MAIKYAU, IDORNIGIE, OTHERS APPOINTED TO PERMANENT COURT OF ARBITRATION

Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) President, Mr. Yakubu Maikyau SAN is one Nigeria’s four leading arbitrators who have been appointed to the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) at The Hague, Netherlands.

Other eminent arbitrators whose nominations have been confirmed by the PCA are former Acting Director-General of the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS), Prof. Paul Idornigie SAN; Prof. Emilia Onyema, FCIArb and Mrs. Funmi Roberts, FCIArb. The four appointees are also members of The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (UK).

The new PCA members who were nominated by the Federal Government will serve for an initial six-year period.

CITY LAWYER recalls that every Contracting State is entitled to four members at the PCA. The PCA is an intergovernmental organization with 122 contracting parties.

It is recalled that Maikyau had visited the Permanent Court of Arbitration where he met with its PCA’s secretary-general, Mr. Hugo Hans Siblesz.

A statement on the visit noted that Maikyau “presented gifts as a token of appreciation for the PCA’s work in international dispute resolution. This gesture underscores the NBA’s intent to strengthen its relationship with the PCA and explore collaborative arbitration and dispute resolution opportunities.”

The PCA is dedicated to serving the international community in the field of dispute resolution. According to the arbitral body, “Established in 1899 to facilitate arbitration and other forms of dispute resolution between states, the PCA has developed into a modern, multi-faceted arbitral institution perfectly situated to meet the evolving dispute resolution needs of the international community.”

In addition to the Members of the Court, the PCA also maintains various specialized panels of arbitrators and experts in connection with its specialized rules of procedure for environmental and outer space disputes.

Beyond its headquarters in the Peace Palace in The Hague, the PCA has opened offices in various cities in order to make its services more accessible in different regions of the world.

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NBA NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS CONFERENCE HOLDS TODAY

NEWS RELEASE

NBA NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS CONFERENCE HOLDS TODAY

Distinguished Colleagues,

The Nigerian Bar Association Human Rights Institute (NBA-HRI) will be hosting its inaugural National Human Rights Conference with the theme: Human Rights in Business and the Workplace: Role of Lawyers, today, Wednesday, 17 July 2024.

The keynote speaker, Hon. Justice B.B. Kanyip, PhD (FNIALS), OFR, President, National Industrial Court shall deliver his address by 9am prompt. Conferees are therefore encouraged to be at the venue – the NBA House, Plot 1101 Muhammadu Buhari Way, Central Business District, F.C.T. Abuja – by 8.30am.

Participation at this conference is FREE. You can also join the conference virtually by registering through this link: https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_Xe4gceyQRveKwJNNSOjw0Q

Thank you, and do have a great day.

Charles Olawale Ajiboye
NBA National Assistant Publicity Secretary

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BREAKING: NBA LOSES BID TO LIFT COURT’S BAN ON SPIDEL CONFAB

A fierce bid by the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) leadership to lift the court order against its planned NBA Section on Public Interest and Development Law(NBA-SPIDEL) Annual Conference met a brick wall today as the factional SPIDEL Executive Committee battled against the efforts.

Following the court order obtained by the factional SPIDEL Executive Committee barring NBA from going ahead with its planned SPIDEL Annual Conference scheduled for Thursday, the NBA had filed a flurry of processes aimed to arrest the order.

Among the processes filed by its Lead Counsel, Mr. Ama Etuwewe SAN were a Notice of Appeal against the interim order; a motion to stay enforcement of the order; a counter-affidavit in opposition to the motion for interlocutory injunction against the conference, and a counter-affidavit in opposition to the originating summons as well as a written address.

When the matter came up today, factional SPIDEL Chairman and former NBA First Vice President, Mr. John Aikpokpo-Martins told the court that he was served with the four processes yesterday evening, adding that he needed time to respond to the processes.

Etuwewe however urged the court to vacate the interim order to enable the NBA-SPIDEL Annual Conference to hold as planned.

Aikpokpo-Martins countered, saying that SPIDEL could not be associated with the conference because it was being organised by non-SPIDEL members who compose the controversial Caretaker Committee.

He argued that the Caretaker Committee had been running SPIDEL bank account, adding that the factional Executive Committee could not condone such travesty.

After fierce arguments which lasted about two hours, the parties agreed to consolidate the notice of preliminary objection and the originating summons. The case was adjourned to 30th July, 2024 for hearing of the substantive originating summons and the preliminary objection.

CITY LAWYER recalls that the factional SPIDEL Executive which was dismissed by the NBA National Executive Council at its meeting in Jos had brought a lawsuit urging the court to annul the controversial NBA-NEC resolution.

The Executive Committee members are also questioning the qualification of the Caretaker Committee members, saying they are not registered members of SPIDEL and that their appointment violates the NBA Constitution.

The plaintiffs had also taken out Form 48 and vowed to commit to prison any person that attempts to proceed with the planned SPIDEL Annual Conference and Elections in violation of the interim court order.

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AFAM OSIGWE ISSUES DISCLAIMER ON ‘FREE LUNCH’

NEWS RELEASE

DISCLAIMER!

It has come to my attention that a notice is circulating on social media offering free lunch to lawyers supporting me in the NBA elections. I would like to clarify that I did not authorize or sponsor such a program, and I am entirely unaware of its origin. Any such offers should be considered unofficial and not affiliated with my campaign in any way.

Please be informed that any promises or offers made in the notice of the program are not binding on me or my campaign team. I appreciate your support and encourage our dear supporters to continually abide by the guidelines for the elections as set out by the ECNBA.

Thank you.

Mazi Afam Josiah Osigwe, SAN

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NBA OWERRI, IMO STATE NBA BRANCHES RALLY SUPPORT FOR CHUKWUKA IKWUAZOM

NEWS RELEASE

NBA Owerri Branch and Other Imo State NBA Branches Rally Support for Chukwuka Ikwuazom, SAN, in NBA Presidential Race

Earlier this month, Friends of Chukwuka Ikwuazom, SAN, in the Owerri Branch and other Imo State NBA branches held a sit-out to honor the leading presidential candidate in the forthcoming NBA election. The event at Chilis Bar & Grills in Owerri drew a large crowd of enthusiastic supporters eager to hear from Mr. Ikwuazom.

Distinguished bar leaders from the Owerri Branch, Orlu Branch, and other NBA branches in Imo State attended the event. Mr. Ikwuazom addressed the crowd, expressing gratitude for their support and sharing his vision for the NBA’s future.

Notable attendees included:
– Emeka Nwagwu, SAN – Host
– F.A. Onuzuluike, SAN
– Chris Ihentuge – Chairman, NBA Owerri Branch
– Willy Opara, Esq
– C.C. Udeze, Esq.
– Sylvia Iwejuo, Esq.
– Uche Osuji, Esq.
– Princess Ngozi Anyanwu
– Prof. N.O. Obiaraeri
– Chuzzy Atama – Former Chairman, NBA Orlu Branch
– Ethelbert Obirora – Vice Chairman, NBA Owerri Branch
– Azubuike Nwankenta, Esq.
– John Uba, Esq. – Chancellor LLM & other LLM members
– Chuks Agbugba
– Charles Okoroafor, Esq.

Mr. Ikwuazom emphasized unity, innovation, and fearless advocacy in his plans to strengthen the NBA and improve working conditions for its lawyers. Chris Ihentuge, Chairman of Owerri Branch, vouched for Mr. Ikwuazom’s competence, integrity, and sincerity as the leader the Bar needs now.

The event fostered meaningful discussions and networking, reinforcing Mr. Ikwuazom’s position as the frontrunner in the election. His supporters remain determined to see him victorious on Saturday, July 20, 2024.

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NBA PRESIDENCY: TONYE KRUKRUBO THROWS WEIGHT BEHIND CHUKWUKA IKWUAZOM

Tonye Krukrubo SAN, one of the partners at ALN Nigeria | Aluko & Oyebode, Endorses Chukwuka Ikwuazom, SAN as NBA President

For over twenty years, I have known Chukwuka Ikwuazom, SAN whom I and others in our Firm fondly call Chuka, professionally. Other than being my partner in our law firm, ALN Nigeria | Aluko & Oyebode, Chuka is also a friend.

Chuka is all about service to the legal profession. He has served and still serves at the branch and national levels of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA). He is currently Chairman of the NBA-SARC, where he has not relented in speaking truth to power.

There is no better candidate to lead the NBA as President of the NBA at this critical time than Chuka. He therefore has my unquestioned endorsement.

His enviable record as Chair of the Lagos Branch (the Premier Bar) of the NBA speaks eloquently of his capacity to lead.

He straddles corporate and litigation practice and, therefore, is eminently placed to understand the peculiar yearnings of legal practitioners in Nigeria. I have worked with him closely as a colleague and have also continued to relate with him personally. As a friend and brother, I can attest to his focus and vision of the Bar. His agenda for a fearless and transformative bar is one that resonates with me and other members of the Nigerian Bar Association.

So I have a simple request to make, Learned Silks and esteemed colleagues; please vote him into office as President of the NBA on July 20, 2024. As for me, he certainly has my vote !!!

Tonye T. J. Krukrubo SAN

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NBA PRESIDENCY: A SHOT IN THE DARK, UNLESS …

BY SHERINA OKOYE

Did you ever hear the incredulous tale about the fine gentleman who won a game of darts in a pitch dark room? Before you stress your memory, I’ll just tell you straight up that you’ve never heard that story, because it’s never happened.

A wise man once said, “Whatever has been, is what will be again.”

All through history, the leadership of any organization, nation, or people group, has always been a significant driver of its progress and emancipation; or otherwise. In ancient China, the end of the Yuan Dynasty and the rise of the Ming Dynasty translated the Chinese from heavy taxation, corruption and unrest to economic and agricultural reforms, reduction in corruption and revival of Chinese culture. In ancient Russia, Peter the Great ascended to the throne in 1682 and brought with him westernization, expansion, education and industry. In Japan, Emperor Meiji ended isolation and stagnation when he took over the reins.

It’s no secret that every two years, since 2015 at least, members of the legal profession in Nigeria troop to the polls (digitally) to elect a new set of executives at the National level in particular. However, more recently, the tussle for NBA Presidency has sadly become akin to the proverbial shot in the dark with learned members of the Trial Bar emerging from different quarters, with varying levels of capabilities, to test their mettle in the hallowed halls of leadership and power of the Association. And the electorates, like the man playing a game of darts in blackout, may well have to take aim and hope to hell that it hits the mark, unless…

The Profession is one of ancient nobility; it strikes pride in the hearts of all whom are privileged to be members and, hopefully, fear in the hearts of anyone on the wrong side of the law. But lately, our beloved profession has been bedeviled by various forms of sad news ranging from lawyers being beaten up or killed in the course of their duties by trigger happy law enforcement agents, to lawyers being shot at, maimed, or kidnapped by unknown gunmen.

Like any organization faced with series of pain-points, survival instinct dictates that the smartest course of action would be to elect a new leader who is no stranger to power, who has the gumption to stand up to powers that be, and who has the moral and personal strength to weather any storm. Common sense demands that an organization such as ours which has recently been bedeviled by series of attacks on members would gravitate towards leadership that is bold, uncompromising, and articulate.

It would have seemed pretty much a tall order, encompassing all these qualities in a single individual; but thankfully, the person of Mazi Afam Osigwe SAN embodies every last one of the above listed attributes and more. He’s the ‘unless’ we’ve all been waiting for with bated breath.

Mazi Afam Osigwe SAN is no stranger to the Bar and does not need any introduction. When Mazi Osigwe SAN was General Secretary of the Bar, I recall sitting in the gallery and watching him field a volley of verbal bullets for the-then unpopular constitutional amendment which sought to end delegate voting. I remember as vividly as if it were yesterday how he intelligently, concisely, and boldly met every question, comment or veiled barb with unassailable logic and unbending alignment to the course of justice. In case you didn’t know, this very election we’re all heading towards was largely made possible by the many efforts of this very man on that day.

I still recall watching him in action during the Nigerian General elections in 2015. In that election, NBA singled herself out as an election observer without equal. For the first time ever, NBA was feeding second-by-second updates to ALL news channels about the elections because being a master strategist, the administration in which Mr Osigwe was GS, had forseen and executed the planting of lawyers as observers in every single Ward and Polling Unit across the nation.

It goes without argument that Mr Osigwe SAN has proved his mettle time and time again; and I make bold to say the Bar would be very safe in his capable hands. One needs only to look at his manifesto to feel at peace about the future of our great association in his capable hands.

The times dictate the urgent need for a leader with a strong moral fibre and unapologetic affiliation for truth and justice; a man who does not buckle under pressure and a man who promotes the well-being of his colleagues above personal interest. The times require a man of capability and capacity whom has been tested and trusted; otherwise, the elections may be like the proverbial shot in the dark. Mazi is that man.

I’ve recently read with amusement some clumsy and half-witted efforts to blacken the character of the very learned silk. Indeed, the African elders were right when they said children only throw stones at trees with fruits. Interestingly, the campaign of calumny has been focused on Mazi and not on the other contestants for the seat of Presidency; which begs the question: what are his attackers so afraid of? Are they afraid of the Bar Mazi hopes to build? One where young lawyers are treated with respect, kindness and consideration? Or are they afraid of the fact that he, unlike many others, is never afraid to call a spade a spade and speak truth to power? Are they afraid of his unapologetic proclivity for truth and justice? Are they afraid that he won’t kowtow and bow when things go wrong and look the other way for fear of goring anyone’s ox? Are they afraid of a Bar that is finally progressive and unified in every sense of the word? Are they afraid of the potentials of a learned gentleman of the inner Bar who treats every colleague, including the shiniest new wig, with unfailing courtesy and respect? Yes, it is the tree with the most promise that attracts stones. All the efforts of naysayers combined, cannot sweep his many achievements under the carpet and whitewash the fact that there really is no better candidate for NBA President if we’re sincerely interested in moving forward as an Association.

With every failed attempt to blackmail an unassailable reputation such as Mr Osigwe’s, the more discerning minds have become even more determined to stand by him. With each weak campaign of calumny against his person, the intelligent minds are left to wonder why he, more than others, threaten the purveyors of fake news and sentiments.

Learned Gentlemen, it is time to flex our electoral muscles by installing into power, a man who was General Secretary, under the Alegeh SAN administration which has till date, been unparalleled in its achievements. Recall that it was during this era the NBA Secretariat was finally completed and occupied, saving the Association lots of inconvenience and costs. It was during this era the Insurance scheme for lawyers finally became a reality. It was this same era that ushered in the regime of the stamps and seals we’re all so proud of, by the way.

Let us exercise our franchise and elect a man not bound by the shackles of cliques and circles. What he has to offer is plain for the world to see. The time is now.

Nigerian Bar Association dide, tashi, bilie.

God bless the Bar.

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NBA PRESIDENCY: EX NBA LAGOS CHAIR YEMI AKANGBE ENDORSES TOBENNA EROJIKWE

NEWS RELEASE

Ex-NBA Lagos Branch Chairman, Lateef Omoyemi Akangbe, SAN Unreservedly Endorses Tobenna Erojikwe for NBA President

In a significant boost to Tobenna Erojikwe’s campaign for the presidency of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Lateef Omoyemi Akangbe, SAN, a past chairman of the NBA Lagos Branch, has issued a powerful endorsement of Tobenna Erojikwe’s candidature.

Akangbe, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and member of the Body of Benchers, expressed his support “with the greatest sense of responsibility to the legal profession and a personal sense of fulfilment,” highlighting the weight of his endorsement.

The endorsement paints a picture of Erojikwe as a transformative leader, with Akangbe stating, “In the last three years or thereabout, the Great Tobe, as I fondly call him, has demonstrated his unwavering dedication to the growth and development of the legal profession in Nigeria in an almost unprecedented manner.” He specifically praised Erojikwe’s work in “resuscitating a hitherto comatose organ of the NBA into what is demonstrably the most visible and impactful organ of the Association,” referring to the NBA Institute of Continuing Legal Education (NBA-ICLE).

