By Jethro lbileke
Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has charged legal practitioners to use their intellectual know-how to impact positively on the nation’s administration of justice.
This is even as he urged them to use their position to uplift the lot of the society, especially the less privileged.
He said this on Saturday, at the law students’ valedictory ceremony and public lecture of Igbinedion University, Okada, Edo State.
The Minister who was represented by Zonal Director, NTA, Benin Zonal Centre, Barr. Pauline Igbanor, noted that there is shortfall in the number of legal practitioners in the country.
He, therefore, challenged Nigerian universities to churn out more law graduates to fill the gap.
“As a lawyer, you must use your degree to improve the lot of the society. It’s a certificate that gives you opportunity to uplift the less privileged; it’s a degree that tells you that you can impact on the society, particularly in the administration of justice.
“Right now, we don’t have enough lawyers in the country, we have many problems and many legal issues. So, this crop of young lawyers that are going into the profession, there is a lot out there that they can do to improve the administration of justice.
“We have several universities coming up daily and so, more lawyers are being trained. You can see what the legal council have done, they have decentralized the law school, you now have law school in the six geo-political zones of the country, so more lawyers are coming out to fill the gap.
The guest lecturer at the occasion,Hon. Justice Alaba Omolaye-Ajileye of Kogi State High Court, traced the growth of legal education to the setting up of the E.l.G. Unsworth Committee of 1959, with the mandate of considering and making recommendations for the future of legal profession in Nigeria, with particular reference to legal education, admission to practice and the right of audience before courts.
He noted that a lawyer is trained to be sober, honest, hardworking, of good behaviour, respectable and be of integrity.
“Law is not about academic work, law is not of character, good character.
“Have a higher sense of purpose and hold on to it. Do not be afraid to embrace and champion bold ideas for a stronger and better legal system. Stand firm for the truth always,” he counselled the students.
Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. Lawrence Ezemonye, described the legal profession as “very critical to the administration of justice in the country.”
He urged the graduating law students to see themselves as major players in the administration of justice and in changing the trajectory of the country.
“Do not push yourselves too much, do not sell yourselves too cheap but always assert yourselves, and you will succeed,” he said.
A total of 210 students graduated at the ceremony.