From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi and his Ondo State counterpart, Rotimi Akeredolu, have tasked practising lawyers to rise in the defence of human rights in the country.
The governors were joined in their call by Nigeria’s first female Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chief Folake Solanke, and other senior lawyers.
They spoke separately in Abuja during the commissioning of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Institutes Building.
Speaking before commissioning the building, Fayemi said lawyers should do more in the area of public interest litigation to properly reposition the legal needs of the people.
He also called for equal access to justice in spite of status and any attribute.
On his part, Akeredolu, who reiterated his determination to go back to practice after his tenure as Governor of Ondo State, relived how lawyers were at the forefront in the fight against injustice and military rule in the country.
“You are the voice of the voiceless and the voice of the people; when you talk they listen”, he told lawyers at the occasion.
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He commended the leadership of Mr Olumide Akpata for the NBA Human Rights Institute, noting that the Institute would equip lawyers with the necessary knowledge needed in pursuit of the human rights of citizens.
The first female Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, Chief Folake Solanke, while lamenting the level of decadence in the country described the recent Owo massacre in Ondo State as the height of wickedness in the country and called on lawyers not to allow the matter swept under the carpet.
“The Institute has a lot to do, no nation can survive without the law”, she said, adding that besides injustices, lawyers should speak about the fall of the Naira against other currencies which according to her is closely related to the brain drain being suffered by the country.
Meanwhile, Solanke and Akeredolu were the two legal Icons honoured with the two wings of the NBA Institutes building.
The building consists of two wings, which housed the NBA Institute of Continuing Legal Education (NBA-ICLE) and NBA Human Rights Institute (NBA-HRI).
While the NBA-HRI part of the building was named after Akeredolu, the NBA-ICLE was named after Solanke.