A Communique issued at the End of the 4th Annual General Conference of the Law Officers Association (LOAN) with the Theme: “Law Officer: A Nigeria Veritable Tool for Socio-Economic Development of Nigeria” held at the Olusegun Obasanjo Auditorium, Federal Ministry of Justice, Abuja From 3rd to 7th of November, 2019.
1.0 WHEREAS the Law Officers Association of Nigeria (LOAN) held to 4th Annual General Conference, in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Justice, Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) and the German Cooperation (GC), at the Olusegun Obasanjo Auditorium of the Federal Ministry of Justice, Abuja from 3th — 7th November, 2019, as part of the Continuing Legal Education Program for Law Officers.
1.1 The Conference which was declared open by Mn. Paul Usoro SAN, the National President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA). Delegates are drawn from the Federal and States Ministries of Justice and other Agencies of Government across Nigeria, as well as resource persons, who are Justices of the various courts in Nigeria, academia, members of the Civil Societies, private legal practitioners, the press and etc.
1.2 The President of LOAN, Mr. Yusuf Abdullahi Abdulkadir Esq., in welcoming the delegates noted that the theme of the Conference was borne out of the realities of the times that Law Officers have a lot to contribute towards addressing the socio-economic challenges currently facing the nation, which currently required the need to improve the skills and address those impediments militating against their optimal performance of law officers, with special emphasis on funding, welfare and training for the Justice sector and Law Officers.
1.3 The Conference unanimously resolved as follows:
2.0 MINIMUM WAGE:
2.1 The Conference commended President Muhammadu Buhari, (GCFR) led Federal Government of Nigeria on the approval and signing into law of the thirty thousand (N30,000.00) naira minimum wage. It also urged the various State Governments to ensure full and immediate implementation of same.
3.0 STATE OF INSECURITY IN THE NATION: 3.1 The Conference noted with concern the state of insecurity in the nation and condemned the wanton destruction of lives and properties orchestrated by terrorists. herdsmen, kidnappers, bandits, armed robbers and the likes in the nation, and called on the Federal Government and Security Agencies to put in place measures to stamp-out these anomalies. 3.2 The Conference received with shock the news of the kidnap of Honourable Justice Chioma Nwosu-theme (Ph.D.), a Justice of the Court of Appeal and Honourable Justice Abdul Dogo of the Federal High Court, which was recently released by his captors The Conference, therefore, called upon the Federal Government to put every security apparatus in motion to ensure the immediate release of the Justice of the Court of Appeal, who is still in captivity.
3.3 The Conference also holds its heart out to the family of the slain Police Orderly to Honourable Justice Chiorna Nwosu-Iheme (Ph.D.), who was gruesomely murdered by the kidnappers of the said Justice.
3.4 The Conference urged all Nigerians to be security-conscious and proactive through the timeous reports of security threats and breaches to the appropriate security agencies.
4.0 INDEPENDENCE OF THE JUDICIARY:
4.1 The Conference encouraged other arms of government to give the judiciary freehand and the needed independence to carry out her constitutional responsibilities without fear or favour.
5.0 WELFARE OF LAW OFFICERS:
5.1 The Conference called on both the Federal and State Governments to take action and assign security protection to Law Officers, as well as security allowances as is obtainable in other climes.
5.2 The Conference observed that crime could not be fought successfully without adequate protection of Law Officers, Judges, and Magistrates.
6.0 SPONSORSHIP OF LAW OFFICERS TO CONFERENCES A. PAYMENT OF PRACTICE FEES, STAMP AND SEAL:
6.1 The Conference observed with the knowledge that some states do not sponsor Law Officers to Conferences and thereby leaving the burden of payment of practicing fees on them to bear. It consequently urged both the Federal and State Governments to respectively ensure the payment of the stated fees for their respective Law Officers.
