USORO, OBI-OKAFOR MOURN OLOWOKURE

Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) President, Mr. Paul Usoro (SAN) and former NBA presidential candidate, Chief Arthur Obi-Okafor are among the Bar leaders who are mourning the sudden demise of veteran Bar activist and former Chairman of NBA Kaduna Branch, Mr. Olumuyiwa Olowokure.

Popularly known in Bar circles as “OO” in line with his initials, Olowokure was considered by many as a consummate Bar-man and a much-sought-after strategist especially in relation to Bar politics.

During the last NBA Elections, he pitched his tent with Obi-Okafor and was one of his ‘Returning Officers’ during the poll. In particular, he was known for his cerebral disposition and integrity, as his support for any particular candidate never wavered.

In a statement signed by NBA Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kunle Edun, Usoro described Olowokure as “an active bar man who featured prominently in the activities of the Nigerian Bar Association as a former Chairman of NBA Kaduna branch and member of the National Executive Committee of the NBA for several years.”

On his part, Obi-Okafor described Olowokure as “an astute Bar man, a personal friend and confidant.” In his tribute titled “O. O. Olowokure’s Demise: A Good Man Bids Goodbye,” Obi-Okafor said that Olowokure “will be remembered as a detribalized and consummate Bar man with the midas touch.”

Below are the statements by the Bar leaders:

NBA MOURNS THE DEMISE OF QUINTESSENTIAL BAR MAN, OLUMUYIWA OLOWOKURE

Moments ago the sad news of the sudden demise of Olumuyiwa Olowokure Esq reached the President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Paul Usoro, SAN and the National Officers. It was shocking and saddening.

Mr. Olowokure was an active bar man who featured prominently in the activities of the Nigerian Bar Association as a former Chairman of NBA Kaduna branch and member of the National Executive Committee of the NBA for several years. He was also the Kaduna State Co-Ordinator of Swift Count. Olumuyiwa Olowokure served the bar in many other capacities and made positive contributions to the development of the bar throughout his more than 3 decades of practice. He contested for the office of the General Secretary of the NBA in 2012.

On behalf of the National Officers, the NBA President condoles with members of the Nigerian Bar Association, particularly the leadership and members of NBA Kaduna branch and the family of our dearly loved colleague, over this very sad loss.

The NBA President prays that the almighty God will grant the family the fortitude and grace to bear this loss and grant our dear colleague a peaceful rest in the bossom of the Lord.

Kunle Edun
National Publicity Secretary, NBA

O.O. Olowokure’s Demise: A Good Man Bids Goodbye.

It is with a heavy heart and sense of great loss that I join family, friends and associates in mourning the untimely demise of a one time Chairman of the Kaduna branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Olumuyiwa O. Olowokure Esq, who passed on to eternal glory yesterday afternoon after a brief illness.

O.O. as he was fondly called was an astute Bar man, a personal friend and confidant. As the head of my Technical Team during the 2018 NBA elections, I found in him a loyal, dedicated, dependable and committed ally who committed his time, energy and resources into my project to lead our noble association.

O.O. will be remembered as a detribalized and consummate Bar man with the midas touch who during his tenure as Chairman of Kaduna branch of the NBA hosted one of the most successful conferences in the history of the association. He believed in excellence and brought same to bear in all he did.

His sudden exit leaves a great vacuum that will be difficult to be filled. O.O. was a good man and my sincere prayers is that the Almighty grant his family, friends colleagues and members of the Kaduna branch of NBA, the grace to pass through this dark hour and may the soul of the deceased find eternal rest in the bosom of the Almighty.
Adieu O.O. Olowokure Esq till we meet to part no more.

Arthur Obi Okafor (SAN).

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LAWYERS’ GROUP, EBUKA, NBA PUBLICIST HAIL AKPATA AT 48

A group of lawyers under the aegis of Lawyers for Welfare Advocacy (LAWFWA) has felicitated with the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) President, Mr. Olumide Akpata on his birthday today.

NBA Benin Publicity Secretary, Mr. Ogaga Emoghwanre has also congratulated Akpata on his birthday, describing him as “a  quintessential gentleman, effervescent, intelligent, savvy, spruce, dapper and a stylish personality.”

In separate messages made available to CITY LAWYER, they prayed for greater success for the NBA President.

Meanwhile, popular lawyer and TV host, Mr. Ebuka Obi-Uchendu has also joined in the flurry of congratulatory messages to Akpata. In the message posted on his verified Twitter handle, he wrote: “Happy birthday my presido @OlumideAkpata !!! More wins boss Folded hands

Below are the messages:

LAWYERS FOR WELFARE ADVOCACY (LAWFWA) CELEBRATES THE NIGERIAN BAR ASSOCIATION PRESIDENT; OLUMIDE AKPATA ON THE OCCASION OF HIS BIRTHDAY.

The Lawyers for Welfare Advocacy wishes to congratulate the most innovative President of the bar in modern history; Olumide Akpata on the occasion of his birthday.

