The new President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Abubakar Mahmoud, has advocated the reform of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
Mahmoud (SAN), who made the call in his inaugural speech in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, said the reform should limit its role to investigation.
He said under the reform, the commission’s mandate to prosecute should be handled by an independent highly resourced prosecution agency.
Mahmoud said: “The critical institutions involved must be repositioned, re-equipped and re-tooled to confront the problem of corruption on a consistent and sustainable basis.
“As a start, we commend the efforts of the Economic and Financial Crimes Institution for the work it is doing and for its modest achievements.
“However, going forward, the NBA must demand the reform of the institution itself. We need to define its mandate more narrowly and more clearly.
“In my view, its broad objective as an investigative and prose curial agency should be reviewed.
“I recommend strongly that the EFCC be limited to investigation.”
The president said the NBA anti-corruption committee would be mandated to develop clear recommendations toward enhancing the fight against corruption and improving the effectiveness of the agencies involved.
Mahmoud said the NBA would advocate urgent reforms that would reposition the judiciary and make it play crucial roles.
He said a clean, efficient and knowledgeable judiciary, was a foundation for building orderly, peaceful and prosperous society.
He said: “The NBA under my watch will fight judicial corruption. We shall make the legal profession unattractive for corrupt lawyers.”
The president said the NBA should take active interests in the happenings in the North-East and Niger Delta Region.
He said the NBA would set up a North East task force to assist members affected by the conflict, provide legal services to individuals and communities who were victims of the conflict and monitor human rights issues.
He also said the association would set up a Niger Delta task force to carry out similar assignments in the area, especially providing legal support to advice on general challenges to enhance environmental protection and quality of life.