Saturday, 4 July, 2020

MIXED REACTIONS, AS AGC KICKS OFF

  • As final technical sessions hold today

The 2019 Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Annual General Conference (AGC) took off on a bumpy note as some delegates swore that not much has changed from the hiccups that attended past exercises. While some delegates poked holes in some aspects, others heaped praises on the organisers. Notwithstanding a late start, the opening ceremony lived up to its billing as a favourite for most delegates.

Though NBA President, Mr. Paul Usoro SAN was on ground last Friday to assure delegates that distribution of conference materials would commence at 9 am when the week-long conference was billed to take off, some delegates complained of delay in commencement of the distribution exercise.

Said Olaoye Olalere: “Reporting from material collection center. Organisers not ready for us but the President has addressed members that they will start distribution by 9am. Fingers crossed!” He stated later: “Reporting from the same location as earlier, no distribution of materials yet. We don’t know when the distribution will start or whether the materials are at locus yet.”

Another delegate Cyprian Akao also aligned with Olalere, saying: “Collection is very disorganized.”

Olalere however stated at 9: 46 am that “the materials distribution has commenced, and it’s going on smoothly now.”

Others agreed with Olalere that the distribution was without hitches. Former NBA Lagos Financial Secretary Marian Jones said: “Seamless! Impressive.” On her part, Bar-man Amaka Aneke said: “Sleek and Smooth.” NBA Lagos Branch Publicity Secretary added his voice to the praises when he said: “Distribution is still ongoing seamlessly.”

Giving an indication that the distribution exercise may have been fraught with challenges, newly appointed NBA-NEC member Bob Ijioma said: “It ain’t easy asking learned people to be orderly during registration and collection of materials at the AGC today. Thanks to all TCCP and LOC Members. We put in a great job. Thank you President Paul Usoro, SAN and My Lady Mfon Usoro.”

Alluding to the torrid time the organisers had in managing the crowd on day-one, Mrs. Usoro especially hailed newly elected NBA Lagos Branch Chairman, Mr. Yemi Akangbe for lending a helping hand, saying: “Lagos Chairman was superb at crowd control today at Harbour Point. Good job, Yemi.”

However, when CITY LAWYER visited the Harbour Point on Saturday, the cubicles were virtually deserted, with delegates trickling in to collect their conference materials. The cubicles were marked according to States while some States were merged.

But the aides said no notebooks were supplied contrary to the checklist, while assuring delegates that the brochure would be given to them during the technical sessions commencing today. However, a partner in one of the leading law firms whom CITY LAWYER met attempting to collect his conference materials was unable to do so as his name was not listed. He was advised to visit the nearby Secretariat to have his name tag printed to enable him collect the materials.

One of the aides also told CITY LAWYER that they had a hectic time processing delegates on Friday. This may not be unconnected with the fact that all delegates in the five branches in Lagos were repeatedly urged by the organisers to endeavor to collect their conference materials on Friday.

While the Technical Committee on Conference Planning (TCCP) had deployed many channels to publicize the AGC programme, indications emerged at the weekend that some communication gaps persisted. For instance, some members of the TCCP had to escalate posts on several whatsApp platforms to alert delegates that they need not wear wig and gown to the AGC Thanksgiving Service which held at the Cathedral Church of Christ, Marina, Lagos. Wrote Chukwuka Ikwuazom, TCCP member and former NBA Lagos Branch Chairman: “Good evening colleagues, following inquiries from members about the dress code for the Church service, we wish to clarify that members are not required to wear their wig and gown to the service. Many thanks.”

This challenge also manifested in relation to the Welcome Cocktail hosted by the Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Kazeem Alogba. As feelers of a change of venue filtered in, one Azeezat Omolara quipped: “So the welcome cocktail venue has been changed from City Hall to Harbour Point which is better 7pm today (sic). Any confirmation for the above?”

In fact, a delegate called CITY LAWYER to complain that he was at City Hall for the event but met the place under lock. A post had however trended earlier in the day stating that “Please be informed that the NBA Conference Cocktail venue has been moved to Harbour Point by 5pm today.”

If the change of venue caught some delegates napping, the Welcome Cocktail itself left a sour taste in the mouth of many delegates. Comparing it with similar events, Omoniyi Onabule said that “Lagos Bar does better cocktail,” adding: “Na water men de sip. I haven’t seen this in my life.”

Another delegate Oliver Omoredia said: “Drinks finished before anything started. Nawa for this cocktail. May the rest of the events not be like this cocktail.” Yet another delegate, Awoyomi Damilola added cryptically: “I was disappointed.”

However, Omoredia urged the delegates to move over to the Friendship Centre – which was unveiled after the welcome cocktail – to shrug off their disappointment. His words: “Friendship centre was more like it!!! Bovi is so funny.”

