Human rights lawyer and activist, Femi Falana, has challenged Nigerian lawyers to stand up to their responsibilities describing their actions and inactions as comfortable towards impunity and human rights violations.
Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, made this known in an interview on Channels Television breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily on Wednesday.
He also went down the memory lane saying the NBA has a history of protecting the rule of law but present-day NBA simply holds seminars and annual lectures.
“Nigerian lawyers are comfortable with impunity, abuse of the rule of law, and violations of human rights.
“We have a history of struggle in this country. Under the previous military regimes, the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) stood its ground in protecting and defending human rights. That is no longer the case,” he said.
He further pointed out that in 1987 when the late Alao Aka-Bashorun was NBA president, no one or even dictator dared violate court orders but the reverse is the case in the present-day NBA.
“Today we are only interested in organising annual seminars, dinners and at the end of the day, the bar is not doing much.
“I am talking of when human rights were put in abeyance by military dictators. Our judges insisted that the rule of law must be fully complied with.
“So, nobody or regime was allowed to treat court orders with contempt or disdain,” the human right lawyer said.
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Falana further lamented that it is only when rich people are oppressed that the NBA and even the media speak out loud.
“It is only when the rich are arrested, where we can make money that we shout from the rooftop. So there is human rights violation in Nigeria.”
He further called for human rights enlightenment and education in Nigerian schools and called on the state government to introduce human rights courses in the school curriculum.