Sir, not only do you seamlessly adapt to addressing the emerging challenges from the persistent ones that we face in our country today, but you are also always striving to make things better with new approaches and such unfaltering determination and focus.

We therefore seize this opportunity to thank you for all of your amazing efforts in repositioning our dear bar, for your sagacity in making Nigeria better and for your pragmatic approach to addressing her numerous challenges for the betterment of all.

We wish you many happy returns today and always.

Happy birthday sir.

For: Lawyers for Welfare Advocacy
Ezekiel Ugwueze Esq.
National Secretary

OGAGA EMOGHWANRE, ESQ FELICITATES MR. OLUMIDE AKPATA, PRESIDENT OF THE NBA ON HIS BIRTHDAY.

Today is the oldest you have ever been and before it loses that privilege, I will attempt to eulogize your good self. Words may fail me in doing that, however, this eulogy is inextricably linked with verifiable facts.

Mr Olumide Akpata, before the day goes dim or lusterless, I want to say a huge Happy Birthday to you. You are a  quintessential gentleman, effervescent, intelligent, savvy, spruce, dapper and a stylish personality, I wish you all the best as you celebrate today.

Our President Sir, you are a man with a keen sense of beauty, a genius of the first magnitude, a man of transparent honesty, your amiable disposition, regal dignity and humility makes you a matchless colossus.

Today may be like any other day for some, but a special, glamorous and illuminating day for you. It is not the years of our lives that counts but the life of our years.

You are a man who breaks down barriers, explores new frontiers, sets records only to  break them.

You are  quintessential in all that you do, a leader par excellence. You are revolutionary and progressive in ideas.

To truly know you is to have a  piece of heaven as you are God’s hand on earth. Your philanthropy transcends mortal reasoning; a man with a heart of gold and accessible to all.

You are by every means a man of the people and loved by all. We are indeed blessed to have you around; a gift to humanity.

Mr Olumide Akpata is a detribalized Nigerian with a penchant for bringing everyone together. As a trailblazer who has shown light in so many ways, moreso as a unifying factor to lead the largest community of learned personalities in Sub Saharan Africa.

The internet is agog today, the 7th day of October, 2020 from both lawyers and non lawyers with so much encomiums and birthday wishes. This shows that the Support and acceptance that trailed your emergence as PRESIDENT of the NBA was vox populi and a testament of the fact that it was divinely orchestrated. 

As is true about life, some hard balls may be thrown at you at some point; some days are good and some are bad, pain is written on all our cards so we remember to value our good times.

But one thing I know is that you have the grace to always weather the storm.

There is no doubt and it is crystal clear that your vast knowledge is unprecedented and oceanic, these and so many of your stirling qualities endeared me to you and I am indebted to you with so much gratitude, thank you for all you have done and will still do.

Your birthday is an opportunity for me to express my sincere and unalloyed gratitude to you for everything.

My wish for you on your birthday is that you always be, happy and healthy.

May you live a prosperous and abundant life.

May God grant you more wisdom, knowledge and leadership prowess to pilot the affairs of our Association, the NBA.

Happy birthday once more sir. May this year bring for you all the graces you require to sustain the good works you have gained notoriety for.

Amen.

Cherish and savor the unprecedented love of God in your life and enjoy your Natal day to the fullest. God bless the President of Nigerian Bar Association Mr Olumide Akpata.

OGAGA EMOGHWANRE, ESQ.

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NBA-SPIDEL REJIGS MEMBERSHIP

The Nigerian Bar Association Section on Public Interest Law (NBA-SPIDEL) is set to reinvent its membership database.

In an announcement made available to CITY LAWYER, the leading NBA organ for the promotion of public interest causes urged members to take advantage of the exercise to ensure that their information is captured in the section’s database.

Below is the full text of the announcement.

Good morning Sirs/Mesdames,

I trust that you are doing great.

This is to inform you that SPIDEL Secretariat is updating its members database and in view of this we kindly request members on this platform to click on the link below to provide the required information.

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeH72H2y6Chu3EI2rd2qRnjFFnszB9uzZOF4xRe1d31fJcAlw/viewform?usp=sf_link

We look forward to cooperation.

Thank you

Edidiong Peter, Esq.
SPIDEL LIAISON OFFICER

Copyright 2020 CITY LAWYER. Please send emails to citylawyermag@gmail.com. Join us on Facebook at https://web.facebook.com/City-Lawyer-Magazine-434937936684320 and on TWITTER at https://twitter.com/CityLawyerMag 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.

AKPATA, UNILAG DEAN, OTHERS TO SPEAK AT LMDC/YOUNG LAWYERS’ FORUM

Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) President, Mr. Olumide Akpata and foremost legal expert and Dean of Law, University of Lagos, Prof. Ayodele Atsenuwa are among leading jurists billed to speak at a webinar in preparation for the 1st Online Settlement Month in Africa themed ‘Resolving Disputes Through Technology in Africa.’