Akangbe’s endorsement carries particular significance given his close working relationship with Erojikwe during his tenure as NBA Lagos Branch Chairman from 2019 to 2021. He revealed, “I had the privilege of appointing Tobenna as the Chairman of the Continuing Legal Education Committee of the NBA Lagos Branch, and he distinguished himself in that role.”

Even more tellingly, Akangbe disclosed, “Tobenna was the ‘Chairman of Chairmen’ under my administration, and I unreservedly credit Tobenna for contributing immensely to the success of my administration.” This statement underscores Erojikwe’s leadership capabilities and his ability to drive success across multiple areas of the NBA’s operations.

Akangbe emphasised Erojikwe’s forward-thinking approach, stating, “In an information age where ideas rule the world, and at a time when the legal profession is grappling with contemporary challenges posed by globalisation, artificial intelligence, and all other forms of automated technology, there is no better candidate to steer the affairs of our noble association in the right direction than the forward-thinking Tobenna Erojikwe.”

The endorsement also highlighted Erojikwe’s commitment to inclusivity and young lawyer empowerment, with Akangbe noting, “He has continuously supported inclusivity, diversity, and the empowerment of young lawyers in every position that he has held.”

Akangbe concluded his endorsement with a strong call to action: “I therefore urge all who are genuinely interested in the development of the legal profession in Nigeria, and especially the welfare and progress of our lawyers, to support the candidacy of Tobenna Erojikwe for the office of President of the Nigerian Bar Association.”

As the NBA presidential election approaches, this robust endorsement from a respected past chairman of Erojikwe’s home branch significantly bolsters his campaign. It presents Erojikwe as a candidate with a proven track record of leadership, innovation, and commitment to the development of the legal profession in Nigeria.

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AFAM OSIGWE STORMS NHRC, UNVEILS HUMAN RIGHTS ROADMAP

NEWS RELEASE

Mazi Afam Osigwe, SAN Engages Lawyers at Human Rights Commission, Emphasizes Role of NBA in Safeguarding Human Rights

Frontline candidate for the office of the President, Nigerian Bar Association, Mazi Afam Osigwe, SAN, engaged with lawyers today at the Human Rights Commission, outlining his ambition to become the President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA).

In his speech, he highlighted the significant role that the NBA plays in safeguarding human rights. He emphasized the importance of close collaboration with the Human Rights Commission to ensure that the rights of both lawyers and Nigerian citizens are protected. Afam Osigwe stressed that the NBA serves as the voice of the legal profession and the Nigerian people, advocating for justice and the rule of law.

He also noted that a crucial component of his proactive bar manifesto is the strengthening of the Human Rights Committees within the NBA’s branches. This initiative aims to enhance the NBA’s ability to address human rights issues effectively and to respond to concerns promptly and efficiently.

The learned silk’s engagement today underscores his commitment to advancing the legal profession and ensuring that the NBA remains a steadfast guardian of human rights in Nigeria. His vision for the NBA includes a more robust and responsive human rights framework that supports both legal practitioners and the general public.

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‘I WASTE NO TIME TO ADOPT AFAM OSIGWE AS NBA PRESIDENT’ – EX NBA VP

NEWS RELEASE

A Testimonial of Excellence; Mazi Afam Osigwe, SAN is the leader we need!

I have had the privilege of working alongside MAZI AFAM OSIGWE, SAN during his tenure as General Secretary under the administration of Austin Alegeh, SAN,(the father of modern NBA) where I served as 1st Vice President.

With all sense of truth, I can attest that MAZI AFAM OSIGWE, SAN was the driving force behind our administration’s success.

MAZI AFAM OSIGWE, SAN possesses excellent interpersonal skills, effectively managing both human and material resources.

He is fearless in advocating for the interests of the NBA and its members, unencumbered by personal biases or agendas.

His approachability, affability, and efficiency in delivering results leaves me without doubt that the NBA will be safe in his capable hands.

Based on my personal experience and observation, I wholeheartedly endorse MAZI AFAM OSIGWE, SAN for the presidency of the NBA.

I am convinced that he knows and has what it takes to administer the NBA of our dreams.

I waste no time in adopting MAZI AFAM OSIGWE, SAN for PRESIDENCY of the NBA.

Francis Ekwere
Former 1st Vice President, NBA
2014-2016

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TOBENNA EROJIKWE HAILS NEWLY ELECTED NBA BRANCH CHAIRMEN

NEWS RELEASE

TOBENNA EROJIKWE CONGRATULATES NEWLY ELECTED NBA BRANCH LEADERSHIPS ACROSS NIGERIA

I extend my warmest congratulations to the newly elected chairpersons and executive members of various Nigerian Bar Association Branches across the country. These include but are not limited to, the following chairpersons, listed in no particular order:

  • Leah Dagung Hassan, Jos Branch
  • Anthony Bamidele Ojo, Garki Branch
  • Usman Fari, Kano Branch
  • Abdullahi Shua’ibu Gayam, Lafia Branch
  • Temitope Kolawole, Ikere Ekiti Branch
  • Dr. Taiwo Omidoyin, Ado Ekiti Branch
  • Mrs. Cordelia Eke, Port Harcourt Branch
  • Charles Nsobundu Onuchukwu, Esq., Aba Branch,
  • Idemudia Iredia Osifo, Benin Branch,
  • Chief V. C. Odo, Enugu Branch,
  • Chief Chris Ihentuge, Owerri Branch
  • Zannah Hamza, Maiduguri Branch
  • Josiah Olugbeminiyi Ogunwale, Ota Branch
  • Adeniyi Quadri, Ikeja Branch,
  • Betsy Chidi Nnaji, Idemili Branch amongst others.

Your election to these prestigious positions is a testament to the trust and confidence your colleagues have placed in your leadership abilities. I also extend my congratulations to all the other executive members elected alongside you in your respective branches.

As we all know, the NBA Branches are the foundation of our great association. Your roles at the grassroots level are crucial in shaping the future of our profession and upholding the principles of justice and the rule of law in our society.

As you assume your new roles, I wish you all the very best in your endeavours to strengthen and advance the legal profession in your respective branches. The task ahead is both challenging and rewarding. I have no doubt that with your dedication, expertise, and vision, you will lead your branches to new heights, fostering professional excellence, and serving the interests of our members and the wider community.

May your tenure be marked by significant achievements, innovative initiatives, and positive impact. I look forward to seeing the progress and development you will bring to your Branches and the NBA as a whole.

Once again, congratulations on your well-deserved election. I wish you success, wisdom, and fulfilment in your new roles.

Tobenna Erojikwe
Chairman, NBA-ICLE

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NBA-ICLE DAY-1 ENERGY LAW TRAINING EXCITES DELEGATES

NEWS RELEASE

NBA-ICLE/NCDMB Energy Law Training: Day 1 Concludes with Comprehensive Expert Sessions and Enthusiastic Participant Engagement

The first day of the highly anticipated Energy Law Training, a collaborative effort between the Nigerian Bar Association Institute of Continuing Legal Education (NBA-ICLE) and the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), has drawn to a close in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State. The event, which commenced today, July 1st, saw an impressive turnout of over 500 lawyers from 35 NBA branches, with additional participants joining virtually through the provided Zoom link.

Day 1 of the training delivered a robust and comprehensive overview of critical aspects of energy law, presented by a panel of distinguished experts. The sessions covered a wide spectrum of topics, offering participants deep insights into the intricacies of Nigeria’s evolving energy sector.

Prof. Bayo Adaralegbe set the tone for the day with his session on the “Legal and Regulatory Framework for Upstream Operators in Nigeria.” His presentation meticulously dissected the complex legal landscape governing upstream operations, touching on recent legislative changes and their implications for practitioners. A participant from the NBA Warri Branch noted, “Prof. Adaralegbe’s breakdown of the regulatory framework was eye-opening. It’s given me a new perspective on advising clients in the upstream sector.”

HRH, Sir Barrister David Serena-Dokubo followed with his talk on “Lawyering in Nigeria’s Petroleum Sector.” Drawing from his vast experience, he shared practical insights on navigating the unique challenges of legal practice in this field. His anecdotes and case studies particularly resonated with the audience. A lawyer from the NBA Port Harcourt Branch commented, “Sir Serena-Dokubo’s session was a masterclass in practical energy law application. His real-world examples were invaluable.”

Yemisi Awonuga’s session on “Key Considerations on Oil and Gas Transactions and Conducting a Review of Oil and Gas Contracts” provided a deep dive into the nuances of energy transactions. Her presentation included detailed analyses of contract clauses and potential pitfalls in negotiations. An attendee from the NBA Lagos Branch remarked, “Awonuga’s insights on contract reviews will directly impact how I approach my next energy sector deal. This alone was worth the trip to Yenagoa.”

The afternoon session saw Dayo Okusami explore “Energy Transaction: The Role of Natural Gas.” His presentation highlighted the growing significance of natural gas in Nigeria’s energy landscape, discussing legal considerations surrounding its development, transportation, and utilisation. A participant from the NBA Abuja Branch observed, “Okusami’s session opened my eyes to the vast opportunities in the natural gas subsector. It’s an area I’ll definitely be exploring further in my practice.”

Mr. Okechukwu Okoro concluded the day’s proceedings with his talk on the “Fiscal Regime under the PIA (Petroleum Industry Act)”. His comprehensive breakdown of the financial and regulatory implications of the PIA provided clarity on this complex legislation. A lawyer from the NBA Benin Branch stated, “Okoro’s explanation of the fiscal regime was brilliant. It’s demystified many aspects of the PIA for me.”

Throughout the day, the engagement level remained high, with participants actively participating in Q&A sessions and discussions. The virtual attendees were also fully integrated, with the online platform facilitating their questions and comments.

Tobenna Erojikwe, Chairman of NBA-ICLE, expressed his satisfaction with the day’s proceedings, stating, “The depth and breadth of knowledge shared today exemplify the calibre of expertise we aimed to bring to this training. The enthusiastic participation and insightful questions from attendees, both in-person and virtually, underscore the relevance and timeliness of this initiative.”

As Day 1 concluded, there was a palpable sense of anticipation for the second day of training. Many participants were seen networking and discussing the day’s learnings, highlighting the event’s role not just in education but in fostering professional connections within the energy law community.

The success of this first day underscores the importance of continuous legal education in the rapidly evolving energy sector. It sets a high standard for future initiatives in this field and demonstrates the NBA-ICLE and NCDMB’s commitment to enhancing local legal capacity in Nigeria’s crucial energy sector.

As the event continues, it promises to play a significant role in shaping the future of energy law practice in Nigeria, equipping lawyers with the knowledge and skills needed to navigate the complexities of this dynamic field.

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OVER 500 LAWYERS ARRIVE YENAGOA FOR FREE NBA-ICLE OIL AND GAS TRAINING

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Over 500 Lawyers Arrive in Yenagoa for Landmark NBA-ICLE/NCDMB All-Expenses Paid Oil and Gas Law Training

Tobenna Erojikwe, Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association Institute of Continuing Legal Education (NBA-ICLE), has welcomed more than 500 lawyers from 35 branches of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) to Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, for a groundbreaking training programme on oil and gas law. The two-day event, scheduled for July 1 and 2, is the result of a partnership between NBA-ICLE and the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB).

This all-expenses-paid training programme marks a crucial step in enhancing the expertise of Nigerian lawyers in the energy sector. The initiative, which was first announced in May, aims to equip legal professionals with the knowledge and skills required to advise on transactions and engagements across all facets of the energy industry.

Tobenna Erojikwe had previously emphasised the strategic importance of this training, stating, “The NBA-ICLE has continued to build partnerships with various stakeholders for the purpose of improving the knowledge base of lawyers and adding value to their practices. This is one critical way that bar associations all over the world add value to their members.”

The training, taking place at a venue in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, is being facilitated by experts from the Energy Law and Policy Faculty of the NBA-ICLE. It represents the first in a series of similar programmes under the NCDMB partnership, focusing initially on lawyers based in or practicing in the six states of Nigeria’s South-South zone.

The overwhelming response to this initiative, with over 500 participants from across 35 NBA branches, underscores the high demand for specialised knowledge in the oil and gas sector among Nigerian legal professionals. This turnout significantly exceeds initial expectations, highlighting the programme’s perceived value within the legal community.

As Nigeria continues to play a pivotal role in the global energy market, this training initiative is poised to strengthen the country’s legal capacity in the sector, potentially leading to increased local participation in high-value energy transactions and advisory services.

The success of this inaugural NBA-ICLE/NCDMB event in Yenagoa sets a promising precedent for future training programmes, which are expected to cover lawyers in other zones of Nigeria. As the energy landscape evolves, initiatives like this will be crucial in ensuring that Nigerian lawyers remain at the forefront of legal practice in the oil and gas industry.

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NBA-ICLE, KADUNA BRANCH, MINING LAW EXPERTS FACILITATE TRAINING FOR LAWYERS

NEWS RELEASE

Leading Mining Law Experts Akper and Muritala Facilitate NBA-ICLE/NBA Kaduna Branch Training on Mining Law

The Nigerian Bar Association, Kaduna Branch, in collaboration with the Institute of Continuing Legal Education of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA-ICLE), recently hosted a successful intensive training on mining law and practice. The event, held at the Sir Ahmadu Bello Memorial Foundation in Kaduna, attracted over 300 participants from various NBA branches across the country.

The training featured two renowned experts in the field. Prof. Peter Terkaa Akper, PhD, SAN, OFR, a leading authority on mining law in Nigeria, served as the lead facilitator. Prof. Akper’s presentation delved into the intricacies and current trends in mining law, providing attendees with valuable insights and practical knowledge on critical aspects of mining regulations and legal frameworks in Nigeria.

Complementing Prof. Akper’s session, Olatunji Muritala, a partner at The LawCrest LLP, facilitated a focused discussion on mining contract clauses. Muritala offered participants a comprehensive understanding of essential clauses in mining contracts, complete with detailed explanations and sample clauses demonstrating effective drafting techniques.

The training, organised under the leadership of Tobenna Erojikwe, Chairman of the NBA-ICLE, aimed to address a growing need within the legal profession, particularly in Northern Nigeria. Tobenna Erojikwe explained the rationale behind the training: “We had seen a significant upsurge in commercial mining activities around northern Nigeria, and the companies that undertake these activities require lawyers who understand the industry to advise them, but the capacity to deliver is lacking, thus forcing the clients to seek legal advice elsewhere. This training was done to equip participating lawyers with the necessary knowledge and skills to advise on and handle mining and mining law matters.”

Expressing his gratitude, Tobenna Erojikwe thanked the facilitators and participants, stating, “I am grateful to the facilitators, Prof. Peter Terkaa Akper, PhD, SAN, OFR, and Olatunji Muritala, a partner in my law firm who took time out to conduct this training, the participants who stayed from the beginning to the end of the training, and to the Nigerian Bar Association, Kaduna Branch, ably led by Godwin Ochai, and Law Week Planning Committee Baba Lawal Aliyu, FCIArb (UK).”

Baba Lawal Aliyu, FCIArb, in his closing remarks, thanked the NBA-ICLE for organising the event and expressed appreciation to the facilitators for their well-presented sessions and to the participants for their engagement and dedication.

The training received overwhelmingly positive feedback from participants, with many describing it as “deep, an eye-opener into a new area of the law” and “great training; kudos to ICLE and Tobenna Erojikwe for bringing it to us in Northern Nigeria.”

This successful event underscores the NBA-ICLE’s commitment to providing relevant and high-quality continuing legal education, particularly in emerging areas of practice such as mining law. It also highlights the importance of tailoring such training to meet the specific needs of different regions across Nigeria.

