Nigeria @ 58: Focus on Security and Welfare of the People – Catholic Lawyers Urge Govt.

Chukwuma Ezeala President NACL

President of the National Association of Catholic Lawyers has asked Government to focus on the primary responsibility of Government which is the Security and Welfare of the people and stop using scarce resources to fund unnecessary bourgeoisie lifestyles of Government officials.

The above is contained in the Association’s 2018 Independence Day message.

Read the full message below:

Dear Brethren, Distinguished Seniors, Learned colleagues, 

On this occasion of the 58th Independence Anniversary of our Country Nigeria I would like to reflect deeply with you all and pray, in the words of the preamble to the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended, that God the Father of all mankind will continue to bind us together as “one indivisible and indissoluble nation under God”. 

Fifty eight years is a long time and in spite of the challenges of development that have confronted us over the years and our shortcomings as a nation, we give thanks to God that we still have a country we can proudly call our own. 

I congratulate the President and members of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), the newly elected Secretary General of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria Rev. Fr. Zachariah Samjumi and wish them all the very best in their official undertakings. 

Our Independence anniversary is coming only a week after the beginning of a new Legal Year. You will all recall that during the ceremony marking the opening of the Legal Year and conferment on some of our deserving colleagues of the prestigious rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), my Lord the Chief Justice of Nigeria Justice Walter Onnoghen admonished Lawyers to conduct themselves in a manner that is consistent with their position as ministers in the Temple of Justice. I join my Lord Justice Onnoghen in further admonishing you as Catholic Lawyers to remain conscious of your Catholic identity as you discharge your responsibility as Lawyers. 

Now more than ever before when the universal Church has come under vicious attack, we as Catholic Lawyers must rise up to defend our Faith, and protect the image of the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church in all we do and say, in and outside the courtroom. 

As we remember our Independence, we must take a moment to reflect on the plight of the average Nigerian worker, especially members of the Nigeria Labour Congress, the Trade Union Congress and their affiliate organizations, who until a few hours ago were on a nationwide industrial action to press for a realistic minimum wage. The cardinal expectation of the citizens of any nation can be summarized in Justice, Security and provision of amenities. How has the country’s leadership fared in its Social Contract with its citizens? 

We should not use scarce resources to fund unnecessary bourgeoisie lifestyles of Government officials while abandoning the key areas of focus of any responsible Government. We urge various Governments to invest in key areas of Security, Education, Health, Agriculture and infrastructure. 

The 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is very clear on the primary responsibility of Government – the Security and Welfare of the people- it is therefore disheartening that the living standard of the generality of the Nigerian people is rapidly deteriorating, and their security almost non existent. 

It is my hope and expectation that we all, as members of the National Association of Catholic Lawyers, will find time at some point to reflect deeply on these issues and identify areas where we can intervene and ultimately adopt far reaching actions to counter these unfortunate developments. 

Once more, as we move towards another Election Year we enjoin the Government to ensure that the will of the people evidenced in the ballot papers is respected. The Political parties should ensure that credible and resourceful persons are given party flags to contest the Elections. This country must be moved forward.

 Lastly, I congratulate you all on the new Legal Year 2018/2019 and wish you all a rewarding year ahead. I pray that we all will be guided by the profound admonition of Prophet Micah when he says: “You have already been told what is right and what Yahweh wants of you. Only this, to do what is right, to love loyalty and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8) 

Happy independence and God bless you all 

Chukwuma Ezeala, Esq
National Association of Catholic Lawyers NACL

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