The virtual workshop is a partnership between the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Young Lawyers Forum (NBA YLF) and Lagos Multi-Door Courthouse (LMDC).

Other speakers expected at tomorrow’s webinar holding at 11 a. m. are the Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Kazeem Alogba; Lagos State Attorney General & Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Moyosore Onigbanjo SAN; Justice T. Oyekan-Abdulai; Mr. Clifford Collings, Chief Operating Officer & Mediator, ACCORD as well as former NBA Lagos Branch Chairman, Mr. Alex Muoka among others.

Below is the full text of the statement made available to CITY LAWYER.

************************

The Lagos Multi-Door Courthouse invites you to attend a Webinar in preparation for the 1st Online Settlement Month in Africa themed ‘Resolving Disputes Through Technology in Africa’.

At the Webinar, you will gain first hand knowledge of the ODR Process; the effectiveness of ODR and the Online Settlement Month in the resolution of commercial and other types of disputes; understand the role of Counsel in ODR process and the types of cases that can be referred to the OSM.

As approved by the Hon. Chief Judge of Lagos State, Hon. Justice K. O. Alogba, The Lagos Multi-Door Courthouse (LMDC) will hold the 1st Online Settlement Month (OSM) in Africa from November 16 – December 11, 2020. The OSM is a product of the Annual Settlement and District Settlement Weeks held by the LMDC and sponsored by the Lagos State Government under its Security and Governance THEMES agenda. The purpose of the OSM is to ease Court congestion and create an opportunity for the mediation of cases online across Africa, despite the COVID-19 Pandemic.

The LMDC Panel of Neutrals has the requisite training and experience in Mediating disputes online which cut across Banking, Telecommunications, Maritime, Aviation, Landlord and Tenant, Building and Construction, Real Estate etc.

The beauty of the Online Settlement Month is that you can resolve your disputes from any location in the world for free without leaving your homes or offices. The Terms of Settlement will also be signed online.

Registration link: http://rebrand.ly/LMDCwebinar

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$1.9 BN NIGER RAIL PROJECT: EX NBA CHIEF TAKES AMAECHI TO TASK

The controversy trailing the $1.9 Billion Nigeria-Niger rail project may not go away soon as former Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Second Vice President, Mr. Monday Ubani and Lagos lawyer, Mr. John Nwokwu have asked Transportation Minister, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi to provide them with details of the proposed project.

The request dated September 29, 2020 and addressed to Amaechi is coming under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act (FOI). The two lawyers stated that their demand for details of the rail project was premised on the need for transparency and accountability.

Some of the information sought by the duo include actual cost of the project, contract papers and the firm handling it, economic benefit of the project and where it is provided for in the 2020 Appropriation Act, including the source of  funding for the project.

They also requested to know the details of the deliberation and approval of such fund by the National Assembly.

The FOI letter signed by Joseph Igwe Esq. reads:

“Kindly provide the information to the best of your knowledge in the interest of transparency and openness which you have been at the vanguard.

“In a public statement credited to you, you did disclose to the media the award of contract for the development of the proposed Kano to Maradi rail line in Niger Republic.

“Sir, you are hereby specifically requested to make available to our clients or grant them access to: The actual contract cost of the rail line cutting across Kano state in Nigeria through Maradi in Niger Republic and the termination of the track length.

“The awarded contract document(s), name of the firm and procedure of
the award of the contract to the preferred firm.

“The detailed information on where it is provided for in the 2020
Appropriation Act and the source of the generation of the fund for the
contract.

“The details of the deliberation and approval of such fund and rail project
by the National Assembly.

“The detailed economic benefit of the rail line project from Nigeria
through Niger Republic to the generality of the Nigerian populace.

“However, if you think that another agency of the Government has
greater interest in the information requested for, you are obliged under
Section 5 of the Freedom of Information Act 2011 to transfer this request
to the other agency within 3 days, howbeit not later than 7 days of
receiving this request.

“Our clients shall pay the necessary fees for the information. Be notified
that if you fail to provide the above information within the period
stipulated by law we shall proceed against you in accordance with the
provisions of the law.

“We have no doubt that you will accede to this request in the interest of the Nation you are serving meritoriously,” the letter concluded.

Ubani told a newspaper (not CITY LAWYER) that he would “feel personally sad if Amaechi fails, refuses or neglects to respond to the request.” He stated that he may head to court to compel Amaechi to provide the information if he fails to do so voluntarily.

Copyright 2020 CITY LAWYER. Please send emails to citylawyermag@gmail.com. Join us on Facebook at https://web.facebook.com/City-Lawyer-Magazine-434937936684320 and on TWITTER at https://twitter.com/CityLawyerMag 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.

JICAM RULES: ‘P & ID CONTRACT WAS FRAUDULENT, POORLY DRAFTED,’ SAYS SAN

A senior advocate of Nigeria and chartered arbitrator, Prof. Paul Idornigie SAN at the weekend took a hard look at the controversial P & ID Case and concluded that the contract was fraudulent and poorly drafted.

