NBA Won't Participate in National Confab - Wali


The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Wednesday in Abuja restated its earlier stand that it won't participate in the on going National Conference in protest of the single slot allocated to it.

NBA National President , Chief Okey Wali,(SAN), restated this while reading the communique of the association's National Executive Council (NEC) meeting held in Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital, saying the association's NEC had affirmed the decision not to participate in the confab.

Wali noted that with only one delegate, NBA would be unable to make the desirous impact and so would not participate in the National Conference if the one slot allocation was not increased.

"The NBA-NEC viewed as unacceptable, the allocation of one slot to the association to represent NBA at the National Conference, particularly, when viewed against the number of slots allocated to some other organised and interest groups.

"That in view of the fact that so many legal issues would be addressed at the National Conference, it is only fitting and proper for the umbrella association of all lawyers, the profession with expertise on law making in Nigeria, should have more than one slot," he said.

NBA, while also calling on the executive to stop reducing budgetary allocations to the judiciary, said: "As against what is happening now where the judiciary gets its allocations in arrears, budget for the judiciary has been dwindling in the last few years.

" It however commended the House of Representatives joint Committee on the Judiciary for referring the Director-General of the Budget office back to the Ministry of Finance for an upward review of the budget.

He said direct foreign investment is not all about traveling abroad as any investor would want to invest in an economy where there is respect for the rule of law.

He however lamented a situation where the nation's judiciary was continuously starved of funds noting that "besides being independent and self accounting, a situation where in steadily increasing budgets, the budgetary appropriation for the judiciary is dwindling, that of the other arms of government is bourgeoning,cannot be right.

" According to him, statistics have shown that funding from the Federal Government in the annual budget has witnessed a steady decline since 2010; from N95 billion in that year to N85 billion in 2011, then N75 billion in 2012, and dropped again in the 2013 budget to N67 billion.

Wali said in the 2014 budget, an increased budget of N4.

5 trillion, the estimates submitted by the judiciary were reduced by the budget office of the federation from, N159 billion to N68 billion .

"We have written to the President of the Federal Republic asking for his intervention, if we are desirous of having a functional judiciary, which we should, particularly in a democracy, then we must fund it adequately," he declared.

"That government must recognise that it is only the existence of a virile, fearless, and independent judiciary that can guarantee an enduring democratic government, and the maintenance of law and order.

It must be recognised that a good civilian administration in Nigeria, premised on the rule of law, will provide the enabling environment for foreign investments, economic growth and social development.