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‘YOUR ELECTION IS INSPIRATION TO WOMEN LAWYERS,’ AFAM OSIGWE TELLS CORDELIA EKE

NEWS RELEASE

YOUR ELECTION IS AN INSPIRATION TO COUNTLESS WOMEN: AFAM OSIGWE, SAN, HAILS MRS. CORDELIA EKE ON HER ELECTION AS THE FIRST FEMALE CHAIRMAN OF NBA PORT HARCOURT

I congratulate Mrs. Cordelia Eke on her historic election as the Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association, Port Harcourt Branch. This milestone is particularly significant as she is the first female to hold this esteemed position, making her achievement not only a personal triumph but also a landmark moment for the entire legal community. I also wish to congratulate all the newly elected officials on their well-deserved victories. Your election to these prestigious roles is a testament to your dedication, hard work, and unwavering commitment to the legal profession.

Mrs. Cordelia’s ascension to the position of Chairman is a reflection of her exceptional leadership, professional acumen, and passion for justice. Her outstanding contributions to the legal community have earned her this significant role, and her vision and dedication will undoubtedly guide the NBA Port Harcourt Branch to new heights. Her leadership marks a new era, inspiring countless women in the legal field and beyond, proving that with determination and perseverance, the highest goals can be achieved.

To the newly elected officials, your election to the executive council is a recognition of your expertise, dedication, and the trust your peers have placed in you. Each of you brings a unique set of skills and perspectives that will be invaluable in steering the branch toward a future of growth and success. Together, as a cohesive and dynamic team, you are well-positioned to tackle the challenges ahead and seize opportunities to advance the interests of the legal community.

Your collective leadership will be crucial in fostering unity among members, advocating for justice, and upholding the rule of law. The responsibilities you now bear are immense, but I have every confidence in your ability to lead with distinction and effect positive change. Your commitment to the values of hard work, integrity, and excellence will inspire many, particularly young lawyers who look up to you as role models.

As you embark on this new chapter, I wish you all the very best in your endeavors. May your tenure be marked by significant milestones, fruitful collaborations, and transformative initiatives that will leave a lasting legacy on the legal landscape of Port Harcourt and beyond. Your success will undoubtedly contribute to the continued advancement and strength of the Nigerian Bar Association.

Warm regards,
Mazi Afam Osigwe, SAN

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TOBENNA EROJIKWE VOWS TO CONVERT NBA HQ TO OFFICES FOR LAWYERS

NEWS RELEASE

NBA Presidential Candidate, Tobenna Erojikwe Pledges to Convert Two Floors of NBA Headquarters into Free Coworking Spaces for Lawyers

In a bold move that could reshape the landscape of legal practice in Nigeria, Tobenna Erojikwe, the leading candidate for the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) presidency, has unveiled plans to transform unutilized space in the NBA Secretariat in Abuja into free, modern workstations for lawyers.

Tobenna Erojikwe’s proposal aims to address a long-standing issue within the legal community: the lack of access to suitable office facilities for many practitioners. “The NBA has two buildings within the FCT, with most of the lettable space remaining unoccupied for several years, yet most lawyers lack access to befitting workstations with serviceable office equipment and facilities,” Erojikwe stated.

The presidential hopeful’s plan involves converting at least two floors within the NBA Secretariat into fully equipped, functional workstations. These facilities would be available at no cost to lawyers from within and outside the jurisdiction, potentially revolutionising how many legal professionals conduct their day-to-day operations.

This initiative could have far-reaching implications for the Nigerian legal community. By providing free access to modern office facilities, the NBA would be directly supporting its members, particularly those in the early stages of their careers or facing financial constraints. This move could level the playing field, allowing more lawyers to compete effectively in an increasingly demanding professional environment.

Moreover, the proposed workstations could foster collaboration and networking among lawyers, creating a vibrant community within the NBA Secretariat. This could lead to knowledge sharing, mentorship opportunities, and potentially new partnerships.

From an economic perspective, the initiative could result in significant cost savings for individual lawyers and small practices. The expenses associated with renting and equipping an office space often represent a substantial financial burden. By eliminating these costs, lawyers could redirect their resources towards other aspects of their practice, such as professional development or expanding their client base.

Erojikwe’s proposal aligns with his campaign slogan, “Leave No Lawyer Behind,” emphasising his commitment to supporting all members of the legal profession, regardless of their financial standing or career stage. “This, for me, is one way that our association can put its resources to good use for the benefit of its members, who deserve such support for their practice,” he explained.

When implemented, this initiative would set a new standard for how professional associations support their members. It demonstrates a proactive approach to utilising available resources for the direct benefit of NBA members, potentially increasing the perceived value of NBA membership.

As the NBA presidential election approaches, Tobenna Erojikwe’s proposal has certainly caught the attention of the legal community. It remains to be seen how this bold plan will influence voters, but it has undoubtedly sparked a conversation about the role of the NBA in supporting its members’ professional needs.

The success of such an initiative would depend on various factors, but when realised, it would mark a significant step towards a more inclusive and supportive environment for legal practitioners in Nigeria.

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AFAM OSIGWE UNVEILS WELFARE AND DEVELOPMENT PLAN

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MAZI AFAM JOSIAH OSIGWE, SAN: COMMITMENT TO ENHANCING MEMBERS’ WELFARE AND DEVELOPMENT

The welfare of members of our dear Association is a crucial part of the Proactive Bar manifesto of Mazi Afam Osigwe, SAN. A vote for Mazi Afam Osigwe, SAN on the 20th of July, 2024, guarantees:

  • The creation of an Endowment Fund for Legal Education.
  • ⁠Ensuring Total Compliance with the Legal Practitioners Remuneration Order, 2023.
  • Ensuring and Enforcing the Protection of the Legal Industry in Nigeria.
  • The establishment of a Human Rights Attorney Support Network that acts as a rapid response team to protect the rights of lawyers when threatened or violated.
  • Setting up structures that will aid the Continuing Professional Development of Lawyers.
  • The Creation of Branch Welfare Fund strictly for the welfare of members.
  • Prioritizing the Needs of Our Colleagues Living with Disabilities and Senior Citizens.
  • Enhancing Inclusivity Within the Court System for colleagues living with disabilities.

To access the Proactive Bar manifesto, visit: www.afamosigwe.bar.

Vote for MAZI AFAM JOSIAH OSIGWE, SAN, as President of the Nigerian Bar Association.

Mazi Afam Osigwe, SAN – Mazi Afam Osigwe

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TOBENNA EROJIKWE X-RAYS FUTURE OF LAW AT NBA KADUNA LAW WEEK

NEWS RELEASE

Paradigm Shift Urged as Tobenna Erojikwe Delivers Compelling Keynote Address on the Future of Law Practice at NBA Kaduna Law Week

In a compelling session, Chairman of the Governing Board of the NBA-ICLE and leading NBA Presidential Candidate, Tobenna Erojikwe, delivered a thought-provoking keynote speech at the Nigerian Bar Association’s (NBA) Kaduna Branch’s Law Week. Speaking on the theme “Rethinking Legal Practice in Today’s World,” Erojikwe challenged the status quo and called for a fundamental reimagining of the legal profession in Nigeria.

The event, which drew attendees from across the state and beyond, provided a platform for critical discourse on the future of legal practice in the country. Erojikwe’s address touched on several key areas, including the need for mindset reorientation, structural reforms, and the impact of globalisation and technology on the profession.

Opening his remarks, Erojikwe congratulated the Kaduna Branch on organising the Law Week, commending their choice of topic as particularly timely. “A change of orientation and attitude is critical to creating the foundations for any new ideology,” he stated, setting the tone for his address. “We must interrogate the current state of play and then seek to redefine our ethos and our world view corporately as a profession and then as individuals.”

The speaker emphasised the significance of the word “rethinking” in the event’s theme, suggesting that it points to a pressing need for a new ideology, philosophy, approach, and orientation within the legal profession. He posed a challenging question to the audience: “Fundamentally, we must consider whether we live up to the standards that we set for ourselves and the expectations of society.”

Erojikwe delved into the core of the legal profession’s identity, reminding attendees of their motto: the promotion of the rule of law. He urged his colleagues to reflect deeply on whether they are still living up to this billing, stating, “It is critical that we reflect on this particular issue because it is at the core of who we are.”

The keynote address outlined four main areas for consideration in the rethinking process: philosophical and ideological perspectives, structural and administrative frameworks, institutional frameworks for career advancement, and the role of individual lawyers.

Erojikwe didn’t shy away from addressing the challenges facing the profession. He painted a sobering picture of the current state of legal practice in Nigeria, highlighting issues such as:

1. The predominance of litigation-based practice
2. The financial struggles faced by many lawyers
3. Challenges posed by globalisation and liberalisation
4. The impact of rapidly advancing technology on legal services

The speaker also touched on concerns regarding judicial appointments and the overall governance of the profession. He posed a poignant question to his colleagues: “For a profession that has been invested in enormously, how have we fared?”

Erojikwe’s call for mindset reorientation resonated strongly with the audience. He argued that this shift in thinking should be the first and most crucial step in rethinking legal practice. “The first and most important rethink, I think, must be a mindset reorientation,” he asserted.

The address was not merely a critique of the current state of affairs but also a rallying cry for positive change. Erojikwe emphasised the need for the legal profession to adapt to the changing global landscape, embrace technology, and find innovative ways to overcome financial challenges.

The NBA Kaduna Law Week has set a new benchmark for professional discourse in the Nigerian legal community. With its thought-provoking theme and Erojikwe’s challenging keynote address, the event has ignited a crucial conversation about the future of legal practice in the country.

As the legal profession in Nigeria stands at this crossroads, the ideas shared at this event may well shape the direction of legal practice for years to come. The call for rethinking and reimagining has been made; now, it falls to the members of the profession to take up this challenge and forge a new path forward.

Erojikwe’s comprehensive address covered various aspects of the legal profession, from its philosophical underpinnings to the practical challenges faced by practitioners. He stressed the importance of a holistic approach to reform, stating, “We will consider the theme of Law Week from a philosophical and ideological perspective because that is at the very base of who we are as a group of people.”

The speaker also highlighted the need for introspection and self-assessment within the profession. He urged his colleagues to critically examine their role and impact, asking, “Have we lived up to the standard that we have set for ourselves as a profession?”

Throughout his address, Erojikwe emphasised the interconnected nature of the challenges facing the legal profession in Nigeria. He argued that addressing these issues would require a coordinated effort, touching on structural, governance, and administrative frameworks as well as institutional frameworks for career advancement and progression.

The Law Week event, with its focus on rethinking legal practice, has sparked a broader conversation within the Nigerian legal community about the future of the profession. As practitioners grapple with the ideas presented by Erojikwe, there is a growing recognition of the need for innovation and adaptation in the face of global changes and technological advancements.

As the event concluded, there was a sense that the Nigerian legal profession stood at a crucial juncture. The challenges outlined by Erojikwe are significant, but so are the opportunities for positive change and growth. The coming months and years will likely see continued debate and discussion as the profession seeks to redefine itself for the modern era.

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GADZAMA WINS THOMAS SANKARA PAN AFRICAN LEADERSHIP PRIZE

NEWS RELEASE

CHIEF JOE-KYARI GADZAMA SAN HONOURED WITH THE THOMAS SANKARA PAN AFRICAN LEADERSHIP PRIZE FOR EXCELLENCE AWARD BY THE YOUTH PARTNERSHIP FOR AFRICA’S DEVELOPMENT (YOUPAD)

The distinguished legal luminary, Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama SAN, is the latest recipient of the Thomas Sankara Leadership Prize for Excellence, an award of commendation reserved for great Africans whose lives exemplify true leadership, excellence and commitment to Pan Africanism.

He was meritoriously honoured with the award on Tuesday, 25th June 2024, by the Youth Partnership for Africa’s Development (YOUPAD), a Pan African Youth League and umbrella body for all students and youth organizations across Africa.

From a pool of Africans, the erudite Learned Silk was selected for this recognition due to his dignified status as a selfless leader and prominent African dedicated to service to God, Humanity and Country which is in line with the Thomas Sankara Ideology.

The conferment of the award which took place in Abuja, Federal Capital Territory, was graced by esteemed individuals, including the Executive Committee members of YOUPAD from Cameroon, Ivory Coast and Rwanda, and the staff of J-K Gadzama LLP.

The President of YOUPAD, Amb. Nwankwo Henry Nkem, who is the second Nigerian to head the Organization after the late former Governor and Minister, Chief Ogbonnaya Onu, in his Keynote Address, lauded the erudite Learned Silk as possessing several unique qualities which are worthy of emulation. He outlined these qualities using the letters of the Learned Silk’s name, thus:
JOE = J – Just , O – Outstanding , E – Exceptional; KYARI = K – Kind , Y – Young At Heart , A – Amiable , R – Reliable , I – Intelligent; GADZAMA = G – Giver , A – Astute , D – Dedicated , Z – Zealous , A – Accountable , M – Magnanimous , A – Articulate.

The Secretary General of YOUPAD, Amb. Paul Kwabena also decorated the Learned Silk with a medal and presented him with commemorative plaques, symbolizing the conferment of the laudable award.

He emphasized that the recognition is a testament to Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama’s hardwork, integrity, transparency and tireless contribution to nation building.

In addition to the plaque and medal, Gadzama, SAN was also presented with a certificate inducting him into the Thomas Sankara Selfless Leadership Hall of Fame. The certificate according to the YOUPAD team will be on display at the Organization’s Hall of Fame Building in Accra, Ghana.

Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama SAN appreciated the leadership of YOUPAD for the recognition and reiterated that he will, as always, remain committed to selfless leadership, nation building, mentorship of the younger generation and promotion of Pan-Africanism.

It was indeed an epoch-making ceremony of conferring honour on a man of honour!

Congratulations, Learned Silk! and more feathers to your cap.

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AFAM OSIGWE CONDEMNS KIDNAP OF BORNO JUDGE, WIFE, OTHERS

NEWS RELEASE

MAZI AFAM JOSIAH OSIGWE, SAN Condemn the Abduction of Justice Haruna Mshelia, his wife, and staff in Borno State

I condemn the heinous abduction of a Judge of the Borno State High Court, Justice Haruna Mshelia, his wife, driver, and orderly by Boko Haram terrorists. This atrocious act occurred along the Biu-Maiduguri road on Monday, June 24, 2024. Justice Mshelia, serving with the Borno State High Court in Maiduguri, was en route with his companions when their vehicle was ambushed by these ruthless perpetrators.

This despicable act of terrorism is not only an assault on the individuals directly involved but also an attack on the very principles of justice, peace, and security that our society upholds. The kidnapping of a respected judicial officer, his loved ones, and support staff underscores the escalating threat posed by terrorist factions and their blatant disregard for human life and the rule of law.

I vehemently condemn this barbaric incident and call upon all relevant security agencies to employ every resource at their disposal to ensure the swift and safe return of Justice Mshelia and all those who were abducted.

The culprits behind this cowardly act must be apprehended and brought to justice, serving as a deterrent to those who seek to instill fear and chaos within the country.

This incident highlights the urgent need for heightened security measures and concerted efforts to combat the menace of terrorism in our country. We urge the government and security forces to intensify their operations against terrorist organizations to restore peace and stability to our nation.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Justice Mshelia, his family, the Borno State Judiciary, and all those affected by this traumatic event.

MAZI AFAM JOSIAH OSIGWE, SAN

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FIDA UYO HOLDS WIDOWS SUMMIT, CANVASSES WOMEN’S RIGHTS

NEWS RELEASE

Widows Summit: Empowering Women through Advocacy and Support

Widows from various LGAs of Akwa Ibom State came together on Tuesday, June 25th, 2024 for the highly anticipated first-ever Widows Summit with the theme for 2024 International Widows Day: ‘Accelerating the Achievement of Gender Equality’, a groundbreaking event aimed at empowering and uplifting women who have lost their spouses.

Hosted by the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), Uyo Branch in collaboration with Golden Initiative For All (GIFA) and Medical Women Association of Nigeria (MWAN ) Akwa Ibom Chapter, the event took place at the prestigious NBA Uyo Secretariat.

In her Welcome Address, the Chairperson, Iquo Abia, Esq. on behalf of FIDA Uyo Branch, celebrated the resilience, strength, and invaluable contributions that widows make to their communities despite facing numerous challenges. She observed that widows often play crucial roles as mentors, caregivers, and providers for their families.

