The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Technical Committee on Conference Planning (TCCP) has said that registration for this year’s Annual General Conference (AGC) has not witnessed any hitches so far.
Responding to a CITY LAWYER report that some lawyers may be attempting to circumvent the AGC payment system through proxy registration, several TCCP members decried the report as “misleading,” saying AGC registration is going on smoothly and has not witnessed any scandal.
Meanwhile, TCCP Co-Chairman, Mr. Olumide Akpata has said that the committee “will definitely be taking it (report) up.” An NBA official who telephoned CITY LAWYER earlier asked that the report should be pulled down. He also alleged ‘political bias’ against CITY LAWYER. This allegation against CITY LAWYER has been repeated by at least two other ranking TCCP officials.
Unleashing the first salvo of criticisms from TCCP members, Chairman of the AGC Media & Publicity Sub-Committee, Mr. Kunle Edun said in an online post: “Gentlemen, this publication is misleading and very unfair to members of the NBA and TCCP. We urge all bloggers particularly Citylawyermagazine of which Emeka Nwadioke Esq is the alter ego to always get their facts right before going to the press with sensational headlines.
“Registration is going on smoothly and there has been no interruptions (sic) so far. Certainly, there is no reported registration scam. It is just in the imagination of the publishers. Members are advised to ignore such publications.
“Contact numbers have been published and members are free to use the channel numbers to reach the TCCP for any information.”
In another post, Edun also claimed that the report was motivated by what he called “partisan interests,” adding: “Bad journalism and most unfortunate. We should not bring in partisan interests into a clearly professional matter.”
Some sources close to NBA House have occasionally criticized some legal bloggers as belonging to some camps or aligning especially to former NBA presidential candidates, alleging that such bloggers are yet to get over the recent NBA presidential elections.
On his part, Nigerian Law School teacher and TCCP member, Mr. Sylvester Udemezue said: “The news report is misleading and a propagation of falsehood. The headline doesn’t only shout, it shouts falsehood, capable of misleading unsuspecting members of the bar.
“I hope the news report isn’t a sponsored game to discredit the noble efforts of the TCCP for the 2019 NBA-AGC. We wouldn’t lie low and allow such jobless propagation of falsehood in place of truth. Responsible journalism requires that the reporter verifies every information (sic) received before going to town with the metal gong.”
Another TCCP member, Mr. Anthony Atata, said: “Brother, I have read this over and over again without sighting the scandal you are talking about. Kindly come down to my level and educate me accordingly.”
Responding in an online post, Akpata said: “This is simply irresponsible and unacceptable reporting and the TCCP will definitely be taking it up.” Akpata later telephoned CITY LAWYER and demanded a retraction and an apology relating to the report. He stated that a notice by the TCCP warning lawyers to abide by AGC registration guidelines does not amount to a “scandal.”
But a Bar Leader and ranking member of Ikeja Branch, Mr. Dan Okoye disagreed, saying: “I doubt if the substance can be described as false or misleading!! Can a lawyer called to bar 15 years ago use the tag of an unwilling junior who’s 3 years at bar? Is a registration transferable?”
He added: “Whatever happens, my humble advice to lawyers: you either register or ignore the Conference. Just plan to attend the AGM (courtesy NBA Ikeja Branch, 2012 AGC Protest) and other side attractions. Don’t gate crash, it’s demeaning.”
Another lawyer Nzeakor Atulomah posed several queries thus: “Is it not a greater scandal that the so-called TCCP imposes charges that regular members of the Bar find unaffordable and then try to circumvent? Is it not also such a great national shame that only two branches – Lagos and Abuja – can readily host NBA AGCs? Is that not telling of the state of our development as a nation?
“Why must there be AGC every year? To what purpose in particular? Why can it not hold once in two years? Is it not increasingly clear that the NBA is incrementally alienating itself from the lives of its most vulnerable members – the young counsel and distressed members? More questions than ever answers.”
The notice issued yesterday by Edun had stated as follows:
TCCP-2019 AGC NOTICE UPDATE
“We wish to advise intending conferees to register for the conference only with their correct personal and professional details: name and age at the bar are mandatory. The e-paymnt portal has inbuilt capacity that automatically detects wrong entries. We advise members to be very certain about their personal details when registering.
“Be further informed that TCCP has also made additional arrangement for a second security filter at the Conference venue for all Conferees. The devise shall be used at random by security officials assisted by TCCP officials for all Conferees before accessing the Conference venue. The purpose of this security arrangement are
a) to ensure that the entries in our data match with the details of the person presenting the access card.
b) as a cautionary additional security layer.
“It is therefore important that intending conferees enter their correct details when registering. REGISTRATION OR ATTENDANCE BY PROXY SHALL BE CONSIDERED AS A SERIOUS SECURITY AND A GROSS PROFESSIONAL MISCONDUCT.”
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