3rd May, 2014
Former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon (retd.), has urged Nigerians to support the Federal Government in its bid to tackle security challenges in the country.
Gowon made the call late on Friday in Lagos while speaking with journalists after chairing a dinner and award night organised by the Ikeja Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA).
He condemned the reports credited to some foreign media that President Goodluck Jonathan was not doing enough to address insecurity.
“I can tell you this and I know this, the president is doing his best and do not listen to the sort of news you hear from foreign press talking as if the government is doing nothing.
“He is in consultation with the military chiefs, he is in consultation with all the governors and all the political parties to be able to join hands to deal with this problem,” said Gowon, who prosecuted the Nigerian civil war.
The elder statesman said the government needed time to effectively deal with the Boko Haram insurgency and bring the conflict to an end.
“No matter how weak your opponent is, it is going to take time to be able to resolve the issues which led to the conflict.
“It took us about two-and-a half years to be able to end the civil war but what is important is how you end it and how you are able to reconcile and get things back to normal.”
He also advised political parties to stop trading blames or use the present situation in the country to their own advantage.
Gowon, the founder of a non-denominational religious group, Nigeria Prays, said it was the duty of the media to ensure that the people understood the problems.
The media should also let the people know that those involved were doing their best to deal with the situation, he added.
Speaking earlier on the occasion, Gowon had urged lawyers to fight all forms of injustice in the country.
“I enjoin you to defend the cause of all classes of men but more so, the downtrodden and ensure that the last hope of the common man is not dashed.
“You must fight injustice in the society without allowing monetary gains to cloud your sense of judgment.”
Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State, commended lawyers for partnering with the state government toward creating more access to justice for indigent citizens.
Fashola, a lawyer, who was represented by Ade Ipaye, the State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, said their responses to the state’s Public Interest Law Partnership (LPILP), were overwhelming.
“After the recently concluded Lagos Pro Bono Week, over 120 law firms have now signed with us to offer pro bono services.
“With this development, we are now able to get to a lot of people who are awaiting trial in the prisons.
“We are now able to render services to aggrieved persons in the society, who ordinarily will not be able to afford legal representation in their quest for justice.”
The Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Ayotunde Phillips and former President of the Court of Appeal, retired Justice Ayo Salami and Prof. Akin Oyebode, a law teacher and former Vice-Chancellor of Ekiti State University, attended the event.
Others include Mr Olutoyin Ayorinde, the State Commissioner for Physical Planning and Femi Adesina, the President, Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE).
The late activist, Chima Ubani, was given a post-humous award by the NBA.