Idornigie was speaking at the weekend in Abuja during the launch of the Janada International Centre for Arbitration & Mediation (JICAM) Rules 2020.

The foremost arbitrator whose paper was titled “Institutional Arbitration in Africa Post-COVID-19” stated that “the (P & ID) contract was fraudulent ab initio,” adding that “the contract was not properly drafted.”

According to Idornigie, the courts are not equipped to cure defective contracts, even as he urged arbitrators to “Africanize” arbitration by choosing Africa as the seat of arbitration in line with the “Africa Promise.”

On why Nigeria is not a leading arbitral centre and seat of arbitration, Idornigie who is also a member of the JICAM Governing Council said: “From my personal knowledge, most hearings in Nigeria are either held in hotels or law offices of the Legal Practitioners.  Such hearings whether domestic or international are not documented.  This probably accounts for the poor performance of Nigeria in this survey report.  This is without prejudice to the fact that issues of security, facilities, infrastructure and integrity of the Nigerian courts may also be factors responsible for the poor ranking of Nigeria in the continent.”

“The above lends credence to the establishment of JICAM.  JICAM is not only an arbitral centre but will perform arbitral services as it has its own Rules of Arbitration and Mediation.  These Rules are modern and comparable to other Rules like that of ICC and LCIA.  Indeed they are a blend of both.”

He stated that Nigeria’s legal framework would not adversely impact arbitral proceedings due to the advent of virtual hearings, saying: “Arbitration in Nigeria does not suffer the effect of the Evidence Act (s256(1)(a), the Constitution (s36(3) & (4) and the judicial pronouncements on hearing in public.  Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, I have used Skype, audio and video-conferencing at JICAM and ICAMA, Abuja and LCA, Lagos.”

Continuing, he said: “However, quite unlike physical hearing, we must prepare adequately for virtual hearing.  This is the challenge post-COVID.  For African arbitration institutions to survive, they must have facilities for virtual hearing side by side  the existing facilities for physical hearing.  There are enough Protocols, Guidelines, Guidance Notes, etc on this as highlighted above.  Thus several issues will arise before, during and after the arbitral proceedings that must be carefully addressed.”

He warned that “The arbitral institutions that will survive are those with modern rules and facilities for both physical and virtual hearings.  The arbitrators that will be in business are those who are innovative, creative and digitally knowledgeable.”

In his remarks, former Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Hon. Justice Ibrahim Auta said that he was “proud at the strides JICAM has recorded since its formal establishment in 2015. In keeping with its aim to promote a forum for the resolution of disputes, we have supported disputing parties in active reconciliation and resolution of their disputes.”

A fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (UK), Justice Auta, who is also the Chairman of the JICAM Governing Council, stated that online dispute resolution (ODR) has witnessed a resurgence due to the COVID-19 pandemic, saying: “We have witnessed online giants utilize this mechanism in the resolution of buyer to customer disputes but we have failed to expand its use to the resolution of the common disputes. Perhaps this is an appropriate time to discuss the Rules we aim to launch, today.”

Noting that “parties with bad cases could easily frustrate such an attempt by withholding the consent to conduct such proceedings virtually,” Justice Auta, who was represented by Mrs. Diane Okoko, added that “we have equipped our center with state of the art facilities including high speed internet for this very purpose. In similar fashion, the Rules take care of numerous other issues which have been unclear in the arbitration space which I do not intend on boring you with today.”

On his part, the President of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, Justice Benedict Kanyip who was the Special Guest of Honour stated that the Arbitration and Conciliation Act “does not apply in trade disputes,” adding that such disagreements are sui generis.

In his welcome address, former Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) presidential candidate, Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama SAN said: “Indeed, while I consider it a huge privilege to have some of the best minds in the Alternative Dispute Resolution sector present at this event, I strongly believe that the launch of the JICAM Arbitration & Mediation Rules 2020 will usher in a new era in the realms of our Alternative Dispute Resolution engagements, which in the long run, will contribute significantly to the development of ADR both locally and internationally.”

According to Gadzama who is also a chartered arbitrator and fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (UK), JICAM “was established in 2015 and commissioned by the then President of the Court of Appeal, Hon Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, OFR, CON, as a dispute resolution center designed to promote a suitable forum for the resolution of domestic and international disputes,” adding that “JICAM is fully equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, with its rules and guidelines accommodating both ad hoc and institutional arbitration.”

Concluding, the leading litigator said: “I strongly believe that this comprehensive document will facilitate speedier, more effective and efficient arbitration cum mediation proceedings, which in the long run will promote the advancement and viability of Alternative Dispute Resolution in Nigeria and Sub-Saharan Africa.”

In his goodwill message, the President of Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators (ICMC), Chief Emeka Obegolu, commended JICAM for unveiling the new Rules.

