THE Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, yesterday, said it was perturbed that standard of justice administered in the country had fallen. NBA, which is the umbrella body of lawyers in the country, maintained that the challenges confronting the legal profession, such as regulation, must be tackled urgently to ensure the protection of public interest. Meanwhile, some lawyers, yesterday, agreed with the NBA, saying combating the challenges was long over due. The association, through its National President, Mr. Abubakar Mahmoud, SAN, yesterday, inaugurated a 23-man Legal Profession Regulation Review Committee. The committee, which has 11 Senior Advocates of Nigeria, as members, is headed by Chief Anthony Idigbe, SAN. It said: “We are concerned that for too long the relevant and appropriate authority failed or neglected to address the issues of regulatory gaps and challenges that are daily militating against the regulation of the legal profession in Nigeria. “It is one thing to identify what the challenges are; it is another to tackle the challenges head on with a view to providing solutions. The NBA has decided to tackle these challenges. The NBA is now more determined to play a major role in ensuring a better regulated legal profession in Nigeria. “We believe that the first step is to provide a platform to discuss and interrogate the current regulatory regime and come up with recommendations on the way forward. “There is no doubt that the legal profession in Nigeria is facing a plethora of challenges and we must move quickly to address these challenges, if we are to maintain high standards and remain relevant in the increasingly globalized legal services industry.” Addressing the challenges, long over due — Lawyers Commenting on the committee, a Lagos lawyer, Nnaemeka Boniface and the Executive Director, Free Advocacy Group, Omodara Sulaiman, described it as a step in the right direction. Boniface said: “The decision of the NBA to put the committee up is well over due. There is no doubt that the standard of the justice delivery system has fallen. However, the issue goes beyond the NBA, it is something that needs to be attended to by all critical stakeholders including the Bench and even the lawmakers. “The association can only jump start our rediscovery process but it has to involve other stakeholders to achieve excellenct result. I agree that urgent step has to be taken.” Sulaiman, also a lawyer, said: “For the NBA to decide to do this is almost belated. The reason is not far-fetched. If you look at the entire system, some of the leading figures in the legal profession contributed to the fallen standard. “What do I mean? Majority of the practitioners know the right thing but they will chose to the opposite. Some of them are those that consult judges while they are supposed to be preparing for their cases. “Why won’t the standard not fall? So, all hands must be on deck to achieve success and improve the practice of law in Nigeria.”

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