From Tony John, Port Harcourt
The Nembe-Se Lawyers Forum, a group of Niger Delta legal practitioners, have called for an end to violent agitations in Nigeria, saying that it has negatively affected national unity.
The lawyers said they have set a new template on resolving the issues of marginalisation and agitations in the oil-rich region legally, without igniting crisis.
The body spoke in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, during a pre-conference briefing on its Professional Development and Networking Session, tagged “Law Practice Building in Contemporary Times”, scheduled for May 3.
The group said the call is intended to end clashes and confrontations that ensue in the violent agitations by youth of the region in their bid to getting the attention of government.
Speaking, His Royal Highness, David Serena-Dokubo, the Amadabo of Spiff Town, in Twon Brass, Bayelsa State, stated that if legal means were sought in handling issues of the region, that lasting success would always be achieved.
Serena-Dokubo regretted that the people of the region had adopted violent means to express their grievances, stating that the forum of lawyers would approach the issues of the region legally.
‘The order of the day hitherto was, blow up the pipelines, cause mayhem, deal with them, violence, attack, kidnap. We must rise and say no to our people. Enough is enough, no more violence of any kind in the assertion of your right,’ he said.
‘However, there has to be reciprocity and that is to say something has to be given in exchange for the non-combative style of the people. Nembe-Se Lawyers Forum is saying use only the due process of the law that is important.
‘We expected that the marcenary of justice, the marcenary of law and order will not fail them because we do not know any other avenue for the ventilation of our rights.
‘As lawyers, our work will be to pacify our people and ensure justice for them. This entire exercise is to train ourselves and enhance our capacity to deploy the instrumentality of the law in addressing our greviances and anger of our people.’
The Chairman Planning Team for the conference, Iniruo Wills, regretted that law and lawyers were underutilized in agitations by regions of the nation.
‘Law, along with its practitioners, the lawyers, is an instrument that is highly underutilised in this part of the world. Moreso in our part of the country, the Niger Delta region, which region Nembe-Se territory is the heart beat,’ Wills said.
‘We will not be fighting; rather, we will be providing platform for the engagement of the issues of marginalisation. We will engage all stakeholders from the private industry, oil companies, government, policy makers, regulatory agencies, community leaderships, to bring the issues to the fore and to unveil before everyone, the solutions that lie within the law and processes of the law to tackle these challenges.’
The Chairman of Nembe-Se Lawyers Forum, Dr Ayebaesin Beredugo, who reeled out the plans of the body, said the programme would be used to retain lawyers of Nembe-Se extraction on contemporary issues to ensure socioeconomic development of the country.