Barrister Manzuma Isaa is the present Chairman of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) Ilorin chapter, Kwara State and the lead counsel of Manzuma Issa & Co. In this interview with KAYODE ADEOTI, he speaks on prevailing anti social activities in the state and at large among other sundry issues. Excerpts:
Recently, some ritual dens were discovered in Ilorin and some other parts of the country, sir could the promulgation of certain laws curtail the increase?
I must start by saying, this democratic government is unreasonable and expensive for us as a nation, democracy suppose to address the issues of growth and development but fortunately, for our democratic experience, what we have are negative developments, we have challenges of cultism, kidnapping and recently, we have badoo in Lagos. These people perpetrate the unbelievable; much I have never heard of in any part of the world, people’s homes were invaded and the whole families were eliminated and their corpse were left in the scenes, the orchestrators claimed that they just wanted blood. It is quite unfortunate, the development in our polity. The basis of these is bad governance which has led to unemployment, poverty and indiscipline in the society. Unless these issues are addressed, there are no way security personnel; the Police Force, Civil Defence Corps, Nigeria Armed and all others can tackle security challenges in the country. Bad governance must be tackled for us to be able to nip the problems in the bud. You don’t divorce the society from governance, every society is a product of is leadership and vice versa, our valued system has been eroded as a result of bad governance over the years, every human is vulnerable to committing crime but once you have good leadership in place to check the excesses of human beings, then, virtually everybody will behave well because they will know the consequences of their misconduct. Also, we cannot remove from the youths, the youthful exuberance, even in the US, it is there but because of their system, they are able to contain it. The menace could be corrected starting from the elementary level of providing sound and basic education for the youths, which engages them. From the leadership, we need attitude and responsibility; there must be submission to higher authority which is the rule of law.
What is your take on the agitation for the resignation of the President Muhammed Buhari over his protracted medical vacation in London?
It is quite unfortunate that 21st century, Nigerians are still so primitive, this is a man who came to power in 2015 and to the best of my knowledge, he’s doing well, especially in checkmating corruption. Our economic growth is still stagnated but going by what he inherited from the previous government, and with what has been recovered from the past politicians, you will realise that a lot of havoc were wrecked on this nation, and the man is doing well, eventually he was sick, which is human, any mortal can be sick, if he’s doing well as a president, we should support him. From all indications, going by the recent visit of governors of APC and PDP, we could see that the man is fast recovering, that should give us the confidence that our President is coming home soon, and perhaps, we should be offering prayers for him. That aside, the Nigeria constitution of 1999 as amended stipulate that if the president is going on any trip, he should transmit power through the National Assembly to his vice, and the President complied fully with that provision by transmitting a letter to the NASS that he was going to be out of the country for medical attention, this however gave power to his vice whom in my opinion is doing well in piloting the course of affairs of this country in a very respectable manner, I think we should give him kudos, so I don’t know why Nigerians are demanding that the President should return.
Many people have faulted the state government for misplaced priority following the N1bn secretariat that was flagged off last week, what is your take on this development?
For me, when I came on board as the chairman of NBA, my first major assignment was to complete the bar secretariat, this is to provide operational skills for the bar, there is no way government or organised informal sector could operate very well without good offices and the likes. Government needs secretariat for officers to operate, so government deemed it fit to provide it for the civil servant, I think I commend him for that initiative, we cannot continue to live in the 19th century when other countries of the world have gone far. I know so well, the state Ministry of Justice is housed in the Governors’ office which is not supposed to be. It should have a separate complex, when you go to the ministry, you find 5 or more lawyers sharing an office, which is very unhygienic. A lawyer needs to read and think, if there is no conducive environment, there is no way lawyers could work very well ditto other civil servants too.
Would you salute the government on the welfare package of the state legal practitioners?
I think government has been supportive, I could remember in 2015 when we had our dinner, the state government gave us the sum of N5m donation to host the dinner, for that alone, the government is trying, the bar suppose to be independent, whatever we receive from them, we are grateful. We are like Shakespeare, we are not expecting much from the government.