She thanked His Excellency the Governor of Akwa Ibom State for fostering inclusivity, particularly, for building compassionate houses for widows. The Chairperson also extolled Her Excellency, Pastor Mrs. Patience Umo Eno’s magnanimity by empowering over 250 widows.

Worthy of note is the presence and contributions of Rt. Hon. Precious Selong, member representing Urueoffong/ Oruko State Constituency in Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly. She encouraged the widows to participate actively in economic and political endeavours.

The summit provided a platform for widows of all ages and backgrounds to learn about their rights, discover their strengths, and connect with others in similar circumstances.

The summit featured inspirational speakers such as Chief Mag. Helen Umana, Mrs. Ekaette Umoh, Dr. Uduak Ime Usanga and Prof. Emmanuel Umana, interactive workshops and networking opportunities designed to build a sense of community and solidarity among widows. Participants engaged in meaningful discussions on crucial topics, including financial independence, mental health support, and legal rights for widows. Additionally, they enjoyed some indoor games such as ludo, with prizes awarded to the winners.

A noteworthy moment of the summit was a panel discussion showcasing prominent advocates and experts in widows’ rights who shared valuable insights and guidance on navigating the challenges faced by widows in society. The panel sparked essential conversations and presented practical solutions to address the unique needs of widows. MWAN also offered free basic medical check up for the participants.

In conclusion, the Widows Summit was a resounding success, allowing widows to share their experiences, gain knowledge, and support one another. With a renewed sense of empowerment and communal backing, attendees departed the summit feeling inspired and motivated to champion for the protection of their rights and carve out a brighter future for themselves and their families.

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RIGGING CONCERNS, AS NBA PORT HARCOURT VOTES TOMORROW

There are palpable concerns that tomorrow’s high-stakes election of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Port Harcourt Branch may be rigged.

CITY LAWYER investigation shows that some stakeholders are worried that plans may have been perfected to thwart the will of members of the branch.

Meanwhile, the poll is also seen as the first major electoral face-off between the behemoth Integrity Group which has held the branch by the jugular for years and the Progressives, perceived by many  stakeholders as the new-kid-on-block.

CITY LAWYER gathered that it was the choice of the chairmanship candidate for the forthcoming election that split the Integrity Group, especially on the issue of whether to field a non-indigene or otherwise.

Investigations show that while the Integrity Group is backing Madam Felicia Nwoke, the Progressives are backing Mrs. Cordelia Eke. The tripodal fight is completed by returnee candidate, Mr. Geoffrey Joseph. He is one of those who expressed concerns on possible rigging of the election.

Another key stakeholder who shares his fears is Mr. Sylvester Adaka, a former chairman of the branch (2018-2020). However, Mr. Temple Waamah, the Leader of the Integrity Group, told CITY LAWYER that such fears are misplaced.

Asked whether he has any concerns regarding the election, Joseph said: “Definitely yes! We ask for a most transparent election, especially to guard against double or roundtripping voting.”

Asked to elaborate on this, he said that it is when “A member takes the NBA ID card of an absent member and votes on his or her behalf. They (Electoral Committee) must guard against that.” 

He however said that he would “keep an open mind” on the election, adding that “For the Electoral (Committee) Chairman, he is a man of impeccable character.”

Towing a similar line, Adaka said that “there are concerns that enemies of the branch are determined to thwart the will of the members.”

He however urged the branch members “not to allow themselves to be used to achieve this unwholesome goal,” adding that “the unity and progress of this branch depends on this election more than any other time in our history.”

He warned that some stakeholders are bent on using the instrumentality of the Electoral Committee to thwart the election, even as he also vouched for the chairman and secretary of the Branch Electoral Committee, describing them as “fine gentlemen.” 

Adaka raised issues relating to manipulation of the branch attendance register, adding that future elections must see to the establishment of the Electoral Committee long before the election while giving more oversight to members on issues relating to the attendance register among others.

Saying that he would not  want to dabble into the face-off between the Integrity Group and the Progressives, Adaka stated that “We the members know who is the best for the branch. We know among the three chairmanship candidates the person who has the best pedigree. Clearly, my support is for Mrs. Eke. She has the best pedigree, the best antecedents, you name it!

On his part, another Bar Leader, Pastor Chigozirim Nwaodu indicated that the leadership of the Integrity Group may have taken its members for a ride, saying that it has a “sense of entitlement. They believe that the followers must swallow whatever they give to them, notwithstanding the quality of the product. That is about to change! We are taking power back to where it actually belongs – with members of Port Harcourt Branch.”

But Waamah waved away the concerns of other stakeholders, saying that there was opportunity for objections on the attendance register and that the Electoral Committee is reviewing the objections.

He also dismissed the growing view that the election is the first major popularity test for the Integrity Group, saying: “We are going to the poll tomorrow. Port Harcourt is a place where people know the truth; the truth will speak tomorrow. There is nothing like a new group. There was a break-away faction.”

He traced the face-off with the Progressives to the search for a chairmanship candidate, adding that it revolved around whether to field a non-indigene or otherwise. “We chose Adaka as a non-indigene but he is now leading the opposition. Now that there is no South East candidate, they are backing a candidate from the Ministry of Justice.”

Waamah also dismissed insinuations that the group’s candidate is “too old,” saying that while the new group is free to field any candidate of their choice, “the Bar will speak tomorrow. We are a pressure group. We are ready to go to the poll. The election will be hitch-free; we do not entertain violence in our branch.”

Aligning with Waamah, another key member of the Integrity Group and a candidate for the position of NBA First Vice President in the forthcoming national election, Mr. Reginald Ugwuadu told CITY LAWYER that “NBA politics is localized and the outcome is not expected to be different. All the candidates have done beautifully well on the campaign trail and we look forward to a peaceful transition.

“The chairman of the Eleco and his members have been firm and consistent in upholding the provisions of our Uniform bye laws and I am sure they will deliver on their mandate. My advice is for them to keep up the good work and apply sanctions, where necessary, no matter whose ox is gored.

“There is no group as Progressive. What you have are Integrity Group persons masquerading as new found Messiahs. I bet you, after the elections, the group will disintegrate, because these are all strange bedfellows.”

Other candidates for the election are Ezechimenum Adums, Chijioke Amadi, Modupe Babalola, Elijah Briggs, Kelechi Chinule, Mary Samuel and Cordelia Eke. Others are Cleopas Esu, Atonye Ezekiel-Hart, Francis Ibekwe-Allagoa, Emmanuel John, Geoffrey Joseph, Nnenda Kejeh, Felicia Nwoke, Obumneme Nwoye and David Onyema.

While Amadi and John are to slug it out for the position of Vice Chairman, Briggs and Nwoye will duel for the influential position of Branch Secretary.

The race for Assistant Secretary is between Esu and Ibekwe-Allagoa while Babalola and Ezekiel-Hart will battle for the position of Financial Secretary.

Candidates who are going into the election as unopposed include Chinule (Publicity Secretary), Onyema (Welfare Secretary), Kejeh (Treasurer), Mary Dikibo (Social Secretary) and Adums (Provost).

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‘HOW AFAM OSIGWE WILL TRANSFORM NBA, WITH FOCUS ON YOUNG LAWYERS’

NEWS RELEASE

Afam Osigwe has a vision for the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) that promises to revolutionize its structure and operations. Here’s how he plans to bring about transformative change:

Co-Working Spaces for Young Lawyers

One of Afam Osigwe’s key initiatives is to establish co-working spaces for young lawyers. Recognizing the financial and logistical challenges faced by newly qualified lawyers, Osigwe plans to create affordable, collaborative workspaces equipped with essential resources. These co-working spaces will provide young lawyers with access to legal libraries, high-speed internet, meeting rooms, and office equipment, fostering an environment conducive to professional growth and networking. By alleviating the overhead costs of setting up a private practice, this initiative aims to empower young lawyers to thrive independently and confidently.

Regionalization of the Governing Structure of CLE

Continuing Legal Education (CLE) is crucial for maintaining the professional competence of lawyers. Afam Osigwe proposes to regionalize the governing structure of CLE to ensure more effective and localized administration. This approach will allow for the tailoring of CLE programs to meet the specific needs and legal landscapes of different regions. By decentralizing the management of CLE, Osigwe envisions a more responsive and adaptable system that can promptly address regional legal developments and trends, ultimately enhancing the quality of legal practice across Nigeria.

Creation of an NBA-CLE Platform

In tandem with regionalization, Afam Osigwe aims to create a comprehensive NBA-CLE platform. This digital platform will serve as a central hub for all CLE activities, providing easy access to course materials, registration, and certification. Lawyers will be able to track their CLE credits, participate in online courses, and stay informed about upcoming seminars and workshops. The NBA-CLE platform will leverage technology to streamline the CLE process, making it more accessible and user-friendly for all members of the NBA.

NBA Human Capacity Development Policies

Afam Osigwe is committed to enhancing the human capacity of the NBA through robust development policies. These policies will focus on continuous professional development, mentorship programs, and leadership training. By investing in the professional growth of its members, the NBA will build a more competent and dynamic legal community. Osigwe’s vision includes partnerships with international legal bodies and institutions to provide Nigerian lawyers with exposure to global best practices and emerging legal trends, ensuring they remain competitive in the global arena.

Branch and Legal Education Fund

To support the initiatives outlined above, Afam Osigwe plans to establish a Branch and Legal Education Fund. This fund will be dedicated to financing the activities of NBA branches and supporting legal education programs. By providing financial assistance, the fund will ensure that branches have the resources needed to implement local projects, conduct training sessions, and support their members effectively. Additionally, it will subsidize legal education for lawyers, making advanced training and specialization more accessible.

Conclusion

Afam Osigwe’s plans for the NBA represent a comprehensive strategy to modernize and strengthen the association. Through innovative initiatives such as co-working spaces, regionalized CLE, a centralized NBA-CLE platform, human capacity development policies, and a dedicated education fund, Osigwe aims to create a more supportive, efficient, and forward-thinking NBA that will serve the needs of its members and the broader legal community. His vision promises to transform the NBA into a beacon of excellence in the legal profession.

YLG FOR AFAM JOSIAH OSIGWE, SAN.
VOTE AFAM OSIGWE FOR PRESIDENT

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NBA VP CANDIDATE SABASTINE ANYIA HAILS CALABAR BRANCH ON LAW WEEK

NEWS RELEASE

GOODWILL MESSAGE TO NBA CALABAR BRANCH, THE (DOYEN BAR) BY SABASTINE ANYIA, CANDIDATE FOR THE OFFICE OF NBA FIRST VICE PRESIDENT

It is with great excitement that Sabastine Anyia, the candidate for the office of First Vice President congratulates the Chairman and good people of NBA, CALABAR BRANCH, for their well thought out Law Week. I also welcome Distinguished Senior Advocates, Benchers, elders at the Bar, learned friends and colleagues to the beautiful city of Calabar, the people’s paradise for this year’s Law Week.

NBA CALABAR BRANCH is known for her astuteness and discipline. A no-nonsense branch, a stickler to the rules. NBA CALABAR Branch is a good example to other branches. We are proud of what you have accomplished as a branch. You are truly a doyen in our association. Keep the fire burning.

I’m extremely excited that the organizing committee of the branch Law Week took our peculiarities into consideration in planning this year’s Law Week, as can be seen in the theme of the Law Week: “ACCESS TO JUSTICE WITHIN THE NIGERIAN FISCAL SPACE.” This well organized Law Week program and the invited legal Giants who are lined up to deliver talks herein speak volumes of NBA, CALABAR BRANCH.

I’m convinced that the gathering of these legal GIANTS at this Law Week shall guide us and give us the direction to pilot the affairs of this great country in a manner that will make us truly the giant of Africa.

I wish us all safe travels as we journey to attend NBA CALABAR Branch Law Week even as I wish all delegates a rewarding outing.

Sabastine Anyia
Former Chairman NBA Aguata and former Chairman of Chairmen and Secretaries of the 8 branches of NBA in Anambra State

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‘MY CONTRACT WITH NBA PORT HARCOURT MEMBERS,’ BY CORDELIA EKE

A leading chairmanship candidate in tomorrow’s Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Port Harcourt Branch Elections,  Mrs. Cordelia Eke has outlined her key deliverables if elected as Chairman of the influential branch.

In a 10-point Agenda obtained by CITY LAWYER, the consummate ‘Bar-man’ and cerebral text writer highlighted “continued mentorship of young lawyers and welfarist programs” as well as promotion of a level-playing field among all members and blocs within the branch as some of her major focus.

Below is the full text of the 10-Point Agenda:

  • 1. Continued mentorship of young lawyers and welfarist programmes
  • 2. To provide economic empowerment for members by strengthening the Branch Cooperative.
  • 3. To provide a level-playing field in branch affairs for ALL members irrespective of tribe, tongue, place of work, or affiliation.
  • 4. To encourage activities that promote good health and well-being of members
  • 5. To address issues militating against law practice through stakeholder engagement and recourse to expert advice.
  • 6. To institute an effective and sustainable welfare scheme for members.
  • 7. Financial Accountability and Transparency
  • 8. Periodic stakeholder engagement and collaborations in the interest of the Bar.
  • 9. Gender balance in Committee appointments.
  • 10. To restore the age-old traditions of the Bar.

CITY LAWYER recalls that NBA Port Harcourt Branch recently honoured Eke with an “Award of dedicated service” in recognition of her “dedicated service to the branch at the National level.”

Eke has held several sensitive positions at both branch and national levels including Secretary of the Electoral Committee of the NBA (ECNBA) and also Secretary of the NBA Electoral Reform Committee (NBAERC).

A pioneer female Secretary of the branch, she is on course to also emerge as the pioneer female Chairman of the mega branch. 

Currently a Director in the Rivers State Ministry of Justice where she holds sway as a no-nonsense criminal trial prosecutor, Eke has been actively engaged in mediation, civil and criminal litigation at the high court, Appeal court, and the Supreme court for over 20 years.

She is also the President of the influential 1995 Law School Class. A Rivers State Representative in the Eastern Zone Management Committee of the NBA Section on Business Law (NBA-SBL), Eke holds a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) Degree from the Rivers State University of Science and Technology (now Rivers State University), Port Harcourt, and a Master of Laws (LLM) in Public International Law, from the University of Kent, Canterbury in the United Kingdom. 

More recently, the respected Bar Leader was named among Africa’s Top 100 Female Lawyers during the unveiling of this year’s “Courtroom Mail 100 Women 2024.”

A citation by the organisers noted that Eke is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators ICMC Nigeria, a Fellow of the Institute of Management Consultants, and an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, Nigeria. She specializes in Criminal Law and Alternative Dispute Resolution.

Eke has held several leadership positions in the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), African Bar Association (AFBA), African Women Lawyers Association (AWLA) Nigeria, International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) Nigeria and the Law Officers Association of Nigeria (LOAN) at state and national levels, including being Council Member of the NBA Human Rights Institute and the National Executive Committee. She is presently a member of the NBA National Remuneration Committee.

The popular Bar Leader is acclaimed as an ace prosecutor and has also held down several roles at the Ministry of justice, including, being the Team Lead, Committee on Drafting of Prosecution Manual and Code of Conduct for Prosecutors and Team Lead, Attorney-General’s Special Committee which treated abandoned case files of over 350 awaiting trial inmates in the Federal prisons in Rivers State.

Her expertise in criminal law practice made her a much-sought-after Speaker, Trainer, and Resource person on legal and other subjects. She has presented papers to members of the Bench and the Bar among others at various seminars, workshops and conferences including the NBA Annual General Conferences and NBA Continuing Legal Education (NBA-CLE) programmes among others.

Reputed as a cerebral lawyer, Eke is the author of the fast-selling book, CRIMINAL JUSTICE IN NIGERIA: A PRACTICAL GUIDE. She has also published articles and edited legal works and newsletters.

