The president of the Nigerian Bar Association, Mr. Olumide Akpata has said that the appointment of judges and justices on merit was non-negotiable if efficiency and competence must be enthroned at all levels of the Judiciary.

Mr. Akpata reiterated the position at the ongoing Nigerian Bar Association Section on Legal Practice Conference holding in Asaba, Delta State Capital.

He stated that the ugly scenario in the sector warranted 14 justices of the apex court to petition the immediate past Chief Justice of Nigeria, Honourable Justice Tanko Mohammed alleging among others various improprieties and administrative inefficiencies that impacted their judicial administration process have largely exposed the rot in the system.

The President retrospected that those issues raised by eminent jurists were the same ones the NBA discussed at the Justice Sector summit organised by it in January 2022.

"As the NBA has been doing under my administration we will continue to advocate for the appointment of the best hands into the Judiciary at all levels; the continuous education and training of our judges and justices, the improvement of the welfare and wellbeing of our judicial officers, the entrenchment of true independence and financial autonomy of the Judiciary as an equal arm of government," he noted

While lauding Governor Ifeanyi Okowa and the State Government for not just accepting to host but also sponsor the NBA Section on Legal Practice 2022 Conference, Olumide Akpata implored the Judiciary to entrench the principles of accountability and probity in the manner in which allocated resources were spent. 

"While the fight for the increase of budgetary allocation for the Judiciary continues, it is equally important that the available resources be used for the welfare and wellbeing of our judicial officers as well as for the improvement of infrastructure and facilities required by judges and justices to effectively discharge their duties."

Echoing the essence of the Conference, the Chair of the NBA Section on Legal Practice, Chief Ferdinand Orbih, SAN, stated that the Legal practice in Nigeria was at crossroads. 

He lamented the spate of inconsistency in judicial pronouncements, especially in election jurisprudence; the prime role of Ethics in the Legal profession, Alternative dispute Resolution among others, saying that they were an array of issues that the Conference would focus on.

Agbaragu Timothy

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