison Acts in line with best global practice.It urged the National Human Right Commission to concentrate on its traditional responsibility of advocacy, rather than usurp the functions and responsibilities of other authorities in the country.The president said that the NBA should take active interests in the happenings in the North-East and Niger Delta Region.He said the NBA would set up a North-East task force to assist members affected by the conflict, provide legal services to individuals and communities who were victims of the conflict and monitor human rights issues.He also said the association would set up a Niger Delta task force to carry out similar assignments in the area, especially providing legal support to advise on general challenges to enhance environmental protection and quality of life.Source : The Nation