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‘I ENDORSE CORDELIA EKE FOR A MORE PROGRESSIVE BAR’ – OKEY OHAGBA

The chances of Mrs. Cordelia Eke, a leading chairmanship candidate in tomorrow’s high-stakes Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Port Harcourt Branch Elections, brightened further with her endorsement today by prominent Bar Leader and former NBA National Officer, Mr. Okey Ohagba.

In a statement obtained by CITY LAWYER, Ohagba, who was NBA First Assistant General Secretary between 2016 and 2018, described Eke as “a square peg in a square hole.” 

He vowed that Eke, who is reputed as a ferocious criminal litigator, “is our best foot forward for a more progressive and all inclusive NBA Port Harcourt Branch.”

Leaving no-one in doubt as to his preferences, Ohagba wrote: “I hereby endorse her for the office of Chairman, NBA Port Harcourt Branch.”

The full text of his statement reads:

“Mrs. Cordelia Eke is a square peg in a square hole. She is our best foot forward for a more progressive and all inclusive NBA Port Harcourt Branch.

“Her proven capacity and competence is unequalled!

“I hereby endorse her for the office of Chairman, NBA Port Harcourt Branch.

“Take a CUE!”

OKEY LEO OHAGBA
PAST NBA NATIONAL OFFICER

#AllinclusivePhBar
#Competenceiskey
#Bestfootforward

Mrs. Eke has held several sensitive and high-profile positions within the NBA aside from being a ranking Director at the Rivers State Ministry of Justice.

A cerebral text writer and Bar Leader, Mrs. Eke was a member of the NBA Technical Committee on Conference Planning (TCCP) in 2018 and Secretary of the NBA Electoral Reform Committee between 2022 and 2023.

Earlier in 2020, she was appointed into the highly sensitive position of Secretary of the Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (ECNBA), having held sway as Council Member of the NBA Human Rights Institute (NBA-HRI) between 2017 and 2018. She has also been in the forefront of advocacy for women and children’s rights under the aegis of International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), and recently hosted some widows and the Rivers State Deputy Governor, Prof. Ngozi Mma Ordu, during the FIDA programme in celebration of the International Widows’ Day.

She was a pioneer female Secretary of NBA Port Harcourt Branch between 2016 and 2018 and is currently a member of the NBA Remuneration Committee which is designed to proffer better employment and fees for lawyers.

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CORDELIA EKE SERENADES WIDOWS, RIVERS DEP. GOV AT FIDA WORLD EVENT

NEWS RELEASE

The Bar Amazon and award-winning chairmanship candidate in forthcoming Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Port Harcourt Branch Elections, Cordelia Eke, has once more demonstrated her cutting-edge leadership and organizational skills as she successfully planned and hosted the FIDA Rivers International Widow’s Day celebration 2024.

The highly successful event was graced by the Deputy Governor of Rivers State, Her Excellency Prof. Ngozi Mma Ordu, DSSRS and the former Attorney-General and SSG of Rivers-State, Dame Aleruchi Cookey-Gam among other dignitaries. The Solicitor-General of Rivers State, Mrs. Ibiwari Clapton-Ogolo gave the Keynote Address.

The event was filled with insightful paper presentations on health and home farming. Over 30 widows wo attended the event went home with free BP and malaria medication, cash gifts, and wrappers.

While presenting the widows to the Deputy Governor, popular Bar Leader Cordelia Eke stated that the event was not to celebrate widowhood but to honour the women for their resilience in the face of challenges that come with widowhood.

The Deputy Governor charged the widows not engage in self-pity but to do their best to help themselves. She assured them of the care and concern of the state for their welfare.

The Chairperson of FIDA Rivers State, Adata Bio-Bio-Briggs expressed the gratitude of FIDA Nigeria, Rivers State to the dignitaries. Also honoured at the event were Chief (Dr.) Mrs. O. B. Lulu-Briggs and Dame Aleruchi Cookey-Gam.

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‘NO LAWYER WILL BE BRUTALIZED UNDER MY WATCH,’ VOWS AFAM OSIGWE

NEWS RELEASE

NO LAWYER WILL BE UNJUSTLY BRUTALISED UNDER MY WATCH AS NBA PRESIDENT; AFAM OSIGWE, DECLARES AT THE INTERACTIVE SESSION WITH LAWYERS IN KOGI

In an insightful interactive session held yesterday, Afam Osigwe, SAN, a leading presidential candidate in the forthcoming Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) election, engaged with lawyers from all branches of the Nigerian Bar Association in Kogi State. This meeting was part of his ongoing campaign to connect directly with legal professionals across Nigeria and to outline his vision for a more proactive and forward-thinking NBA.

During the session, Afam Osigwe assured the attendees of his unwavering commitment to building a proactive bar. He emphasized the importance of anticipating challenges, embracing opportunities, and fostering an environment of continuous improvement and innovation within the NBA. His vision is to create a robust association that not only responds to issues as they arise but also foresees and addresses potential challenges proactively.

Afam Osigwe stressed the need for the NBA to be ahead of potential issues. By foreseeing challenges, the NBA can better support its members and maintain the integrity of the legal profession in Nigeria.

He also highlighted the importance of adaptability and openness to new opportunities, especially given the rapidly changing landscape of legal practice. Leveraging technology and innovative practices, he argued, can significantly enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of legal services.

Afam Osigwe also advocated for a culture of continuous learning and development within the NBA. He proposed initiatives to ensure ongoing professional development, providing lawyers with access to the latest knowledge and skills necessary for excellence in their practice.

Innovation, according to the Learned Silk, is essential for progress within the legal field. He suggested creating platforms and resources that encourage creative problem-solving and the adoption of advanced legal technologies.

A particularly significant point in his address was his firm stance on protecting lawyers’ rights. Afam Osigwe empathized with the concerns of many legal practitioners and assured them that under his leadership, no lawyer would be unjustly brutalized for any reason. He pledged to stand firmly against any form of injustice towards lawyers, reinforcing the need for the NBA to be a strong advocate for its members’ rights and welfare.

The lawyers present responded positively to Afam Osigwe’s vision, engaging in a lively discussion and sharing their own experiences and concerns. They appreciated his proactive approach and his dedication to addressing the needs of legal practitioners at all levels.

In his closing remarks, Afam Osigwe reaffirmed his dedication to building a robust and responsive NBA that genuinely represents and serves the interests of its members. He expressed his gratitude to the Kogi State lawyers for their warm reception and invaluable feedback, promising to incorporate their insights into his campaign and plans for the NBA.

The session in Kogi State marks another significant milestone in Osigwe’s campaign, as he continues to garner support and build momentum across Nigeria. His commitment to a proactive, innovative, and protective NBA resonates strongly with legal professionals, setting a promising tone for the upcoming election.

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NBA VP CANDIDATE, SABASTINE ANYIA SALUTES BENIN BRANCH ON LAW WEEK

SABASTINE ANYIA, THE CANDIDATE FOR FIRST VICE PRESIDENT SALUTES THE CHAIRMAN AND GOOD PEOPLE OF BENIN BRANCH OVER THEIR LAW WEEK.

It’s with profound joy and excitement that Sabastine Anyia, the candidate for the office of First Vice President, congratulates the Chairman and good people of NBA Benin Branch for their well-thought-out Law Week. I also welcome distinguished Senior Advocates, Benchers, Elders at the Bar, learned friends and colleagues to Benin, the Big Heart of the nation.

NBA Benin Branch is one of the leading branches in our noble association and has demonstrated that she is a true leader by the way she organizes the affairs of NBA in her branch. One can say without fear of contradiction that NBA Benin Branch is truly a great Bar/branch.

I’m glad that the Organizing Committee of the Branch Law Week took the state of the nation into consideration in planning this year’s Law Week as can be seen in the theme of the Law Week: LAW AS A TOOL FOR ECONOMIC ADVANCEMENT AND NATIONAL SECURITY. This wonderful and well-packaged Law Week programme and the legal Giants who are to deliver talks during the week speak volumes of NBA BENIN BRANCH.

I am convinced that the gathering of these legal GIANTS during the Law Week will guide us and give us the direction to pilot the affairs of this great country in a manner that will make us truly the Giant of Africa.

I wish us all safe travels as we journey to attend NBA Benin Branch Law Week. I wish NBA Benin Branch a rewarding outing.

Sabastine Anyia
Former Chairman, NBA Aguata Branch and former Chairman of Chairmen and Secretaries of the 8 branches of NBA in Anambra State.

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FIDA, CORDELIA EKE TO HOST INT’L WIDOWS’ DAY TODAY

INTERNATIONAL WIDOWS DAY COMMITTEE CALLING!

The Widows Day Committee hereby invites you all to the IWD event on Monday, June 24th, 2024 , by 12 noon prompt.

We are happy to inform you that Her Excellency, the Deputy Governor of Rivers State, has confirmed her attendance at the event💃💃

We are also expecting other distinguished personalities. The Solicitor-General of Rivers State will give the Keynote Address. Former Attorney-General and Secretary to the Rivets State Government, Dame Aleruchi Cookey-Gam will chair the event.

Note that among activities for the day will be Medical Checks for widows, a Health Talk and a training on domestic food gardening, which will be beneficial to ALL guests. There would also be a talk on the legal rights of widows.

There will also be economic empowerment of widows and gift items for them. The committee has also decided to empower some female lawyers who are widows on that day.

Medical checks for widows will hold from 10-12 noon. The main event commences at 12 noon.

Cordelia Uwuma Eke
Chairperson, IWD Committee

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‘CORDELIA EKE IS A MENTOR LIKE NO OTHER,’ SAYS BIBI UGO

THE CORDELIA WE KNOW!

In 2015, at the NBA Annual General Conference in Abuja, I had registered to be a member of African Women Lawyers Association, an act that would change the trajectory of my legal career. In 2016, I met the beautiful CORDELIA EKE whilst planning the inauguration of the Rivers Branch of AWLA, and she immediately took on the role of being my Mentor, Friend and Big Sister!

As Secretary of the NBA PH Branch, She nominated me for the ICMC training sponsored by the Branch, that singular act began my journey as an ADR SPECIALIST. She saw my interest in mediation and encouraged me by introducing me to the relevant persons nationally and assigned matters to me to enhance my skills.

She also made sure I took the Fellowship and Training of Trainers course of ICMC as her coursemate, an act that is rare amongst senior lawyers these days.

Today I stand as an Internationally certified Mediator, I have mediated with world leaders in several continents, facilitated training of countless mediators, and held several Leadership positions in ICMC because CUE saw in me what I didn’t see in myself.

She will no doubt lead the Bar to a greater height.

Bibi Obinichi Ugo F.ICMC
CEDR UK Accredited Mediator and IMI certified Mediator
Head, Mediation and Training Practice.
Serenity Legal Union and Partners

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BIZARRE: NBA APPEAL C’TE BARS CANDIDATE ON WITHDRAWN PETITION

There are concerns within legal circles as the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Branch Elections Appeal Committee (East) have barred a chairmanship candidate from tomorrow’s election at NBA Aba Branch over a withdrawn petition.

Documents obtained by CITY LAWYER show that though the Appeal Committee conceded that the petition against the candidacy of Mr. Chinonye Onwere, a chairmanship candidate who was cleared by the Branch Electoral Committee, was withdrawn, the committee went ahead to decide the petition.

Onwere is the Secretary of the ‘Representatives of the NBA to the General Council of the Bar’ which is at loggerheads with NBA President Yakubu Maikyau SAN following their representation of the association at the council.

Wrote the committee: Our Committee is now saddled with hearing and determining the petitions and complaints
brought before us from various Branches this year, 2024, including four petitions from NBA, Aba Branch plus one (+1). The “plus one (+1) is used advisedly by us because the Appeal was purportedly withdrawn albeit under “duress”.

Describing the petition as “tricky,” the committee wrote: This case is tricky as the appellant by a letter dated 24 /05/24 purports to withdraw the appeal citing his “deference” to representations made to him by senior members of the branch. The “appeal” raises some grave issues that cannot be glossed over, particularly for the very important office of a Branch Chairman.

The substance of the Appeal is that Chinonye Onwere, Esq “is not qualified to stand election as one of his Nominator, E. E. Agwulonu, Esq. who has held two elective offices within the last five 5 years is not qualified to stand election for the same office and as such not eligible to nominate any body for any elective office of the branch”. “furthermore, the said Victor Chinonye Onwere, Esq. is equally not qualified to contest the said election having held two elective positions which he is still holding one presently. He was elected the Vice Chairman of NBA Aba branch in 2020 to 2022 and was equally elected as a member of the General Council of the Bar which election took place in July 2022 and which office he is still occupying till date to expire in July 2024.

Unlike in the other decisions where the committee dissected the issues and provided copious findings, the committee merely wrote: The Committee considered the backdrop of this ” appeal ” and even though the “appellant” has sheated (sic) his sword to allow peace to reign in the Branch and has purported to have withdrawn his appeal, our Committee cannot give our blessing to the qualification of a member that is not qualified especially where the said disqualification stems from violation of Uniform Bye-Law for Branches as contained in the Constitution of NBA 2015 as amended in 2021. We therefore hereby direct the Election Committee to remove the name of the said Victor Chinonye Onwere, Esq. in the list of aspirants for the forthcoming election of the Branch and for the position of Chairman of the Branch.

CITY LAWYER had in a report noted the controversy trailing the appointment of Mr. Dennis Okwakpam as the Alternate Chairman of the committee, as some stakeholders alleged that Okwakpam is a Leader of the influential Integrity Group which is openly backing some candidates in the June 27 NBA Port Harcourt Election.

Contesting his disqualification in a letter to the Appeal Committee, Onwere wrote:

My name is Victor Chinonye Onweremadu. I am a legal practitioner based in Aba.

On the 3rd day of April, 2024 at 3.52pm l submitted my nomination form to the Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association, Aba branch, for the post of the chairman of the NBA, Aba branch.

On the 9th day of May, 2024 the Electoral Committee by a notice, dated the 7th day of May, 2024 posted on the official platform of the NBA, Aba branch notified me and several others that I had been cleared as a candidate in accordance with my nomination.

It must be placed on record that there was no petition against my candidacy before the Electoral Committee.

Following my clearance to contest as chairman, my campaign team articulated a manifesto that captured the hearts and souls of the majority of the members of the NBA, Aba branch.

On the 29th day of May 2024, the Electoral Committee lifted the ban on campaigns.

In accordance with the best form of political campaigns, we started canvassing for votes. We did so well to the effect that it became clear that I was coasting home to victory.

However, what I did not know was that some persons were determined by hook or crook to abort my emergence as the lawfully elected chairman of NBA, Aba branch.

On Tuesday, the 18th day of June 2024, during an extraordinary general meeting of the NBA, Aba branch, the chairman of NBA, Aba branch, I. O. Egwu paused the proceedings and announced that he received communications from the NBA Branch Election Appeal Committee (East) and that it was important to read out the communications.

The Chairman then announced that the said Appeal Committee decided that I wasn’t qualified to contest the election based on an Appeal/Petition against me. I was stunned and I left the meeting immediately.

Then, hours later, I read the report of the Appeal Committee, and therein it was stated that there was an appeal against my clearance to contest the election.

It is tragic that the Appeal Committee did not serve me with any petition/complaint against my candidacy and did not afford me any opportunity to be heard.

Also, the Electoral Committee of the NBA Aba branch did not know that there was an appeal against its decision.

Furthermore, the Appeal Committee acknowledged in its report that the appeal/ petition against me was withdrawn by the Appellant. There are several other manifest absurdities.

After a consideration of the manifest fundamental affront on my right to be heard, my campaign team and I, in obedience to our conscience and abiding faith in the inevitability of the triumph of good over evil, decided to mount a robust challenge to the decision of the Appeal Committee. That process is in full gear, and we thank all the highly respected lawyers across Nigeria who have expressed revulsion against the decision of the Appeal Committee. We shall not let you down.

On this note, I respectfully, call on the body of lawyers to join us to ensure that the decision of the Appeal is upended as one that has no place among the civilzed (sic) and well-meaning members of the Nigerian Bar Association. I urge us to stand up for truth, fair play, and respect for the rule of law.

