Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has stressed the importance of the professional elite in the current fight against corruption in the country, even as he expressed the readiness of the federal government to work on judicial and justice sector reforms.
Prof. Osinbajo who met with leaders of both the Nigerian Bar Association, (NBA) and those of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) in his office today noted that some of the reforms being envisaged will require legislation.
Delegations of both professional groups were led by their presidents: Mr. Augustine Alegeh, SAN, of the NBA, and Otunba Samuel Olufemi Deru, of ICAN.
Addressing the NBA delegation, Vice President Osinbajo, himself a lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, stated that reforms are imperative in the justice sector, warning that ”if we are not careful we may not have a profession. There is no question at all that we need reforms. We have to do it.”
The VP pointed to some of the worrying instances that has compelled the need for reform in the judicial sector, asserting that “it is becoming worse everyday.”
Earlier the NBA president who had noted his excitement that ”the bar produced a Vice President under my presidency,” congratulated both President Muhammad Buhari and the Vice President and expressed confidence that the administration would excel.
He called for judicial reforms, including the need for appointments especially into Appeal and Supreme Courts from the academia and deserving legal practitioners.
In his meeting with ICAN, Prof Osinbajo said there was the need for a responsible professional elite in any thriving society, an elite that was ethical and courageous especially at this time when everyone knows about the evils of corruption, but very few are doing anything about it.
The VP said ICAN was especially placed to expose corruption since their members are the professionals that audit the books of corporations and government agencies.
Osinbajo observed that there were several government agencies, financial institutions and professional bodies that fell short of accounting standards and lacked transparency and accountability.
“What is now important is what each and every one of us, especially the professionals, can do to check and expose the evils of corruption,’’ the VP said. He said that if ICAN members and other professionals were diligent and courageous in the performance of their duty it would go a long way in helping the administration to fight corruption.
For instance, Prof Osinbajo stated that ICAN members can expose false accounting and insist on transparency and accountability.
He also urged the Institute and other professional bodies to encourage whistle blowers to expose the ills of society.
The Vice President noted that ICAN had done well, adding that maintaining a smooth transitional process in its leadership clearly showed it was a democratic organization.
Earlier, the ICAN President, Otunba Deru hailed the resolve of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to tame corruption. He said that the institute was poised to support the administration to fight the menace and other ills in the society.
“Our motto is accuracy and integrity and we are ready to support the government in this fight to ensure that our country is economically viable and that we do not imbibe the culture of corruption where anything goes,’’ he said.
Deru also used the opportunity to congratulate President Muhammadu Buhari and the Vice President on their election.