President Muhammadu Buhari has told lawyers in Nigeria not to defend “corrupt clients” but rather, they should expose them.
While speaking at the opening of the 55th Annual General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) in Abuja on Sunday, August 23, 2015, Buhari maintained that exposing corrupt persons and misdeed was the only way to end corruption and restore Nigeria’s glory.
He also advised legal practitioners to uphold the professional ethics of their profession.
“I am convinced that law, law-makers, lawyers, law courts and the law enforcement agencies all have pivotal responsibilities to discharge, if the change we seek is ever to materialize.
“As you all know by now, this administration has taken on the challenge of improving security, fighting corruption and revamping the economy, among many others.
“The fight against corruption is in reality a struggle for the restoration of law and order. Corruption and impunity become widespread when disrespect for law is allowed to thrive in society. Disrespect for law also thrives when people get away with all sorts of shady deals and the court system is somehow unable to check them.
“Ability to manipulate and frustrate the legal system is the crowning glory of the corrupt and, as may be expected, this has left many legal practitioners and law courts tainted in an ugly way.
“In a gathering such as this, I do not need to elaborate on the way that corruption and impunity have damaged our economy. But I would like to say more on what, I believe, should be your role as legal practitioners, in helping us back to the path of rectitude.
“First, we need to make our courts functional and effective again. This means that we must have lawyers who take the ethics of the profession very seriously; lawyers who will not frustrate the course of justice, even though they defend their clients with all legitimate means and resources.
“Nigeria needs ethical lawyers who always keep the end of justice in mind and will never sacrifice the integrity of the legal system to cover the misdeeds of their clients, no matter how lucrative the brief may be,” President Buhari said.