Long live Nigerian Bar Association.
Long live NBA, Aba branch.
God bless the Nigerian Bar Association.

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DSS: CHUKWUKA IKWUAZOM HAILS MAIKYAU ON AWOKE’S RELEASE

NEWS RELEASE

Distinguished Colleagues,

On 13 June 2024, I provided an update on the steps that the NBA-SARC had taken since receiving information regarding the arrest and detention of our colleague Pius Awoke, Esq. This included a meeting that was held in Abuja on 13 June 2024 between the NBA-SARC and the Director of Legal of the DSS.

I also reported that the NBA President had assured the NBA-SARC that he was working behind the scenes to secure the release of Pius Awoke, Esq.

At the meeting of the National Executive Council of the NBA which held in Abuja on Thursday, 20 June 2024, I informed the members of NEC, while presenting the report of the NBA-SARC, of the steps that the NBA-SARC was taking and the efforts the NBA President was making to secure the release of our colleague.

The NBA President also informed the NEC that his engagement with the relevant authorities had reached an advanced stage and that Pius Awoke, Esq. would be released at any moment.

I am delighted that the NBA President has secured the release of our colleague and Mr. Oyinba Emmanuel Chinonso, who also has been held with Mr. Awoke since 2021.

I thank Mr. President for his efforts. I also thank all the members of the NBA-SARC, especially the Director of Legal of the DSS, Mr. Usman Neva Dauda for all their efforts.

The NBA-SARC will continue to discharge its mandate of intervening to ensure that lawyers and indeed all Nigerians carry out their businesses in a safe environment devoid of harassment, intimidation and assault by security agencies.

The NBA-SARC will reach out to our colleague in the coming days (we want to allow him some family time given his ordeal) to get the full picture of his travails and what led to it. We will issue a further update thereafter.

Chukwuka Ikwuazom SAN
Chairman, NBA-SARC.

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‘THE CAP FITS CORDELIA EKE AS NBA PORT HARCOURT CHAIRMAN’ – PASTOR NWAODU

IS CORDELIA EKE THE SQUARE PEG IN A SQUARE HOLE FOR NBA CHAIR?

Just a few days ago, some persons emerged as winners of NBA Awards and recognitions given to members who have served the Judiciary, Bar and the general public with some distinction.

In arriving at the awardees for service to the Bar, no nominee was asked to bring CVs or other resumes. It was bare facts about the work ethic and service that counted. The recognition from this kind of unbiased election cannot be more self-fulfilling. The awardees are presumed to be round pegs in round holes. That is now a remarkable history.

I am not an NBA politician, stricto sensu, but I observe happenings in NBA politics. My non-partisan assessment is that for the comprehensive upliftment and welfare of the NBA PH Branch, MRS. CORDELIA EKE is the square peg in a square hole we need now if we must tell ourselves the unpolluted & unblemished truth.

My grounds for this conclusion are: Cordelia is courageous, assertive and humble. This quality is needed to take tough decisions/policies that are beneficial to the Bar.

If NBA PH settles for a female Chairman for the first time, to the best of my knowledge, Cordelia fits the bill very perfectly. In one word, she is an undeniable personification of the Nigerian Bar within the Branch and the National.

With immense respect, we cannot experiment a female Chairmanship with a rookie candidate who will either depend on instructions from certain noble overlords or spend a good chunk of the short tenure learning the ropes.

Cordelia is visible, has always attended Bar meetings and makes brilliant contributions therein. None of her competitors has this enviable record.

The balkanization of the NBA PH Branch into Integrity, Progressives, Unity, Amadioha or any other Camp, is unacceptable and ought to be abolished for a greater cohesion and camaraderie among us as learned colleagues. I have no doubt whatsoever that Cordelia’s Chairmanship will work very hard to reinvent a more unified Bar.

Cordelia is a highly resourceful and effective staff of the Ministry of Justice. NBA has always leaned on government for one kind of financial help or the other. Naturally, the same government will assuredly give a bigger support to one of its own for unprecedented success of her tenure. This humongous privilege is exclusively peculiar to Cordelia.

Furthermore, Cordelia coming from the Ministry of Justice, gives that respectable House of Lawyers a deserved sense of belonging. I think it has never happened before now.

Cordelia is many positive things to many people, groups and associations and has cultivated leadership qualities over the years for such a time as this.

Finally, Cordelia has boldly stepped out as an independent candidate with a mass appeal and admiration. I am sure she will not do us any emilokan by grabbing power anyhow and running with it while leaving the rest of Bar behind. God forbid!

Nigerians are in a large pit of sorrow today with painful sighs of “had-I-known” on every lip because somebody was aided to grab power at the expense of better qualified candidates. NBA PH must not repeat that fatal blunder in this Chairmanship election, please.

MRS. CORDELIA EKE is unarguably the person that the NBA PH Chairmanship Cap, Hat or Gele fits, truth be told.

I am an apolitical Pastor Chigozirim Chinazo Nwaodu.

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NBA PORT HARCOURT ELECTION: ‘WHY WE MUST ELECT CORDELIA EKE’ – GODSWILL OKURU

WHY WE MUST VOTE CORDELIA UWUMA EKE, ESQ: A PERSONAL EPISTLE

In 2022, while serving as a Corps member with the Ministry of Justice, Bauchi State, my direct mentor M. M. Adamu, Esq mentioned that as I go back to Rivers State, there is an amazing lady he knows from there he would love to connect me to. He proceeded to call this lady and then dropped her number with me to call.

I called when I returned to Port Harcourt; I also informed her. That ‘amazing lady’ he referred to is the delectable and eloquent Cordelia Uwuma Eke (CUE), Esq.

Our first physical meeting at her home was a blend of serenity and order, love and genuine bond. Her words were indelible in my heart and her stories were relatable. When I was in-between jobs, the same CUE made good efforts even without me having to call multiple times and still called in-between to check up on this young lawyer. If this isn’t intentional mentorship, I wonder what else is!

Fast forward to present day. As we approach the forthcoming election, it has become imperative for me to share this food for thought, why we as members of NBA PH Branch must vote her to the office of Chairman of the branch.

If at all we decide not to vote for her, the reasons may include but not limited to:

1. If the Branch wants to gloat in disorder, then let us not vote CUE.

2. If the Branch wants young lawyers to continue to be like sheep without shepherd, then by all means we must avoid voting CUE.

3. If we don’t mind flagrant lack of transparency, please, please, please, let us NOT vote CUE.

4. If we want Port Harcourt, the mother branch, to remain within limits and without pushing new frontiers and reaching our horizon, then when you see CUE, avoid that name and vote someone else.

5. If we would take the chance of missing out on a firm, decisive and forthright leader who is audacious with maximum composure and ‘steeze ‘, then don’t vote CUE; quote me as having said so.

6. Lastly, if we don’t want NBA PH to become all that it has the potential to be, then this is a strong reason not to vote Mrs. Cordelia Uwuma Eke.

Love and light!

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‘AFAM OSIGWE HAS BROUGHT OUT THE BEST IN MANY LAWYERS’ – UMEATUEGBU

MAZI AFAM JOSIAH OSIGWE, SAN, KNOWS THE ROLE AND PLACE OF THE NBA IN NIGERIA; VOTE FOR HIM AS PRESIDENT OF THE NIGERIAN BAR ASSOCIATION

BY CHUKWUNONSO UMEATUEGBU

When I shared my story last week on how I managed my speech impediment I left out the part of those that also played an important role in helping me navigate that journey even without knowing it.

Afam Osigwe was that man whom I started working with immediately after my call to bar. He is very disciplined that sometimes I have to compare him to my dad.

At the time I joined his law firm, my colleagues who joined with me were getting by alright. I was struggling and always missing in action. He noticed it and decided to do something about it. On one occasion I had sent him a draft Court document I did and he emailed me to say we will discuss it against the Court hearing in few days.

The day of the Court hearing I came to work at 6 am. I was to be in Court as his second chair and at the time I didn’t know what it meant only for me to learn it the hard way. He came in later that morning to say he had got an emergency meeting and I will be going to Court alone!.

I looked at our court process again to remind him that the lawyer on the other side is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and he said well, I am a lawyer and I prepared the process, I am the best man to argue the case.

Well I didn’t argue with him, but I made up my mind that I will run away from the Court room.

When I was leaving his office that morning he said to me, ‘Nonso, you can only learn this trade by doing it yourself. The difference between you and a SAN, is the texture of your gown, the laws are the same and it is on your side today, focus on it.’ My motivator left out the level of the Senior advocate’s experience😂🤣.

To my greatest surprise, I argued that motion and the order was in my favour. I was very happy and ran to the office like a child that won the first position in his class only for me to meet my boss eating semo at the office kitchen. He didn’t go for any meeting; he wanted me to do that case. Well I washed my hand and shared his lunch. In a little while, I argued cases up to the Court of Appeal. He brought out the best in me. 

He has encouraged and inspired so many lawyers especially the young ones trying to find their footing in law practice.

Afam Osigwe is a good leader and administrator with sound understanding of challenges facing Nigerian lawyers.

He knows the role and the place of NBA in Nigeria. I have no doubt that he will make a good NBA President. I hereby recommend that you support him to win this election.

Vote Afam Osigwe for NBA President.

  • Chukwunonso Umeatuegbu is a lawyer.

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FEATURED

CHUKWUKA IKWUAZOM FELICITATES MUSLIMS AT EID EL KABIR

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‘I WISH YOU INCREDIBLE FATHERS’ DAY’ – CHUKWUKA IKWUAZOM

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AFAM OSIGWE LAUDS LAWYERS ON FATHERS’ DAY

Fathers are pillars as they are foundations. Thus, nothing anchors us like a father’s love: it’s the guiding light that leads us home, the fur that brings us warmth and the shield that keeps us safe.

To the great dads, father figures, dads-to-be, and those doubling as mentors to many out there including myself, I wish you all a Happy Father’s Day.

MAZI AFAM JOSIAH OSIGWE, SAN
Candidate for President, Nigerian Bar Association

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EID MUBARAK: AFAM OSIGWE HAILS MUSLIM FAITHFUL

As we celebrate Eid ul Adha, I extend my warmest greetings to you and your family. This blessed occasion is a time of joy, reflection, and gratitude.

Eid ul Adha (the Festival of Sacrifice) reminds us of the values of faith, submission, and compassion. It is a time to come together with loved ones, share in the joy of giving, and reach out to those less fortunate. May the spirit of sacrifice and devotion inspire us all to lead lives of genuine generosity and modest kindness.

Wishing you a joyous and peaceful Eid ul Adha filled with blessings and happiness.

Eid Mubarak!

Mazi Afam Osigwe, SAN
Candidate for President, Nigerian Bar Association

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‘AFAM OSIGWE IS PASSIONATE ABOUT YOUNG LAWYERS,’ SAYS AGU

“Any young lawyer who wishes to succeed should look at the life of our principal, Mazi Afam Osigwe, SAN because he is a bridge between the Benchers and non-Benchers (because he is a life bencher also), between senior advocates and non-senior advocates, between the national officers and non-national officers, and between the old lawyers and young lawyers.

My first contact with him was in 2021 when he came for the Enbar Law Week. I was called by Chinaecherem Nwubani to go and pick him from the airport here in Enugu. My first interaction with him was about the welfare of young lawyers which he spoke so passionately about.

As we interacted, it became clear to me that the universal suffrage we enjoy today as young lawyers was an idea he packaged and sold to the then president, Augustine Alegeh, SAN when he was the general secretary of the Bar.

With what I know about Mazi Afam Osigwe, SAN, if he is elected the president of the Bar, he is going to run a proactive Bar where the interest of everybody will be carried along especially the young lawyers.

Our principal has consistently shown his love for young lawyers. And that I’m sure that anyone who knows him knows that he is so passionate about the young lawyers.”

An excerpt from the speech by JM Agu Esq. (Agu-the-Lion of Enbar) to Enbar young lawyers at their just concluded symposium in Enugu.

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‘AFAM OSIGWE HAS INSPIRED MANY YOUNG LAWYERS TO GREATNESS’ – CHIKWADO

WHY WE SHOULD VOTE  AFAM OSIGWE SAN FOR PRESIDENT, NIGERIAN BAR ASSOCIATION

By GABRIEL CHIKWADO

Let me use this opportunity to request our collective support and vote for Mazi Afam Josiah Osigwe, SAN, as the President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) in the forthcoming election slated for July 20, 2024.

Interestingly, this year marks 10 years since I first interacted with this eminent, cerebral, brilliant, and ebullient man. Anything I say is from personal experience and not hearsay. In fact, I have admired Mazi Afam Osigwe since my undergraduate days, and to date, I thank God for bringing him into my life.

My relationship with Mazi Afam Osigwe SAN, has shown me how much young lawyers can achieve if we can encourage more mentorship and foster a better relationship between the old and young lawyers in our great profession.

Mazi Afam Osigwe SAN epitomizes the ‘catch them young’ mentality. You can hardly come across young lawyers, young graduates or undergraduates who have not encountered Mazi Afam Osigwe, SAN, or who have not been inspired to greatness by him, and this is not politically motivated.

To sustain the gains of the profession, there should be a bridge, between the old and young members and that bridge is Mazi Afam Osigwe, SAN. He is respected, adored, and honoured across board. No one else, as far as this election is concerned, comes close.

Mazi Afam Osigwe is not just exceptionally brilliant but also smart and hardworking. I have always wondered how he manages to churn out and execute brilliant ideas. It only shows one thing – he understands his assignment in life and keeps preparing ahead.

Without fear of contradiction, Mazi Afam Osigwe, in my honest view, understands truly how a lawyer should be treated and how a lawyer should act. He seizes every opportunity to make meaning of this. Of course, we cannot forget that he was the General Secretary of our great Association from 2014 to 2016, and instrumental in bringing various innovations we enjoy today.

The administration he served as General Secretary is reputed (uncontroverted) as one of the best in the history of the NBA. The universal suffrage, stamp and seal, lawyers’ insurance, NBA building, revamping of the ICLE, etc., came into existence through his collective effort with the then-President Augustine Alegeh, SAN; very few persons can claim such national impact in the affairs of lawyers in Nigeria. We have seen Mazi do it both at the Branch and National levels. He remains the best hand now.

Mazi Afam Osigwe is not just fearless but also daring. I have seen him confront national issues in the country without fear or intimidation. At least, to the best of my knowledge, he has no political leaning and would not spare anything to ensure the rule of law and good governance are protected in the country.

It is not in doubt that, as lawyers, we have a huge assignment to the general public. He represents the kind of approach we put forward. With the current abuse and debasement by our political leaders, we need a proactive, fearless, and responsible President. No other person but our indefatigable, distinguished, and eminent Mazi Afam Josiah Osigwe SAN (the Golden Boy). Let me stop here for now.

Gabriel Chikwado Eze
NBA Abuja (Unity Bar) Branch.

#goldenboy
#foraproactivebar
#abarthatworksforall
#allinclusiveandprosperousbar
#massiveafamativeafamosigwe
#afamativedecision

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SABASTINE ANYIA HAILS NEW NBA ONITSHA CHAIRMAN, EXCO

SABASTINE ANYIA CELEBRATES NEWLY ELECTED CHAIRMAN AND EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE OF NBA ONITSHA BRANCH

Sabastine Anyia celebrates the brand new Chairman and Executive Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association Onitsha branch led by the humble and amiable Chairman, our own Chief AFAM OBI who was overwhelmingly elected by the good people of NBA Onitsha Branch in a peaceful and transparent election.

My Chair, getting to this stage was not easy but the good Lord kept you strong and committed to your goal. I’m happy for you, the good people of Onitsha Bar who count you worthy to lead them at this critical time in our nation. The members of NBA Onitsha Branch spoke with one voice because of your track records. You are a comely fellow, a great organizer and above all a born leader. You are a true Bar man and a selfless person. The Good Lord will see you and your Executive Committee through. I wish you a rewarding tenure.

I urge you to use this opportunity given to you by your people to write your name in gold.

