…Say they remain committed to one united legal body
BY AMOS DUNIA, ABUJA – The attempt by some aggrieved lawyers to form a new Nigeria Bar Association (nNBA) may have crash landed as Northern Lawyers made up of 40 branches, on Wednesday disowned and distanced themselves from the movers.
The lawyers made up of chairmen and other members of the Nigeria Bar Association that met in Abuja declared their unflinching support for a one united body.
A handful group of aggrieved northern lawyers allegedly being sponsored by some politicians, last week claimed to have exited from the NBA to form a new Nigerian Bar Association (nNBA) which has so far received knocks from different quarters.
The move by the group followed the withdrawal of a letter of Invitation to Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna, who was initially billed to address the NBA National Conference as a Guest Speaker.
The group is being led by Nuhu Ibrahim and Abdulbasit Suleiman, accused the NBA of bias, amongst others.
However, branch chairmen from the Northern part of the country that met in Abuja, disowned, distanced and disassociated themselves and members of their various branches from the new NBA, stressing that the NBA cannot be polarised along ethnic or religious lines as the new group are desirous of having.
The Northern NBA leaders therefore urged members and all legal practitioners in the country to rally round the newly elected NBA leadership led by Olumide Akpata Esq. to ensure that the objectives and aspirations of the legal body are realised.
A communique issued at the end of the meeting and read by Mr Elisha Kurah SAN, who is the Acting Chairman of Arewa Lawyers Forum states; “We the undersigned individuals, who are Chairmen of the various branches of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) that make up the Northern Geopolitical Zone as defined in the NBA Constitution 2015 and other senior members of the Bar have today Wednesday 2nd September 2020 in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, met with the NBA President, Mr. Olumide Akpata and the National Officers of the NBA.
“We have unanimously agreed to support his leadership of the NBA and we hereby restate our allegiance to the NBA and disassociate ourselves from the “New NBA” or any splitter group whatsoever making waves in recent weeks as a new association or body of lawyers in Nigeria.
“We understand that the NBA has historically and in recent times been fraught with several challenges but we are indeed assured that the NBA under the leadership of Mr. Olumide Akpata will surmount these challenges and birth an all-inclusive Bar that will work for all lawyers in Nigeria, regardless of any part of the divide one may belong”.
The northern NBA leaders said they were gratified to hear the NBA President during his inaugural address restate that the Bar he wants to lead henceforth is one that “is united on all fronts and which recognises that our diversity is our greatest strength”.
The Northern branches of the NBA therefore urged lawyers of the northern geopolitical zone, including those behind the establishment of the NNBA and all legal practitioners in Nigeria to come together to support Akpata and the new national officers to ensure that they deliver on their core mandates.
The Northern NBA members commended the Akpata-led leadership of the NBA for meeting with them as one of its first official acts after inauguration last Friday, adding that it is an indication of the value they place on the need for an all-inclusive Bar.
The stakeholders meeting between the Northern leaders and the newly elected national executives of the NBA was facilitated by two Senior Advocates of Nigeria from the north namely, Mr Yunus Ustaz and Mr Elisha Kurah and 40 branch chairmen of the NBA.