Noting that there are over 10 prominent Arbitration and Mediation institutions in Nigeria, the former NBA General Secretary said: “I believe the general hope is for these institutions to leave their mark in the dispute resolution landscape, and contribute to the effective resolution of disputes. However, to achieve this, there must be synergy of some sort between these institutions. We must see ourselves not as competitors, but as partners in this dynamic field of ADR.”

In a similar goodwill message, the Chairman of the Abuja Chapter of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (UK), Mr. Chinwendu Madumere noted that the institute maintains a robust relationship with JICAM, adding that the emergence of the centre would “bridge the gap of having a world class arbitration centre with appropriate facilities and Rules.”

The event was moderated by the JICAM Acting General Manager, Chimdindu Onyedim-Etuwewe while Bar. Lama Joe-Kyari Gadzama gave the vote of thanks.

Copyright 2020 CITY LAWYER. Please send emails to citylawyermag@gmail.com. Join us on Facebook at https://web.facebook.com/City-Lawyer-Magazine-434937936684320 and on TWITTER at https://twitter.com/CityLawyerMag 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.

ARBITRATION CZARS TO UNVEIL JICAM RULES TOMORROW

Leading arbitrators will tomorrow gather to unveil the “JICAM Arbitration & Mediation Rules, 2020.” The virtual event will also witness a lecture on “Institutional Arbitration in Africa Post COVID-19” by renowned chartered arbitrator and Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (UK), Prof. Paul Idornigie, SAN. Time is 11 a. m.

The event is facilitated by the Janada International Center for Arbitration and Mediation (JICAM), Abuja.

With the President of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, Justice Benedict Kanyip as Special Guest of Honour, the event will be chaired by the retired Chief Judge of the Federal High Court and Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (UK), Hon. Justice Ibrahim Auta. Justice Auta is also the Chairman of JICAM Governing Council.

Also expected at the virtual conference is former NBA presidential candidate and leading chartered arbitrator, Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama SAN. Gadzama also doubles as the Chairman of the JICAM Board of Trustees.

Among the panelists are Prof. Ike Ehiribe, Mrs. Diane Okoko and Dr. Fidele Masengo, all fellows of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (UK) and members of the JICAM Governing Council. Chimdindu Onyedim-Etuwewe, JICAM Acting General Manager is billed to anchor the event.

To register, click on the following link: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZEud-usrjwpE9SIcT5YoBxdjbGbNx4mWIfe

NBA ELECTION AUDIT C’TE INVITES MEMORANDA

The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Electoral Reform and Audit Committee (NBA-ERAC) has asked stakeholders to submit memoranda for a successful audit of the 2016, 2018 and 2020 Elections and reform of NBA’s electoral system.

In a statement today signed by Mr. Ayodele Akintunde SAN and Mrs. Nnenna Uko, its Chairman and Secretary respectively, the committee stated that all memoranda must be submitted “on or before 6.00 pm on Monday, November 2, 2020.”

Below is the full text of the statement.

NBA ELECTORAL REFORM AND AUDIT COMMITTEE: INVITATION TO SUBMIT MEMORANDA FOR CONSIDERATION BY THE COMMITTEE

Distinguished Colleague,

The President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr. Olumide Akpata on the 30th of September 2020 inaugurated the NBA Electoral Reform and Audit Committee (“the Committee”) comprising of;

Ayodele Akintunde, SAN (Chairman)
Hon. Mike Igini (Vice Chairman)
Nnenna Uko (Secretary)
Andrew Odum
Altine Ibrahim
Ama Etuwewe SAN
Basil Udotai
Hadiza Nasir Ahmad
John Owubokiri
Mas’ud Alabalewe
Oludayo Olorunfemi
Rotimi Ogunyemi
Joyce Oduah FICMC (NBA General Secretary)

At the inaugural meeting of the Committee held on the same day, the Committee resolved to invite members of the NBA, branches of the NBA and all stakeholders to submit Memoranda in line with the Committee’s terms of reference below:

(a) To audit the elections of National Officers of the NBA of 2016, 2018 and 2020 and recommend reforms if any of the electoral process.

(b) To receive Memoranda and carry out extensive consultations across all demographics of the NBA on the experiences of the 2016, 2018 and 2020 NBA Elections in order to make recommendations that will strengthen the conduct of transparent, free, fair and credible elections of National Officers of the NBA.

(c) To review post-election audit reports for the 2016, 2018 and 2020 election of National Officers of the NBA by the Election Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (“ECNBA”) or any other body appointed to conduct the post-election Audits.

(d) To identify any issues, failures or irregularities with the process and conduct of the 2016, 2018 and 2020 elections of the National Officers of the NBA and make recommendations.

(e) To study the provisions of the NBA Constitution (as amended) on elections of National Officers of the NBA and propose amendments as may be deemed necessary.

(f) To identify international best practices on elections of Professional Associations similar to the NBA that will impact positively on the quality and credibility of elections of the National officers of the NBA NBA.