  • SABASTINE ANYIA

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‘WHY I ENDORSE AFAM OSIGWE FOR NBA PRESIDENCY’ – IFEANYI AGWUNCHA

The National Election of our esteemed Association is scheduled for July 20, 2024. Dear colleagues, this is an opportunity to elect credible candidates with verifiable records and impeccable integrity.

For the Office of the President, I have carefully examined the resume, professional trajectory, and Bar accomplishments of the three contestants, all of whom are exceptional in their own right. However, one person stands out – Mazi Afam Osigwe, SAN.

Experience is crucial, and he has a wealth of it, having served in various capacities at the branch and national levels, with verifiable achievements.

In strict professional obligation, he has fared excellently, culminating in his distinction as the Senior Advocate Of Nigeria.

Thus, he is a man who has managed his affairs effectively. He has attained professional excellence, served the Bar meritoriously, and is on the cusp of bagging a PhD in Laws, in addition to his two Master’s Degrees and reputation as a skilled Arbitrator.

Excellence and all-around efficiency are embodied in Afam Josiah Osigwe, SAN!

Let’s make him the President!

We will not regret it!!!

IFEANYI AGWUNCHA, ESQ.

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WHO IS SABASTINE ANYIA, CANDIDATE FOR NBA FIRST VICE PRESIDENT ?

Sabastine Anyia hails from Wula town, Boki LGA of Cross River State. He is the 3rd child of his parents, Mr. Matthew Akabor Anyia and Mrs. Veronica Aluo Anyia, who where teachers by profession.

He attended St John’s Primary School Wula, John Paul De II Junior Seminary Ogoja and Buentsebe secondary school Wula. He finished his secondary school education in 1992, he was offered admission to the University of Calabar in 1993 to read political science but he turned it down, as his dream was nothing but to study law. He got admission to read law in University of Maiduguri 1995/96 academic year, graduated 2001 went to Nigerian law school, Abuja 2002/03.

He did his NYSC in Anambra state, with Amazing Grace Chambers and was retained thereafter. He got his Master of Laws in 2011 with Nnamdi Azikiwe University, AWKA. After 5 years of tutolish with Sir H.A. Ejim, his principal; he then opened his own office S. U. Anyia and CO.

He has served Nigerian Bar Association, Aguata branch in various capacities: He was elected Public Relation Officer (PRO) Aguata branch, Young lawyer’s chairman, Financial Secretary of the Branch, Welfare Secretary of the Branch, Secretary General of the Branch and Chairman of the Branch. He has also served as the chairman of the 8 branches of the Nigerian Bar Association Anambra State.

During his tenure as NBA Chairman of Aguata branch he built a bar centre for the branch and gave it taste of the art furnishing. He also built other structures to generate income for the branch, he launched the maiden bar journal for the branch, he eradicated fake lawyers from the branch, he arrested and prosecuted people using NBA stickers who are not lawyers in there vehicles.

As Chairman of Chairmen in Anambra state, he introduced football competition among the 8 branches to foster love and unity. He believes in justice and fair play. He is an apostle of an egalitarian society.
The immediate past governor of Cross River State professor Ben Ayade appointed him special adviser on legal matters, but he respectfully declined the appointment because the environment was not conducive for him to give out his best, there is no point accepting an office because of money without the enabling ambiance to give your best.

Every office he has ever occupied, he always introduced positive changes, he is a man with lots of ideas. Sabastine believes in being accountable to the people he’s elected to serve. He See’s every office entrusted to him as an opportunity to serve the people, it is on this note that he has received the following awards:
1. “Foot Soldier of Aguata Bar”. By NBA, Aguata Branch, 2nd day of June, 2012.

2. “Award of Honour” by National Association of Cross River State Students, FEDPOL, OKO Chapter, 28th September, 2014.

3. “A Friend of the Police”, by the Commissioner of Police, Anambra State, CP H. H. KARMA, Psc on 7th day of May, 2015.

4. “Leadership Excellence”, by NBA Aguata Branch, 20th day of May, 2016.

5. “Award of Honour” by National Association of Akwa Ibom State Students, FEDPOLY, OKO Chapter, 20th day of September, 2017.

6. “Award of Patron” by National Association of Boki Students, world wide, 27th day of December, 2021.

7. “Pillar of Wula Students”, by Wula Students, world wide, 29th December 2022.

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‘TOBENNA EROJIKWE LOVES NIGERIA AND THE LAW’ – ORJI UKA

TOBENNA EROJIKWE
The Candidate for NBA President Who Loves Nigeria and the Profession

By Orji A. Uka

It was in September 2018 that I first experienced my disdain for the Nigerian political class. This was the month in which I embarked on my postgraduate studies in the United Kingdom. This was not my first time outside the shores of Nigeria, but it was the first time I had been out of the country for a sustained period of time and therefore my first time seeing a well-oiled system at work.

The biggest marvel and the most potent source of my indignation was the London Underground Rail System. Each time I got into one of those Tube Stations, I found myself asking whether our leaders do not see this when they travel abroad and why it had not occurred to them to replicate the system at home. For me, one true test of a true Nigerian leader, whether at the Federal or at the State level, is the ability to study what works in these “saner clines” and replicate the same back home. After a few weeks of moaning, I advised myself to face my studies so that I do not develop depression.

This might seem totally unrelated, but as we, Nigerian lawyers prepare to go to the polls to elect the next President of our influential Association, I am pleased to note that one of the three candidates vying for that exalted office has passed this MY TEST of a true Nigerian leader and he has in more ways than one, demonstrated his love for our dear country Nigeria, and the legal profession in particular. That candidate is Tobenna Erojikwe.

Some of the words with which Tobenna is most commonly associated are Ideas, Integrity, Principle, Self-Sacrifice and above all, Capacity.

I had encountered Tobenna before, but we only really became close after I returned to Nigeria in January 2020, and I met him in his capacity as the Director General of the Olumide Akpata Campaign for the NBA Presidency. This was at the time when the first question I faced from almost every person I encountered after my return to Nigeria was, “why did you?” So, I guess that the first thing that drew me close to Tobenna was when I discovered that he was called to the Bar in Nigeria 2000, travelled to England where he practiced as a Solicitor for a period of 10 years then voluntarily returned to Nigeria to continue his law practice as a Solicitor. Meanwhile, I was there for less than 2 years, as a Student and yet friends and family wanted to kill me for returning to Nigeria.

As Campaign DG, Tobenna exhibited, and brought to the campaign, a level of organisation that I was completely unaccustomed to. His leadership style, clarity of thought and principled stands were as refreshing as they were risky, considering that “this is Nigeria.” I remember one day that I got into an argument with him over style – yes, we frequently argued not just with Tobenna but also with OLU – and he said to me, “Orji, we have to do things differently.” When I asked about the potential consequences of doing things differently, he replied, “Don’t worry, we will win with a landslide.” You can tell that I no longer argue that much with him.

His love for the profession was also demonstrated throughout the presidency of Mr. Olumide Akpata from 2020 to 2022. The pivotal role that Tobenna, or “Onwa,” as OLU fondly calls him, played throughout that administration, at no expense to the Association is well documented and merits no rehashing. Ideas in action.

When you play such a central role in the emergence of a transformational President like Mr Akpata, I want to believe that, at the very least, you thereby become entitled to have a say in what office you would occupy or what role you would play in the administration. If I were to take a guess, there was no chance that I would have predicted that Tobenna would be appointed as the Chairman of the NBA-ICLE, which was at the time, frankly speaking, a moribund body. We have all seen how Tobenna transformed the ICLE to the extent that it has in the past few years been the poster child of the Association, and that is putting it modestly. Capacity in action.

Before then, however, Tobenna served as the Chairman of the Conference Planning Committee for the 2022 NBA Annual General Conference. It is probably easy for detractors to reference the debacle over the conference bags but for us who were members of that Planning Committee, we still beam with pride over the way and manner in which Tobenna and his Team, with yours truly serving as the Chairman of the Venue Sub-Committee, transformed bare land at the Eko Atlantic City into a Conference Village in a matter of weeks; or the world class Opening Ceremony at Eko Hotel where Chimamanda Adichie exposed Tobenna as “Iniesta” in the words of @AfamDeluxo and this is not to talk of the insightful sessions, the quality of the Conference Bags, the meals and other attractions.

Even the Conference Bags issue, and I apologise if it appears that I am dwelling on it, was nothing but a clear case of what could go wrong when one insists, and rightly so, on doing things right, not cutting corners, and ensuring that the people get the best that they deserve. Where other people in Tobenna’s shoes would have folded or reclined into oblivion as a result, Tobenna rose like a phoenix from the ashes and ensured that he kept his promise of delivering the Conference Bags to the destinations of ALL Conferees anywhere in Nigeria, at no expense to them. Integrity in action.

One truth I must say openly about Tobenna today is that at no time, during the Olumide Akpata Presidency did it appear to me that he was remotely interested in contesting for the office, and perhaps because he was not. At least not at the time. My reading of the situation is that that administration gave him a front row seat and he realised that if the programmes and policies introduced during that administration were to be sustained, he needed to throw his hat into the ring, even at the expense of his practice and personal life. Self-Sacrifice in action.

In the course of the current campaign, Tobenna has demonstrated that he is a man of principle. He repeatedly reminds his supporters and followers of the rationale behind his candidacy and ensures that they do not engage in mudslinging even when provoked. Tobenna has been tested and he has remained steadfast to his principles. Principle in action.

In ending, I have worked closely with Tobenna since he returned to Nigeria and have experienced him demonstrate his love for Nigeria and the profession, countless times, but on this occasion of the 2024 Democracy Day in Nigeria, I will limit myself to the above instances. It is for this and other reasons that I have no hesitation in publicly declaring my support for Tobenna as President of the Nigerian Bar Association. I have had the privilege of seeing his programme of action and I was filled with pride and hope. Tobenna showed me that it was not a taboo to return to Nigeria, introduce the ideas and skills you learnt abroad, and contribute to the growth and development of the country and the legal profession. He has demonstrated his love for this country, and I am sure that if you set your own personal test, Tobenna is sure to pass it with flying colours. Happy Democracy Day.

  • Orji A. Uka is a member of the NBA, Lagos Branch

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AFAM OSIGWE CONDEMNS KIDNAP OF EJIKE UGWU

I condemn the abduction of Mr. Ejike Ugwu, a distinguished and active member of the Nigerian Bar Association, Enugu Branch. It has now been six harrowing days since Mr. Ugwu was forcibly taken by unidentified men around the Emene area on the outskirts of Enugu. The alarming rate at which lawyers have become targets for abduction by gunmen calls for serious concern. Over the last few months, there have been confirmed reports of lawyers being abducted across the country. In some instances, they are gruesomely murdered; others are fortunate to return alive but not without parting with substantial sums of money, often raised from friends, associates, and in some cases, members of the NBA branch of the abductee. These incidents across the country are a recipe for crisis that requires immediate and sincere action from all levels of government and society.

Lawyers, who are the voice of the voiceless, have become targets for gunmen. This is worrisome and requires the concerted efforts of all, especially the Government, which is constitutionally responsible for protecting the lives and properties of its citizens.

This abduction of our colleague is condemned in the strongest terms. If this worrying trend of abducting lawyers is an attempt at silencing us or stifling the legal profession, the criminals are in for a shock because the resolve of the Nigerian lawyer is as strong as ever to defend the rule of law.

This reprehensible act is a stark violation of Mr. Ugwu’s fundamental human rights and an affront to the entire legal community. This incident is deeply troubling, and the growing insecurity plagues our country. The abduction of any individual, let alone a member of our esteemed association, is intolerable and must be met with swift and decisive action.

I call on the authorities to intensify their efforts to locate Mr. Ugwu and ensure his safe return. The security agencies must employ all necessary resources and strategies to bring the perpetrators to justice. We demand immediate action to ensure the safe return of Ejike Ugwu, Esq., and adequate measures to ensure the safety and security of lawyers as we go about our legal responsibilities to our clients, for which we have sworn an oath to uphold.

My thoughts and prayers are with Mr. Ugwu, his family, and members of the Nigerian Bar Association, Enugu Branch, during this traumatic period.

Mazi Afam Osigwe, SAN

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ENUGU LAWYER SPENDS DAY 6 IN KIDNAPPERS’ DEN

A lawyer who is believed to be an active member of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Enugu Branch (ENBAR) is spending the sixth day in the hot embrace of his captors, CITY LAWYER can report.

Mr. Ejike Ugwu was whisked away to an unknwon destination by gunmen believed to be kidnappers around Emene in the outskirts of Enugu.

An impeccable source who confirmed the incident told CITY LAWYER that the kidnappers had made contact with his family and demanded for ransom. A ranking member of the branch also confirmed the incident.

In a post titled “IMPORTANT NOTICE FROM DAVID NGWEE CAMPAIGN ORGANIZATION,” one of the candidates in the forthcoming NBA Enugu Branch Elections, Mr. David Ngwee said he was suspending his campaign as a mark of respect for the embattled lawyer.

In the post obtained by CITY LAWYER, Ngwee wrote: “Learned Colleagues. Information reaching me by 6 pm today is that one of our dear friend and respected colleague; Ejike Ugwu Esq was kidnapped and has been in the custody of the Assailants/hoodlums since Saturday, 8th day of June, 2024.”

He stated that “while we pray believing God for his rescue, we condemn in a very strong term such evil act of man’s inhumanity to man, and suspend with immediate effect any form of our campaign either through publications of our campaign materials through WhatsApp or text message till further notice. Every member of DAVID NGWEE SUPPORT GROUP is called upon to abide by this directive.”

CITY LAWYER recalls that some lawyers have recently fallen into the hands of kidnappers. Lawyers under the aegis of Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) branches in Anambra State embarked on a strike recently to deplore the menace.

The one-day boycott of courts was to press home their demand for release of their colleague, Mr. Chukwubuikem Azoro, the Secretary of NBA Idemili Branch who was whisked away by gunmen at Abagana around 8:30 pm last Saturday. The lawyers vowed not to defend kidnap suspects until further notice.

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DEFAMATION: NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF MARKETING SLAMS N300M SUIT ON AGENCY

The National Institute of Marketing of Nigeria (NIMN) has brought a N300 million lawsuit against Marketing Edge Publications Limited.

In a counter-claim against a lawsuit originally filed by Marketing Edge and its Publisher John Ajayi against the institute and its President, Mr. Idorenyen Enang, the Institute is asking the court to award N300 million to it as general damages for alleged defamation by the duo.

According to court papers filed by a leading law firm on Defamation Law, EMMANUEL UMOREN & CO., NIMN is seeking “General Damages in the sum of N300,000,000.00 (Three Hundred Million) for the damages done to the reputation of the Counterclaimant.”

Aside from seeking interest at the rate of 10 % on the judgment sum from date of judgment till judgment is fully liquidated, the counter-claimant also sought “An Order directing the Defendant to the Counterclaim to retract all its libelous publications on its website, Instagram, Facebook and other social media handles against it.”

The Institute also asked the court to grant it the following reliefs:
1. “An Order directing the Defendant to the Counterclaim to publish in at least 5 National Dailies including Thisday Newspapers, The Sun Newspaper, Vanguard Newspapers, The Nation Newspapers and Daily Trust Newspapers forthwith, an apology to the Counterclaimant, The President and members of the Council of the Institute, and all registered members of NIMN.

2. “A Perpetual Injunction restraining the Defendant to the Counterclaim, its CEO and alter ego Mr. John Ajayi fnimn, their agents, assigns or any other person acting for and on its behalf from further defamatory publications against the 1st Defendant/Counterclaimant, its President, Council members and registered members of NIMN.”

Setting its case against the claimant, NIMN stated that sometime in November 2023, the duo published an online article with the alleged defamatory title which read: “NIMN panics over membership decline, plans phoney programmes to hood wink public.” It stated that the report was published on the Claimant’s website “and other social media channels.”