Held at the high-profile Eko Convention Centre of the Eko Hotel & Suites, the opening ceremony was attended by heavyweights in the legal sector including the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad; newly re-appointed Attorney-General & Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami; International Bar Association President, Mr. Horacio Bernardes Neto and several Bar Leaders. This was followed by a surfeit of breakout sessions.

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CROSS RIVER: WHERE IS AGBA JALINGO? ASKS UBANI

In this piece, former Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) 2nd Vice President, Mr. Monday Ubani expresses worry over the alleged illegal arrest of Agba Jalingo

I have just been informed by Mrs Agba Jalingo that the Nigerian Police from Cross River State have arrested her husband, Mr Agba Jalingo for reasons that are not clear. Recall that Jalingo has been having a running battle with his State Governor, His Excellency Mr Ben Ayade. This stems from his criticisms of his inept leadership in Cross Rivers State, an act considered sacrilegious by the governor and his bootlickers.

The Commissioner of Police in Cross Rivers State is clearly on the side of the governor as he has not hidden his subservience to the governor and his desires which includes the arrest and public humiliation of Mr Agba Jalingo. This arrest may not be unconnected with that desire.

The surprise element in all this is that the same Police have invited him to come on the 26th August, next Monday and he has promised to honour their invitation. One is at a loss why the arrest on 22nd August, four days earlier than the day of the invitation.

I just hope that this arrest is not from Cross River State Governor as this will be clearly illegal and condemnable. Nigerians will survive this season of intimidation and harassment. Right Activists, Human Rights lawyers and Civil Society should condemn this. We are not under military regime for God’s sake!

Please send emails to citylawyermag@gmail.com. Copyright 2018 CITY LAWYER. All materials available on this Website are protected by copyright, trade mark and other proprietary and intellectual property laws. You may not use any of our intellectual property rights without our express written consent or attribution to www.citylawyermag.com. However, you are permitted to print or save to your individual PC, tablet or storage extracts from this Website for your own personal non-commercial use

Welcome to Lagos…, Muoka Beckons AGC Delegates

Former Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Lagos Branch Chairman, Mr. Alex Muoka pens a moving welcome note to delegates of the 2019 Annual General Conference

Compliments.

It gives me great joy to welcome you to Lagos – the host city of the 59th Annual General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association.

Lagos is a cosmopolitan city, a cauldron where all things mesh. It has verve, swag and an energy that is contagious. It is welcoming… alluring…and accommodating.

Welcome.

Whether you are a first-time visitor, or a returning voyager…Lagos smacks you right in the face and wakes you up. If you can stay long enough…you fall in love and become a Lagosian!

In recent years, Lagos has become a regular host city for the NBA Annual Conference – touted as ‘the largest gathering of lawyers anywhere’. And yet each time the Conference comes round to Lagos again, there is something different and fresh.

This year, the NBA President and Executive Committee, the hard-working members of the Conference Planning Committee and the Local Organising Committee have gone to great lengths to plan a rich and rewarding one week event. There is something here for everyone. The theme – “Facing the Future” – is quite ambitious. It is also very topical, and timely.

The Conference opens today with a Juma’at Service at 1.30 pm at the Lagos Central Mosque (for the Muslim faithful) followed by a Reception at Harbour Point . The Christians will have a Multi-Denominational Service at 9.15 am on Sunday at the Cathedral Church of Christ, Marina.

Health and fitness freaks will be able to showcase their skills (and their track suits) tomorrow (Saturday) at the 10Km Health Walk which starts as early as 7.00 am at Harbour Point. The Conference Programme includes a Football Tournament between various Branches of the NBA (my home Branch – Lagos – is the favoured Team), and a Golf Kitty at the Ikoyi Club Golf Section (what is your handicap?). So you can (literarily) come and ‘try yourself’!

Most conferees will come in on Sunday…either by air or land. Please make your way to the Harbour Point on Ahmadu Bello Way, Victoria Island, to pick up your conference materials. There will be an NBA – National Executive Committee Meeting (for NEC members) at 12 noon on Sunday at Harbour Point, and a Welcome Cocktail at 5.00 pm at the City Hall, Lagos Island for all conferees. Of course, for the merry at heart, the traditional Formal Opening of the Friendship Centre will take place at 7.00 pm at the Harbour Point.

The formal Opening Ceremony holds on Monday morning at 9.00 am at the Eko Convention Centre, Eko Hotel, Lagos. With the array of distinguished guests, and the much-anticipated Keynote by Mr Horacio Bernardes Neto – the President of the IBA, you do not want to miss it. The technical sessions are wide and yet incisive – cutting across almost every area of practice and interest. A rich bouquet of 41 Sessions and 206 Speakers over a 3 Day-period.

And it is not just ‘all work, and no play’. The organisers have put together a very rich and diverse social programme that caters to every taste and interest. From the ‘Fela and the Kalakuta Queens’ Musical on Monday evening at 7.00 pm at the Convention Center, to the President’s Dinner on Tuesday night, and ending with the Pop Music Concert on Wednesday Night – there is something on, every night.

