■ As Buhari hails new Bar leaders
From: TONY JOHN, Port Harcourt and Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The new President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Mr Abubakar Mahmoud SAN, has stated that there was need to reform the operations of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), and remove the responsibility of prosecuting financial crime suspects from the Commission.
Mahmoud made the call yesterday, in his inaugural address in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, at the last session of the annual conference of the body.
He said that the mandate of the anti-graft czar should be spelt out, maintaining that the Commission should focus on investigating allegations of financial crime and not prosecution.
The new NBA president further said that EFCC should be protected from undue political interference and not report its operations to the presidency, adding that an independent body should be saddled with the responsibility for prosecuting financial crime suspects.
Mahmoud also said that the NBA under his leadership would fight against judicial corruption, emphasising that his tenure would make the judiciary unattractive for corrupt lawyers.
He disclosed that the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) due to the Boko Haram menace was 2.3 million, assuring that the body would offer services to the victims and communities affected.
Speaking further, the president promised that the association would provide legal services to persons and communities affected by militant activities and reduce tension in the Niger Delta region.
According to him, the body would also set up a special committee to monitor issues relating to human rights in the Northeast.
In the same vein, President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) on the inauguration of its new executive led by Mr. Abubakar Balarabe Mahmoud at the 2016 Annual General Conference held in Port Harcourt.
This is even as he has urged Mahmoud to use his vast experience in private practice, and public service, garnered over the years to build on the legacies of his predecessor, and contribute to reforms across the country.
The Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, said in a statement that Buhari also commended the outgoing executive led by Augustine Alegeh for the resourceful exchange of ideas, commitment and support for national development.
He said as the new executive settles down to work, he looks forward to having a strong and sustainable relationship with the leaders, especially in jointly tackling the challenges currently facing the nation.
He prayed that the Almighty God will grant the new NBA executive the wisdom to realize their vision for the association, and the country.