(g) To review the efficiency of the National Secretariat in assisting the Election Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (ECNBA) and make recommendations to strengthen the role of the ECNBA and its independence in dealing directly with branches on data collation and management with minimal interference of the National Secretariat of the NBA.

(h) To review and recommend ways to strengthen data collation, storage and management for elections.

(i) To work on all such areas that would improve Data Collection of Members of the NBA and Electronic Voting to guarantee free, fair, transparent and credible elections.

(j) To do anything that the Committee may consider relevant or necessary in connection with these terms of reference.

(k) To make recommendations deemed necessary for the realization of these terms of reference

The Committee has till the 31st of December 2020 to deliver its assignment.

In view of the short timeline of the Committee to deliver on the assignment, the Committee hereby calls for Memoranda from members of the NBA, branches of the NBA and all stakeholders. All Memoranda must not be more than 6 pages, using 12 font size of either Arial or Times New Roman; and must be limited to the terms of reference specified above.

The Memoranda is to be addressed to the “Chairman, NBA Electoral Reform and Audit Committee” and submitted in soft copies by e-mail to: nbaelectoralreform@gmail.com on or before 6.00 pm on Monday, November 2, 2020.

Ayo Akintunde, SAN                                                     Nnenna N Uko (Mrs.)
NBA ERAC Chair                                                              NBA ERAC Secretary

Copyright 2020 CITY LAWYER. Please send emails to citylawyermag@gmail.com. Join us on Facebook at https://web.facebook.com/City-Lawyer-Magazine-434937936684320 and on TWITTER at https://twitter.com/CityLawyerMag 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.

 

‘MY FIRST MONTH AS NBA PRESIDENT WAS TOUGH,’ SAYS AKPATA

Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) President, Mr. Olumide Akpata has written to lawyers chronicling his “achievements” in his first month in office.

Akpata was on August 28, 2020 sworn-in by the immediate past NBA President, Mr. Paul Usoro SAN following a hotly contested presidential election.

In the email sent to lawyers today and titled “FROM THE DESK OF THE PRESIDENT: MY FIRST MONTH IN OFFICE (SEPTEMBER 2020),” Akpata stated that the communication was in fulfilment of his electioneering campaign promise “to regularly engage with you and to provide monthly updates from my desk on our activities in each preceding month.”

Noting that “My first month in office was as tough as it was busy,” Akpata however stated that “we are tackling these challenges while also setting the stage for more achievements in the coming months.”

Below is the full text of the address.

FROM THE DESK OF THE PRESIDENT: MY FIRST MONTH IN OFFICE (SEPTEMBER 2020)

Dear Colleague,

I hope that my email meets you well.

One of the promises that I made to you during the recent electioneering season was to regularly engage with you and to provide monthly updates from my desk on our activities in each preceding month. It has been one month since I was sworn in as the 30th President of the NBA and I am writing to you to commence the fulfilment of that promise.

My first month in office was as tough as it was busy. Expectedly, it came with challenges like any other leadership role. But we are tackling these challenges while also setting the stage for more achievements in the coming months.

Details of some of our administration’s activities in September 2020 can be viewed by clicking HERE. A summary of the activities is as follows:
Electoral Audit and Reforms Committee: We established an Electoral Audit and Reforms Committee to audit the 2016, 2018 and 2020 elections and recommend reforms for future elections. This is important to restore the confidence of our members and the society in our electoral system.

Parley with Northern Leaders: I held a crucial meeting with the Chairmen of about 40 branches of the NBA in the Northern Geopolitical Zone and some leaders of the Bar in the North to reassure every one of my interest in uniting the Bar and running a truly egalitarian association in which each member’s rights will be respected.

Death Sentence Appeal: As a mark of our commitment to human rights and rule of law, we intervened in the case of a certain Yahaya Sharif-Aminu who was sentenced to death by the Kano State Upper Sharia Court for alleged blasphemy but was denied access to lawyers for his appeal.

The Chief Judge of Cross River State (“CRS”): We have intervened in the crisis in CRS where there is currently no Chief Judge because the State House of Assembly has refused to confirm Hon. Justice Akon Ikpeme as Chief Judge following the expiration of the tenure of the acting Chief Judge. Our intervention in this matter, at all levels, is ongoing and we are determined to ensure that the Judiciary in CRS, and indeed access to justice in the State, is not hampered in any way.

Rules of Professional Conduct 2007 (“RPC”): The RPC was purportedly amended by the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation (“HAGF”) in the month under review. We are exploring all options to ensure that appropriate actions are taken with respect to the supposed amendment. I have met with the HAGF and have also written to him. Based on the assurances that I received from him, I am hopeful that the said amendments will be reversed.

Lawyers with special needs: I met with the Association of Lawyers with Disabilities in Nigeria to discuss and understand their peculiar challenges within the Bar. On your behalf, I pledged that the NBA will be more sensitive to their needs. We are currently exploring ways of dealing with some of the challenges that were identified.

