Chief Akin Olujimi, former Minister
Chief Akin Olujimi, former Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, has advised government at all levels to enact laws that would promote and sustain peace in the country.
Olujumi, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria(SAN), was in office between 2003 and 2005 during the regime of former president Olusegun Obasanjo.
The former minister made the call in Okitipupa, Okitipupa Local Government Area of Ondo State during the 2019 Annual Law Week of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Okitipupa branch.
Olujimi, who spoke on the theme ‘Society, Insecurity and the Law’, said that government was existing to protect the lives and the properties of citizens of the country.
According to him, every Nigerian needs to join hands with the government to bring lasting solution to insecurity in the nation.
“We need government to look more on the issue of security of the nation and if that means enacting laws that will interfere with my rights and your rights ,we have to bear it because we need peace in this society. When government enacts laws that require that either you or I needs to give way, we should not cry foul”.
“They do not mean harm to you and I, they are only taking a drastic step to ensure that there would be peace in human society. Boko Haram is killing today, kidnappers are doing their own, you and I are not save”.
“In the face of such challenges as mass killings and destruction, are the affected governments to simply watch for fear of being accused of breaches of human rights and denial of justice?
“The demand of national security far outweighs or overrides the need for protection of human rights. So where national security is threatened, human rights will have to give way,” he said.
Olujimi said that calling for the restructuring of the nation and the constitution should not be the priority of the government.
He said that there was a need for Nigerians to have a change of mind and personal restructuring for things to work out.
He said that Nigerians should not continue to blame the constitution, arguing that “it is not the constitution that is bad but we that are operating it.”
“We need to re-orientate ourselves, let us change our attitude and manner. let us understand that when we get to position, we are there to serve and not for our private pocket. You may go on reviewing the constitution everyday, it will not work if you and I do not change our attitude.”
The renowned lawyer said that any accused must be given the chance to be heard before any decision could be made against such individual.
According to him, the principle of fair hearing is conceptualised in law to ensure justice in the determination of matters affecting government and individuals.
Olujinmi, who explained that the law did not discriminate between the poor and the rich, said there was need for general re-orientation “so that we can make the laws serve the society better”
He said that the reason for the failure of the law in some cases was sometimes external to the law itself.
Olujimi, therefore, called on leaders to stand up to the reality facing the country today.
The former minister said there was need for government to re-direct and re-energise policies so that the masses could feel the impact of governance.
Mr Omololu Bagbe, NBA Chairman, Okitipupa branch, said that the association would continue to defend, promote and propagate the rule of law in the society.
Bagbe said that it had become imperative for members of the association to sensitise the general public on the need to shun vote buying during the forth coming general elections.
He said that vote buying was against the laws of the land.
“Some politicians know how to use money to buy their way, but people should not sell their conscience this time around because real politicians who have good missions and visions will not engage in vote buying. People should not see the election as a do or die affair. They need to shun hate speech, so that we can live as one Nigeria,”Bagbe advised.(NAN)