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National security, interest supreme to Rule of Law – Buhari

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Muhammadu Buhari

ABUJ-APresident Muhammadu Buhari has declared that national security and interest are supreme to the Rule of Law.

According to him, the rights of individuals involved in a case would take a second place in order to ensure the protection of the interest of the society.

President Buhari made the assertion on Sunday while declaring open the 2018 Annual Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association.

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His words: “Rule of Law must be subject to the supremacy of the nation’s security and national interest. Our apex court has had cause to adopt a position on this issue in this regard and it is now a matter of judicial recognition that; where national security and public interest are threatened or there is a likelihood of their being threatened, the individual rights of those allegedly responsible must take second place, in favour of the greater good of society.”

Meanwhile, the president, in recognition of the seriousness of increasing political activities ahead of the coming general election has urged lawyers to  remember that by reason of their profession, they had responsibility to work for national cohesion and unity.

This, he said could be through their speeches and public positions and most importantly in their advocacy in court.

He warned that they could not, in the context of opinions and narratives about the nation’s past and present political and socio-economic experience, afford to jettison rational and proper analysis of issues in a manner which would build, rather than destroy the nation.

“I also urge you to work to uphold and improve the sanctity and integrity of our judicial and electoral institutions which play a fundamental role in the sustenance and growth of our democracy,” he said.

He stressed that the law could only be optimally practised in a Nigeria that is safe, secure and prosperous.

He assured the lawyers that his government would continue to carry out measures that would achieve a vibrant economy under which the practice of law would thrive.

He stated the efforts of his administration in improving the situation in the country and the need for the judiciary to assist.

Said he:  “Through fiscal discipline, good housekeeping, we navigated the difficult days of economic transformation at the beginning of this Government in 2015 and have now come to improving economic indices, including the consistent increase in our foreign reserves; thirteen straight months of decreasing inflation; the expansion of social safety nets programmes as well as the blockages of historical drain pipes in our national treasury, all within the context of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.

“It is equally significant to emphasize that our willingness to hold persons accountable for offences against society, through the judicial process, will equally transform the future of public service in Nigeria in a positive manner.

“I believe that lawyers can contribute to another core objective of enhancing our business environment and promoting social justice by promoting respect for the Rule of Law; contributing to the law reform process and putting national interest and professional ethics above self in the conduct of their business.”

He called on the lawyers at the conference to participate actively in its various intellectual and social activities in order to build new bonds and strengthen old relationships.

While congratulating the incoming National Executive of the NBA led by Mr. Paul Usoro, SAN, he said:  “It is my hope that the outcome of your deliberations will impact positively on the socio-economic fortunes of our country and Africa in the years ahead and improve access of the poor and under-privileged in our society to justice.”

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