An inclusive Bar: I had a meeting with the leadership of the Law Officers Association of Nigeria at which I got a better appreciation of the salient issues affecting law officers in Nigeria. We are currently setting up a Task Force to look into these issues and make appropriate recommendations.

“Ease” of Doing Business at the CAC: There are numerous complaints about the delay in service delivery at the CAC. Given the central role that the CAC plays in the professional lives of our members, I set up a Presidential Task Force to look into the complaints, identify the issues and engage the Registrar-General of the CAC with a view to finding workable solutions.

Eligibility for SAN rank: We have empaneled the General Purposes Committee (one of the standing committees under the NBA Constitution) to screen prospective candidates for the award of the rank of SAN. This is to assist the Legal Practitioners Privileges Committee with the process of selecting the most suitable awardees for the rank in 2020.

A Kidnapped Lawyer: A lawyer, Mr. Uyi Frank Obayagbona was kidnapped around Edo State. Working closely with the Commissioner of Police Edo in State, we were able secure his release.

Branch visits: In keeping with the campaign promise of visiting as many branches as possible during my term, I commenced my visit to our 125 branches this September with a view to creating synergy between the branches and the national body. So far, I have visited and had interactive sessions with legal practitioners in Lafia, Keffi, Ungongo, Kano, Warri, Effurun and Asaba.

Ikeja Branch Crisis: There is a brewing crisis threatening to engulf the Ikeja Branch of the NBA. To forestall a full-blown and intractable crisis, I convened a meeting of stakeholders of the branch to deliberate and brainstorm on the way forward. I have also set up a caretaker committee to manage the branch following the expiration of the term of the caretaker committee appointed by my predecessor.

Supporting the Welfare of Judges: I was in Port Harcourt to participate in the commissioning of residential quarters donated by the Rivers State Government to the Court of Appeal and to serving Judges of the State High Court on an owner/occupier basis. I decided to participate at both events because the welfare of judicial officers is crucial and directly affects the ability of lawyers to practice proficiently and profitably.

Welcome to our New Members: On 15 September 2020, I joined the Body of Benchers in welcoming 1,758 “new wigs” into the profession and into our noble association.

A heart full of sorrow: A number of lawyers and judicial officers in Nigeria either passed on, or were buried, during my first month in office. Mr. Alfred Eghobiamien, SAN, Justice Jude Okeke, Justice Shehu Atiku and many others who contributed in several ways towards the advancement of the legal profession in Nigeria left to the other side of eternity.

While praying for the repose of their souls, I made out time to attend the funeral of some of them. The most recent was the funeral of Late Justice Karibi-Whyte, JSC (rtd) in his hometown in Abonema, Rivers State. His Lordship left an indelible mark in the profession and it was an honour to pay my last respects to him on your behalf.

The other was the funeral of Mr. Sunday Nnabuike Onah, a young man and member of the Enugu branch, whom I did not have the privilege of meeting or speaking with during his lifetime. Just before his funeral, I requested the NBA Secretariat to promptly process the death benefits due to his family from the NBA. On a related note, I will soon commence negotiations with our insurance providers to increase the life assurance and permanent disability pay-outs by 100%. I consider this an important component of the welfare scheme of the NBA for its members.

I thank you for your attention. Please be assured that I remain committed to delivering on your mandate and bequeathing a Bar that you will be most proud of.

Sincerely,

Olumide Akpata

President
Nigerian Bar Association

CONTROVERSY, AS JUDICIAL BODY SHUNS NBA, APPOINTS SCRIBE

Barring any last-minute hitches, the Secretary of Nigeria’s Body of Benchers, Hajia Sadiya Turaki will tomorrow assume duties as the new scribe of the influential Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC).

Multiple and unimpeachable sources told CITY LAWYER that Turaki has been appointed by the commission chaired by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad as the new Secretary to replace Mr. Bassey E. Bassey who retired on September 23, 2020.

Turaki’s appointment is coming on the heels of allegations that the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) may have been shut out of the appointment process, contrary to the provisions of Section 153(2) and 154(1) of the 1999 Constitution as well as Paragraph 12 Part 1 of the Third Schedule to 1999 Constitution. 

While Paragraph 12 (6) Part 1 of the Third Schedule to the 1999 Constitution stipulates that the membership composition of the FJSC shall include “Two persons, each of whom has been qualified to practice as a Legal Practitioner in Nigeria for a period of not less than fifteen years, from a list of not less than four persons so qualified and recommended by the Nigerian Bar Association,” CITY LAWYER gathered from impeccable sources that NBA has not participated in the decision-making process of the commission for over two years since the tenure of its former representatives ended.

Paragraph 13(c), Part 1 of the Third Schedule to the 1999 Constitution empowers the commission to “Appoint, dismiss and exercise disciplinary control over the Chief Registrars and Deputy Chief Registrars of the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal, the Federal High Court, the National Industrial Court and all other members of the staff of the Judicial Service of the Federation not otherwise specified in this Constitution and of the Federal Judicial Service Commission.”