7.0 VEHICLES FOR LAW OFFICERS
7.1 The Conference resolved that the provision of vehicles to all Law Officers by both the Federal and State ggf has become necessary and called on both the Federal and State governments to take decisive action with a view to meeting this need. a matter of priority for the safety and security of Law Officers.
8.0 HARMONISATION OF LAW OFFICERS SALARIES AND PECULIAR ALLOWANCES IN ALL STATES OF TIRE FEDERATION.
8.1 The Conference observed that some states of the federation are yet to implement the harmonization of the salaries of law officers in line with the Circular on Harmonization of Salary Structure and Condition of Service of Law Officers in the Ministries of Justice with those of Magistrates in the Judiciary dated 170 March 1994.
8.2 LOAN commends the Federal and States Ministries of Justice that have implemented the Harmonization circular and further calls on the Attorneys -General and Solicitors-General of the Federation and of States to double up efforts to ensure the implementation of the said Circular on Harmonization of Peculiar Allowances for Law Officers across the 36 states of the federation pending when an appropriate salary structure is fashioned out for Law Officers that is commensurate with the peculiar hazards and exigencies of their job.
8.3 LOAN calls on the Attorneys-General and Solicitors-General of the Federation and States to demand an enhanced budgetary allocation of Federal and States Ministries of Justice and welfare Packages for Law Officers.
8.4 LOAN reiterates her demands the payment and upward review of hazard, robbing, books/journals, research and other necessary allowances to law officers to meet with the herculean challenges of their jobs.
8.5 LOAN urged that funds being expended on firming out of cases should be paid into the Ministries of Justice purse for proper funding of government cases handled by Law Officers.
8.6 LOAN calls for special housing palliatives, scholarship, and career development funds, as well as life insurance for Law Officers, to guarantee the dignity of their lives.
8.7 LOAN urged the Federal and State Governments to take urgent steps to insulate Law Officers from political interference in the course of their duties and ensure that promotion and recognition are given to Law Officers to encourage hard work, competence, and integrity.
8.8 LOAN commends the fatherly role of the NBA in saving the career of Law Officers, who were wrongly suspended or otherwise ill-treated and calls on the NBA to continue this stride and stand up for Law Officers whenever the need arises.
8.9 LOAN describes as false the view that the Federal and States Ministries of Justice are not revenue-generating agency and reiterates that apart from saving government revenue from judgment debts, Ministries of Justice also generate revenue from charges/fees for vetting contracts, management of property by the Administrators-General and Public Trustees, processing of fiats, etc. and calls on governments (that are yet to do so) to set up mechanisms to achieve this and other initiatives.
LOAN resolved that a letter of commendation from LOAN be sent to States that have implemented harmonization of salaries of law officers and made significant strides in the welfare of law officers, and appealed that states yet to implement the harmonization of salaries and peculiar allowances of law officers should do so without further delay.
9.0 CONFERMENT OF SANSHIP ON DIRECTORS OF PUBLIC PROSECUTION, (DPP) DIRECTORS OF CIVIL LITIGATION(DCL) AND SOLICITORS-GENERAL / PERMANENT SECRETARIES
9.1 The Conference commended the Legal Practitioners Privileges Committee (LPPC) for the conferment of the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria on the Solicitor-General and Permanent Secretaries of the Federal Ministry of Justice, Solicitors-General and Permanent Secretaries of Katsina and Edo States, respectively and a Law Officer in the Federal Ministry of justice and urged them to extend such gestures to other Law Officers in the Federal and States Ministries of Justice in Nigeria, who have distinguished themselves in the practice of law.
This Communique shall be communicated to the Federal and State Governments in Nigeria, the press and the general public for the implementation of the resolutions reached in this communique and report the progress of same at the next Annual General Conference.
Dated this 7th Day of November 2019.
COMR.YUSUF ABDULLAHI A. ESQ. (NATIONAL PRESIDENT)
COMR. JOSEPH OLODIAMA JEBBA (ACArb)