The President of the Nigeria Bar Association, NBA, Abubakar Mahmoud, has described as misguided the recent calls for secession by some groups in the country.
In a statement signed by Mr. Mahmoud on Wednesday, the NBA President said the association believes in the unity of Nigeria adding that it is convinced about the supremacy of the law in resolving conflicts.
“The NBA reaffirms its belief in unity and sovereignty of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. We believe that the peoples of Nigeria, irrespective of diversities of identity, face common and shared everyday challenges and desire a stable and secure country based on justice, equity and the rule of law.
“The NBA is convinced that our various peoples have consistently shown the capacity and desire to live together in a federation under democratically elected government, which alone can guarantee the conditions for addressing the imperfections that ail our country,” Mr. Mahmoud said.
He noted that, “The NBA is convinced that our people are better off in a united Nigeria run and managed in accordance with the principles of justice, equity and the rule of law, and capable of harnessing our diversities in a manner that strengthens our historic bonds of coexistence. Any advocacy for violent breakup of the country is misguided.
According to the statement, Mr. Mahmoud also spoke on angry reactions by other parts of Nigeria to the call for secession, saying Nigerians reserve a constitutional right to live and invest in any part of the country.
“The NBA uncompromisingly affirms that all citizens of the Federal Republic of Nigeria have the constitutional and legal right to live, travel to and own or acquire movable or immovable property in any part of the federation. No individual, group or organisation under any guise can lawfully issue any form of notice to Nigerians with the goal of diminishing the enjoyment of these rights.”
He condemned hate speeches by aggrieved Nigerian groups against each other, stressing that a decisive action would be taken against persons found culpable of inciting hate among Nigerians.
He asked the law enforcement bodies to ensure the sanctity of human lives and aggression against law abiding Nigerians.
“The NBA commits to working with the appropriate security agencies to ensure accountability for such acts. Accordingly, I have today directed the Section on Public Interest and Development Law (SPIDEL) and the Human Rights Institute of the NBA (NBA-HRH to collaborate with the National Secretariat of the NBA in a unit to monitor and liaise with security agencies to ensure accountability for hate speech and incitement to identity-based hatred in Nigeria,” the president said.