ODOGWU EMEKA ODOGWU of our South-East Bureau witnessed the unprecedented and historic visit of Acting President Yemi Osinbajo at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Unizik, Awka on 12th June, 2017.
His former colleagues as a Law Teacher and other guests gathered at Unizik for their 50th annual conference held at the Faculty of Law, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra state.
During a courtesy visit heralding the conference , a month earlier, Prof Osinbajo assured the National President of NALT, Prof Godwin Nwabueze Okeke who happened to be the Dean Faculty of Law at Unizik that he would personally be in Awka no matter what to identify with him and other members but only a few took Prof Okeke serious when he announced the message of the Acting President.
Alas! His visit took everybody by surprise and that was why there was panic in the University and in Anambra against his visit only from Saturday evening and by Sunday it was hectic for everybody.
Then suddenly there was a no school order for the students who were communicated late, doubling their pains. The University Auditorium became filled and even outside jammed up.
Prof Okeke and his team as well as the Local Organizing committee led by Associate Professor M.N Umenweke and his team got nearly choked up on finances but glory be to God the event at last was a success.
But gladly, the Acting President despite the time wasted at Enugu Airport reception before jetting to Awka in a special chopper was on time at Unizik , finished, left and still signed the 2017 Budget.
In his remarks, Chief Justice of the Federation, Hon. Justice Walter Onnoghen, said that laws had a big role to play in achieving the highest level of security for individuals in any society.
The 50th conference of the Nigeria Association of Law Teachers (NALT) focused on “Law, Security and National Development”.
Onnoghen, who was the Chairman of the occasion, was represented by Hon. Justice Amina Augie, a Justice of the Supreme Court.
He said it was necessary for the existing laws to be efficient with the right attitude to their implementation.
Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra state who received Osinbajo at Amawbia near Governor’s Lodge in his goodwill message noted that Anambra presents an example of a state that has significantly transformed from lawlessness to a postcard of excellence, peace and good governance.
In a keynote address, the Chairman, Society for Analytical Economics, Prof Godwin Owoh advocated the need to connect the law with the concurrent dynamics of growth empirics to be able to sustain the Nigerian economy in a manner that guarantees growth security and development.
Earlier in his address, the elated Vice Chancellor of Unizik, Professor Joseph Ahaneku acknowledged that the event was in keeping with the University’s function of identifying societal challenges and providing answers to them.
In a welcome address, the President of the Association and Dean, Faculty of Law, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Prof Godwin Nwabueze Okeke disclosed that the Conference has over the years, served as a veritable platform for effective training and development of law teachers in the country.
Board of Trustees (BOT), Chairman of NALT, Prof Ademola Oladapo Popoola said the conference was all encompassing including food security , human rights and law as development is predicated on law.
Prof. Osinbajo who declared the conference open asserted that Nigerians are bedevilled with serious challenges which include the Boko Haram, tensions in the Niger Delta, herdsmen-farmer clashes, threats of secession, poverty, unemployment and corruption.
In his words, “First, on the matter of inclusion and inequalities, there is little doubt in my mind that the provision of the basics of life to the largest number of our people remains the greatest source of tension in the polity.
“The daily struggles of many, for healthcare, a means of livelihood and the absence of a socially just means of ensuring that many, especially young people, have access to education and jobs provides a constantly replenished pool of young malcontents, ready to be recruited into any sort of Army, whether it be of kidnappers, terrorists, or violent or antisocial agitation for one cause or the other.
“Unfortunately, it is the same elite especially the political elite, who fail the people by the wastage and embezzlement of their funds who are at the forefront of pretending that their deprivations are caused by other ethnic nationalities.
“………poverty on an Ibo man is not more dignified than on a Hausa Fulani man. Hunger is neither a tribal or religious issue.
“There are all of these transitional justice vehicles such as truth and reconciliation commission and all of that. There are all sorts of international compensation models that could be adopted to resolve these issues because societies in conflict issues are becoming part of our lives and it is not just in Nigeria, it is across our continent and the globe”.
According to the member of LOC and a lecturer in the department of Public and Private Law, Unizik, Dr Boniface Ebele Ewulum, at the end of the 5 day conference the association came up with a communique advocating for a stricter enforcement of terrorism and cyber laws in the country as it had become necessary given the global upsurge in the two crime areas.
Chairman of the LOC , Dr Umenweke M.N glittering with joy, said it was a robust discuss by participants across Nigeria and thanked God for the success of the programme and journey mercies HE granted members to and fro, while appreciating the Acting President, Obiano and other dignitaries for attending. He said all the sessions were wonderfully coordinated and the moderators did justice to the sessions.
The communique signed by the President of NALT and its secretary, Prof Godwin Nwabueze Okeke and Dr Ikenga Oraegbunam decried the spate of crime in the country and noted that corruption was the primary cause for the inability of the state to transmit and leverage development to its people.
The association said law teachers had professional responsibility to redefine the philosophy of law and its underpinnings with a view to fashioning out law and institutions that would deliver on quick and fair dispensation of justice that would reflect societal abhorrence of corruption.
The communique partly read: “Given the global upsurge in terrorism and organized crimes, it is necessary to-strictly enforce the Terrorism Prevention (Amendment) Act 2013, and design policy measures of synergy between Nigeria and other international anti-terrorist organisations in collaborative exchange programmes.
“Given the changing nature of technology, it is recommended that cyber security law should move along lines dictated by cyber policy as formulated by government to cover new areas of threat.
“Therefore, the Cyber Act should be amended to make provision for gap filling through executive or administrative orders as the need arises.
“Nigeria should as a matter of urgent effort towards ensuring energy security, complete the privatization of the gamut of electricity supply by deregulation of generation, transmission and distribution of power.
“The Nigerian government should consider upgrading existing security measures with technology.
“There is an urgent need for government to construct and put in place policy measures and laws that address security challenges in the context of the wider perspective of threat to include more than security of life and property, but to include social security and a right to development of the person, in particular to include food security, health and environmental security.
The association added that the state should see insecurity through the lens of human and infrastructure development rather than what it called the ‘’command-and-control mechanism”.