CITY LAWYER investigation shows that the last set of NBA representatives at the commission were Mr. Olumuyiwa Akinboro SAN and Hajia Fatima Kwaku (MFR) whose names were forwarded by then Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Aloma Mariam Mukhtar to former President Goodluck Jonathan for transmission to the Senate for confirmation. Their five-year tenure ended on 3rd July, 2018.

A source who is familiar with the matter told CITY LAWYER that though the immediate past NBA President, Mr. Paul Usoro SAN made spirited efforts to ensure NBA’s representation at the commission, such efforts did not yield fruits. The source stated that though Usoro had on at least three occasions submitted the list of NBA nominees to the Chief Justice of Nigeria, there are strong indications that the list was not transmitted to the Senate through the President for approval. CITY LAWYER also gathered from unimpeachable sources that the names of two NBA nominees are still currently pending at the all-important commission.

Though CITY LAWYER sought the views of NBA President, Mr. Olumide Akpata on the development through a short messaging service and WhatsApp message to his verified telephone number, he promised that “I will call you back shortly” but was yet to do so at press time. 

Aside from NBA representatives, the commission’s membership comprises of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, who shall be the Chairman; President of the Court of Appeal; Attorney-General of the Federation; Chief Judge of the Federal High Court; President of the National Industrial Court, and “Two other persons, not being Legal Practitioners, who in the opinion of the President are of unquestionable integrity.” The non-lawyers are Senator Abba Ali and Malam Mohammed Sagir. However, only NBA is currently unrepresented in the 9-member commission.

The commission’s Secretary doubles as its Chief Executive and Accounting Officer.

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RPC: UBANI WITHDRAWS SUIT AGAINST MALAMI

* CITES PRESSURE FROM NBA

BY EMEKA NWADIOKE

Firebrand human rights activist and former Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Second Vice President, Mr. Monday Ubani has directed his lawyers to withdraw his lawsuit against Attorney-General & Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami SAN over the controversial amendment of the Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners 2007.

Ubani had dragged Malami to court over the “unilateral amendment” of the Rules, even as the NBA President, Mr. Olumide Akpata directed lawyers to ignore the Rules, saying they were amended without proper authority. He also asked Malami to “immediately” rescind the amendment in the interest of the Bar.

But in a statement made available to CITY LAWYER, Ubani said that he was under pressure to withdraw the lawsuit to ensure that it is not used as an excuse to scuttle amicable resolution of the impasse.

According to the frontline activist and Bar Leader, “The leadership of the bar at the highest level have reached out to me to have the law suit withdrawn to avoid an ugly situation where the issue of the case in court will be used as an excuse to scuttle the much anticipated resolution of this unnecessary rumble within our revered body.”

CITY LAWYER recalls that a gazette had surfaced recently where Malami had issued an amendment of the Rules deleting several critical sections of the RPC.

Below is the full text of the statement.

INTENTION TO WITHDRAW SUIT NO FHC/CV/1174/2020 AGAINST ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE FEDERATION.

Recall that recently we took out a legal suit against the Attorney General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami SAN over the recent unilateral amendment of the Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners 2007.

I took this drastic legal step in conjunction with some of my very learned colleagues in the profession because we deciphered a motive orchestrated to weaken arguably the umbrella body by the damaging amendments that failed to have the input of the Bar generally through the General Council of the Bar as prescribed by the Legal Practitioners Act.

The unilateral amendment with the consequential intendment to weaken NBA as a professional body was greeted with so much furore and anger for not following procedure as prescribed by the enabling law.

It has come to our notice that the NBA leadership has expressed their reservations about the unilateral amendment and has sought the reversal of same by the Attorney General and Minister of Justice. They have written a letter to him to withdraw the gazetted Amendment as its effect will create great crisis and confusion within the bar. The purport of the letter is to provide a veritable platform to have the brewing crisis nipped in the bud and resolve the problem amicably.

The leadership of the bar at the highest level have reached out to me to have the lawsuit withdrawn to avoid an ugly situation where the issue of the case in court will be used as an excuse to scuttle the much anticipated resolution of this unnecessary rumble within our revered body.

As an unrepentant lover of the bar and a principled individual who fights for a cause with God’s wisdom, I have reached out to my colleagues in this struggle for us to have this case withdrawn to allow no reason whatsoever to be given for the failure to arrive at an amicable settlement over the matter.

It is my belief and hope that the Attorney General of the Federation will take into cognizance the larger interest of the bar and move quickly to withdraw the said gazetted Amendment and allow the General Council of the Bar to commence some of the intended amendments that will be highly beneficial to the Bar generally.

I hereby instruct my lawyers to withdraw the said suit in order to allow the anticipated amicable settlement to be exhaustively exploited by both parties.

Long Live the NBA
Long Live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Monday Onyekachi Ubani Esq (MOU)
Former Vice President of NBA.