NBA DEBT OVERHANG: PROBE MAHMOUD, MURRAY DARES CRITICS

Mr. Muritala Oladimeji Abdul-Rasheed, Chief of Staff to former Nigerian Bar Association President, Mr. Abubakar Mahmoud SAN, has asked critics to probe the outgone administration, saying the regime has nothing to hide.

In a rare response to critics who have accused the administration of burdening the Mr. Paul Usoro SAN-led regime with a huge debt overhang, the former NBA helmsman – popularly known as “Murray” in NBA circles – also stated that “Team ABM” (in apparent reference to the controversial “Office of the President of NBA” or OPNBA created by the Mahmoud Administration) “has nothing to do with the treasury. Our mandate was to formulate policies and strategy for the administration.”

Murray was responding to an enquiry from fiery Bar Leader, Dame Carol Ajie who sought to clear the air on allegations that the Usoro regime has been saddled with huge debts by the Mahmoud administration, leading to non-payment of NBA staff salaries among others.

In a post on her popular “ourcountrynigeria” blog, the LAWA Fellow, Georgetown University Law Center wrote: “A number of our colleagues have called my attention to NBA’s present paucity of funds. They said NBA staff salaries are being owed. That Usoro assumed office as President and met huge debts. Murray’s name was mentioned former Chief of Staff under waste. That Mahmoud’s regime was wasteful. So on Friday 26th October instant, I sent a whatsapp message to Murray I demanded explanation to the charge of waste and NBA finances being frittered and here is the excerpt of Murray’s response.”

In his response, Murray said: “Good morning Dame. Team ABM has nothing to do with the treasury. Our mandate was to formulate policies and strategy for the administration. We dare those who were making false claims against the administration to probe it. We are all around to answer questions when invited. Our Principal (AB Mahmoud SAN) like Akeredolu SAN was not signing cheques and he personally financed most of his travels both local and international. – Abdul Rasheed Oladimeji a.k.s (sic) Murray.”

CITY LAWYER investigation indicates that Murray may have largely been sidelined by the Usoro Administration, moreso as the new administration may have scrapped by controversial ‘Office of the President of NBA.’ One of the newly elected NBA Officers told CITY LAWYER that “Murray has not been sighted in NBA House for sometime now.” He is believed to have been instrumental to the emergence of Usoro as NBA President.

In a veiled defence of the Mahmoud regime, Ajie wrote: “You would recall when Mahmoud assumed office August 2016. Mr Alegeh handed over a treasury of huge debts in hundred millions Naira and Mahmoud gave indications of NBA’s humongous debt profile. It does appear Mahmoud’s regime was unable to clear those debts and had passed it to Mr Usoro.”

A staunch supporter of Usoro during the recent NBA Elections, Ajie however lampooned the current regime for allegedly sidelining the First Vice President, Stanley Chidozie Imo. Her words: “NBA Office of CoS isn’t there anymore. Usoro replaced it with an Executive office now being occupied by Victor Ekim Esq., same salary. You all know Victor Ekim was a candidate for the office of Chair Abuja Branch. Ekim is AKWA-CROSS Riverian but what we don’t know is (whether) Victor Ekim’s salary and perquisites (are) paid by NBA. Hopefully in due course Mr Paul Usoro SAN will disclose it, in the spirit of transparency.

“Last week FCT High Court launched a case management docket. Usoro sent a representative in the person of his Executive assistant. I think its high time Usoro delegated his official duties/functions to his 1st Vice President following Article 8(5)(b)(iv) of NBA Constitution 2015. Where the 1st VP is absent, the 2nd VP and in his or her absence the 3rd VP. There are 14 national officers we elected in August 2018.”

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