In addition, there are plenty of hosted side-events – already scheduled are the Lagos Branch ‘Jersey Party’ at 7.00 pm on Tuesday night (some people are yet to recover from the Lagos Party at the 2018 Conference in Abuja), and the Ikeja Branch Party on Wednesday night. Indeed Wednesday night will be ‘bloody’ with the Abuja and Port-Harcourt Branches (known for their convivial hospitality) also rolling out the drums (and green bottles). So make sure you pack your dancing shoes…and blue jeans (or visit the shops when you arrive).

The Conference ends on Thursday with the Annual General Meetings of the 3 Sections – SBL, SLP and SPIDEL – at 9.30 am, and the NBA Annual General Meeting at 12 noon, all holding at Harbour Point, followed by the Communique and Press Conference. The Christian Lawyers Fellowship of Nigeria (Clasfon) will then send off conferees with a Dinner at 6.00 pm – themed ‘Help All The Way’.

Friday morning will see conferees hugging, shaking hands and wishing each other ‘safe journey’ back home.

Whew, it promises to be one whirlwind week – and it starts today.

We salute the conference planning team, and you, as you come.

Lagos awaits you.

Ekaabo…Nnoo…Sannu,

Warm regards,

Alex N. Muoka
Former Chairman, NBA Lagos Branch (2013-2015)
Former Secretary, NBA Lagos Branch (2011-2013)

“Let’s be the change we desire…”

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POLICE BEAT, ABDUCT LAGOS LAWYER

  • Whereabouts still unknown, says Lagos Bar

Police operatives operating under the Lagos State Task Force this morning abducted a member of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Lagos Branch, Mr. Aliyu Shuaib.

In a statement made available to CITY LAWYER by the branch and signed by its Publicity Secretary, Mr. James Sonde, it was gathered that the victim was picked up at the Iyana Oworo axis of Lagos while waiting to board a bus.

According to the statement , “He said he was beaten up, his face is swollen and bruised and his phone seized before he was bundled into a truck along with other people.”

The whereabouts of the lawyer remains unclear, as he is still being driven to an unknown destination by the police operatives.

The full statement reads:

One of our members, Mr. Aliyu Shuaib called the Secretary this morning that he has just been arrested by the police at iyana oworo as he was about boarding a bus to the island.

He said he was beaten up, his face is swollen and bruised and his phone seized before he was bundled into a truck along with other people.

The police task force team were operating in a convoy and picking up people along the road and their destination is not known for now.

While he was communicating with the Secretary of the branch, the Secretary passed the convoy approaching Obalende but the convoy of police men in pick ups and trucks are still moving as we speak.

His last phone conversation a few minutes ago was that they are now approaching Ajah and possibly heading for Epe.

The Chairman of the Branch has been informed and he has directed that the Vice Chair who is the Chair of the Human Rights Committee immediately attend to the matter.

We will have further updates as we get more information.

James Sonde
Publicity Secretary
NBA Lagos

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FLOOD SWEEPS AWAY ABUJA COURT CHIEF

A heavy flood has swept away the Director of Finance, High Court of Federal Capital Territory , Mr. Tony Okecheme. Okecheme was on his way to the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in his official 2017 Toyota Camry when his car got stuck in the flood at Galadimawa roundabout, Abuja.

The finance director was swept away by the raging flood, but his driver, whose name could not be immediately ascertained, was rescued by some young boys in the area. The driver was said to have been taken to Asokoro hospital, but his boss was yet to be located as of the time of filing this report.

Eyewitnesses said the National Emergency Management Agency officials who came to the scene failed to rescue Okecheme and his driver who were reportedly trapped in the flood for about an hour before the water swept away the director.

His car, which was filled with mud water, was however pulled out of the ravines by the rescuers, who were angry over NEMA’s failure to rescue the man. Two young girls who claimed to be Okecheme’s children were seen weeping uncontrollably at the scene of the incident.

An FCT judiciary worker, who did not give his name, identified the car as belonging to Okecheme, noting that the man sent him N40,000 this (Friday) morning.

“I phoned him yesterday that I was broke and he promised to send me money before he travels today. I got N40,000 from him this morning,” he explained, as he showed our Correspondent the text message from the director.

The PUNCH reports that FCT Police spokesman, DSP Anjuguri Manzah, promised to find out the incident, saying he had not been briefed.

Please send emails to citylawyermag@gmail.com. Copyright 2018 CITY LAWYER. All materials available on this Website are protected by copyright, trade mark and other proprietary and intellectual property laws. You may not use any of our intellectual property rights without our express written consent or attribution to www.citylawyermag.com. However, you are permitted to print or save to your individual PC, tablet or storage extracts from this Website for your own personal non-commercial use.