NIMN wrote that “the above stated headline portrays the Counterclaimant as a fraudulent regulatory Institute running fraudulent programmes to deceive and defraud members of the public.” The Institute argued instead that it is a creation of the Federal Government of Nigeria with its mandate set out in the National Institute of Marketing Act of Nigeria, 2003, Act No. 25.

Outlining its mandates as set out in the enabling law, NIMN stated that it “has not carried out any activities for it to be so portrayed to the members of the public as a deceitful and fraudulent Institute.”

It stated that the Claimant and its publisher “thereafter threw all cautions to the wind and went to town with several malicious and defamatory publications against the Defendant Counterclaimant and the President of NIMN Mr. Idorenyen Enang with damning headlines to totally destroy their characters and started cyber bullying them.”

The Institute stated that aside from another report titled “Idy Enang: Who will tame the bull in the China’s Shop?” the Claimant “in a bid to totally destroy its image” again posted another report titled “NIMN IN THE GRIP OF UNDERTAKERS”.

It stated that the report “portray the Counterclaimant (NIMN) to be in the hands of thieves and that its resources, properties and funds are being stolen by its Administrators.

“That there is no iota of truth in the allegations of the Defendant to the Counterclaimant as the allegations are malicious, reckless and inconsiderate of the integrity of the Institute and its administrators.

“The Counterclaimant states that it is an Institute that has well over 1,000 Registered Members, several affiliates in several countries in the World and these publications have put a major dent to its reputation and that of all members of the National Institute of Marketing of Nigeria.”

Relations between the Institute and the Claimant soured when Marketing Edge published “rating-based claims” around November 4, 2023 stating that it “has unveiled Nigeria’s Top 10 Digital Marketing professionals for the year 2023, owing to their outstanding resilience, dedication and innovation in a year marked by tough and challenging economic conditions …”

NIMN had written to query the entity on the rating-based claims, arguing that, the agency not being registered by the Institute, is precluded from practicing, assessing and testing by “rating based claims” marketing professionals. It added that 17 of the 20 persons selected by the Claimant-agency as the 20 best Marketers in Nigeria “were not registered to practice Marketing in Nigeria in breach of the clear provisions of the Act.”

NIMN also wrote a petition to the Nigeria Police Force “to invite the Police to investigate the flagrant breach of the provisions of the Act by the Claimant and its purported 17 awardees that are not members of the Institute.”

No date has been fixed for hearing of the matter.

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‘THE MAZI AFAM OSIGWE THAT I KNOW,’ BY KAINE ANANWUNE

Anyone who knows the recent political history of the NBA would appreciate the struggles that culminated in Paul Usoro‘s (SAN) NBA Presidency in 2018. In the buildup to that election, Mazi Afam Osigwe, SAN, young as he was at the Bar, and not being a Senior Advocate of Nigeria at the time, deared to aspire to become the 29th president of the NBA. As fate would have it (or men would), Afam was disqualified from the race thus not making the final list of candidates.

The year 2017 marked my very first direct and personal encounter with Mazi Afam Osigwe, SAN. Although Mazi Osigwe, SAN had struck a very cordial relationship with most of the Bar Branches in Anambra State; yet, very many of the Bar Leaders in Anambra State at the time were not much impressed with Mazi’s quest for the NBA Presidency as at 2017/2018. We did not support him then. We campaigned against him as well. At the end of it all he was disqualified and we all came back home.

Despite the obvious aversion for his ambition at the time, I learnt certain invaluable lessons from Mazi Osigwe’s (SAN) disposition and mien before, during and after his disqualification from the 2018 NBA presidential race. I would illustrate these lessons with my 3 distinct encounters with Mazi Afam Osigwe, SAN.

Lesson No. 1: ​In the year 2017, at the heat of the merciless campaign we mounted against his candidacy, Mazi Osigwe found time to attend my wedding ceremony here in Anambra State even with the full knowledge of the fact that I was opposed to his ambition and candidacy. I was not only taken aback by his personal attendance at my wedding, I was also impressed with his guts and his large heartedness. Although after the wedding ceremony, I still went on professing support for another candidate other than Mazi. From this episode, Mazi Afam Osigwe, SAN taught me that our personal and professional relationship as lawyers must at all time take very high precedence over our political differences. Bar politics must be divorced from bitterness.

Lesson No. 2: Upon his disqualification from the 2018 NBA Presidential race, Mazi Afam Osigwe accepted his fate with equanimity as though nothing untoward had happened to him. When we expected him to “go to court” to challenge his disqualification, Mazi Osigwe disappointed us. Mazi Afam Osigwe not only went back home; he apparently went back to squarely face his law practice and he took silk (on 14th December, 2020) barely 2 years after his disqualification from the NBA Presidential race in 2018. From this episode, when Mazi Afam Osigwe accepted his disqualification, he taught me loyalty to the Bar. Causes within the Bar must be resolved at the Bar and not necessarily in the Courtrooms. Mazi Afam Osuigwe’s (SAN) from this episode also taught me the need to be focused in one’s law practice. Despite getting involved with bar politics, Mazi Osigwe, SAN never for once lost sight of his basic calling as a legal practitioner. He was dedicated to his Law practice as buttressed by the fact that he took the revered silk before the biological age of 50.

Lesson No. 3: Shortly after the rank of Senior Advocate was conferred on Mazi Afam Osigwe, SAN; sometime in the year 2021, I met Mazi aboard an Air Peace flight from Anambra to Abuja. We exchanged pleasantries and enjoyed our flight. Upon arrival at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, while I was still contemplating on how I would part with about N10,000 for taxi fare into Abuja town; Mazi Osigwe, SAN not only generously offered me a ride in his chauffeur driven SUV, he also patiently waited for me to clear out my baggage from the airport carousel. I rode with him in his SUV as his driver took me to my specific destination. For the umpteenth time, I was amazed at his large heartedness, patience and humility as I imagined how many distinguished colleagues who had adorned silk would find it unconscionable to give a lift to an “ordinary lawyer”. From this episode Mazi Afam Osigwe taught me patience and humility.

CONCLUSION:
My friendship with Mazi Afam Osigwe, SAN blossomed till this date despite our past differences. I reckon him as a fine gentleman who has been consistent in his affable character. He is such that any smart, young and ambitious lawyer could look up to.

* KAINE ANANWUNE (ACArb) was Chairman of NBA Anaocha Branch (2020-2022), Chairman of the Committee of Chairmen of 8 Branches of NBA in Anambra State (Oct.–Dec., 2021), and Secretary, NBA Anaocha Branch (2018-2020).

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SABASTINE ANYIA HAILS NBA LAGOS ON LAW WEEK

NEWS RELEASE

GOOD WILL MESSAGE TO NBA, LAGOS BRANCH.

It’s with profound joy and excitement that Sabastine Anyia congratulates the Chairman of NBA, Lagos branch, our own amiable Olabisi Makanjuola and his executive committee for their well thought out law week. I also welcome Distinguished Senior Advocates, Benchers, elders at the Bar esteemed delegates, learned friends, colleagues, candidates and visitors to Eko.

NBA Lagos branch is the biggest branch of NBA in Nigeria and has demonstrated that she is a true leader by the way she organized the affairs of NBA in her branch. One can say without fear of contradictions that NBA Lagos branch is truly the centre of excellence.

I’m proud of the branch Chairman, a humble, calculative and results oriented young man. His achievements speak for him. My chair, as you lined up this wonderful program for your law week and the legal Giants to feed us with wisdom, I pray that we benefits enormously therefrom for the glory of this profession and for the upliftment of our nation.

I’ve no doubt that the gathering of these legal GIANTS in this law week shall guide us and give us the direction to pilot the affairs of this great country in a manner that will make us truly the giant of Africa.

I wish us all safe travels as we journey to attend NBA, Lagos law week. I wish NBA Lagos branch a rewarding outing.

Sabastine Anyia
Former chairman NBA Aguata and Former chairman of Chairmen and Secretaries of the 8 branches of NBA in Anambra State.

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‘WE MAY HAVE DISQUALIFIED JOYCE ODUAH AGAIN IF A CANDIDATE’ – ECNBA

  • LAWYERS NOT QUALIFIED TO VOTE WERE ABUSING US

  • WE HAVE APPOINTED SERVICE PROVIDERS

  • WE WILL TRAVEL TO ZONES FOR VOTER EDUCATION

The Chairman of the Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (ECNBA), Mr. Oluseun Abimbola, SAN has said that the electoral umpire may have disqualified embattled former NBA General Secretary Joyce Oduah if she were still in the race for NBA Presidency. In a veiled reference to the fiery erstwhile NBA scribe, Abimbola said she was “jumping the gun” by endorsing a candidate in the election.

Below is the full text of the interview:

Again, Nigerian Lawyers are set to elect their choice of candidates for the various national offices of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), in the next few weeks. Over the last few election cycles, the electoral process has been trailed with criticisms and post-election complaints and appeals, sometimes ending up in tedious litigation in court, to the extent that following the 2018 election cycle, two Lawyers were actually arrested and charged to court by the EFCC, for offences bordering on cybercrimes to allegedly rig the election. This year presents another opportunity, for the NBA to prove the integrity of its electoral process. Onikepo Braithwaite and Jude Igbanoi linked up with Oluseun Abimbola, SAN, former Attorney-General of Oyo State and the Chairman of the 2024 Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (ECNBA), who confirmed the ECNBA’s determination to deliver a rancour free and fair election to Nigerian Lawyers this year

Elections into the national offices of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) are just a few weeks away. Exactly when will the elections hold? As the Chairman of the Electoral Committee of the NBA (ECNBA), what level of preparedness can you assure Nigerian Lawyers of?

The NBA 2024 Elections into National offices, and as representatives of the NBA on the General Council of the Bar holds Saturday 20th July, 2024. Preparations are on and in top gear. We have, in line with the Constitution, issued over the last several weeks, necessary guidelines and notices in respect of compliance steps for candidates and members, while other compliance guidelines will still follow. Our Technical Support Consultant is in place after a competitive bid process, and they have since been working with us in preparing for the election. We have cleaned up the database of voters, and recently published the list for members’ eligible to vote for verification. We have again, after a competitive bid process involving technical and financial reviews, with the assistance of our Technical Support Consultant, made a selection of the election service provider, and have commenced a secured review and preparation of the voting platform. I would say we are on course with preparations for the elections.

The issue of the process of selection and choice of IT Provider for the balloting has remained contentious. One of the Presidential candidates has alleged that the process of picking the IT Provider for the election has always been opaque, and not open for scrutiny. How did you handle this challenge, for this year’s election?

The Constitution does provide for the process to follow in the selection of the various expert providers, and it is transparent. It requires us to post a bid invitation, which we did by our issuance and publication of a Request For Proposals, both for the Technical Service Consultant (which we did first), and for the Election Service Provider which recently concluded. Upon preliminary review of submitted proposals, we had narrowed down to a shortlist which was published on the NBA and ECNBA websites, and is still there as released. This was followed by a technical review of the shortlisted organisations and a financial review, before we selected the eventual companies as Technical Service Consultant and Election Service Provider. There was nothing opaque about the selection process.

We had bids from local and foreign entities, consortia, etc, before narrowing down our choice based on several parameters including capacity, experience, expertise, cyber-security offerings, etc. Every step we took is open to scrutiny, and were transparently executed. It is necessary to point out that while the Constitution mandates the ECNBA to publish the list of Shortlisted entities for Election Service Providers for comments by members of the Association, it does not require us to submit the individual bids received to members of the Association. Where we received enquiries on any issue relating to the appointment of the Election Service Provider, we promptly responded.

Controversies have trailed the last few elections, from the disqualification of candidates by ECNBA to allegations of malpractice here and there through the IT Platform. What guarantee can you give to Lawyers this time around, that the voting platform is fully reliable and there is no way to manipulate it, and that the elections will be free, fair and credible?

First of all, understand that an election is a contest with contenders. This presupposes that a winner and loser will emerge in accordance with stated provisions of Statutory instruments, and that carries with it, its own sometimes negative energy, and biases even when there are no smoking guns. Disqualification of candidates, whether by this ECNBA or previous ones, is usually for stated reasons pursuant to the provisions of the Constitution, the Regulations and Guidelines. Disqualification of candidates either by previous ECNBAs or ours in the current exercise, is therefore, no exception, in terms of the energy it generates. Disqualified candidates all have justifications as to why they believe they should not have been disqualified, and again that sentiment is not strange in the circumstance of an electoral contest. That is why there is an appeal process engaged by such disqualified candidates and that was recently concluded, with parties demonstrating candour by accepting the outcome.

The ECNBA extended the date for voter verification. Lawyers hope that the compilation of the Voters List will be hitch-free this year, unlike in the past where Lawyers were unable to vote, because though they found their names on the Preliminary Voters List, their names did not appear on the Final Voters List. Can you assure Lawyers that nothing like that will happen this time around?

By all means all qualified voters who paid their Bar Practicing Fees (BPF) between 1st January and 31st March, 2024 would have been captured on the NBA portal at the time of payment, and should make the list of voters. It is important to point out that, because the system for the payment of the BPF was done through the NBA portal after each member had verified his details, the system automatically generates a List of all persons who made payment between the 1st of January and 31st of March, 2024. The verification exercise that the ECNBA required members to do is that of their phone numbers and emails, since those are the means by which they would receive their authentication codes to vote. Verification was extended, to allow members check that their details are correctly captured on the Voters list (especially their phone/email contacts). Once the verification process ends, the corrections submitted by members would be certified and uploaded on the list, before the final Voters list is uploaded for the elections. We are doing the utmost and meticulously reviewing this to avoid any glitch, so there is no missing data during uploads. Names will not be missing in this election. The only names not on the Voters list, are those who did not pay for their Bar Practicing fees in 2024 within the regulated period. Some members who paid after 31st March have been trying to verify their names and found it missing, and we received various complaints by emails, calls from many, some even abusive for no just cause, when they only paid their statutory BPF fees in April, after the regulatory period. We are taking time to explain though, to all in this category, and we seize this opportunity to advice our members again, that the regulatory period that qualifies you for privileges of the Bar, including the right to vote and be voted for, is paying your BPF as at when due, that is, 1st January to 31st March of the year.

With just a few weeks to elections, your Committee is yet to lift the ban on election campaigns. What informed the decision not to lift the ban in good time, as has been the practice in the past? How and when will the candidates be able to effectively reach their supporters and canvass for votes within such a short period?

No time is fixed by the NBA Constitution, for campaign to start. However, the electoral process and logistics of planning and regulating the stages of same, demand that some activities are desirable to be concluded or commenced (as the case may be), before the ban on campaigns can be lifted.

Secondly, we must remind ourselves that ours is a professional body, not a political party campaign with the full blown partisanship campaigns. I always say that for Bar elections, all candidates belong to the same party called the Nigerian Bar Association; hence, they must observe the same standards and principles for campaign. Our Constitution spells out the strict limits of what is allowed, and it does not necessarily require the open country campaign in political circles; so, there is plenty of time indeed, to campaign before the election.

We have issued to candidates guidelines that should govern their campaigns among other things, and in any case, the ban has now been lifted. Of utmost importance is to ensure all persons observe and maintain the decorum, nobility and professional culture the legal profession is associated with. We should not lose that to partisan politics, even in our campaigns. This is the clear spirit that governs the letters of the NBA Constitution.

Some candidates who were disqualified have gone to Press, asking their supporters to support another candidate. Does this not amount to campaign?

It is regrettable that those who live in glass houses, throw stones at it sometimes. If such persons were to still be candidates, they may qualify to be disqualified. It is a simple regard for our rules, guidelines and Constitution we simply ask all candidates and supporters for, and that is not onerous to comply with. That act was jumping the gun, without the ban on campaign being lifted yet.

We urge our dear candidates and supporters, to stick to the rules of the game please. We want a clean contest, no puns, strict compliance with our rules and Constitution, and let’s set a standard for what a seamless, rancour free and fair elections should be.

It appears that there is a need for voter-education, as many older Lawyers who are neither computer literate or internet savvy, always have challenges casting their votes online. Should Lawyers expect some tutorial on the step-by-step process of casting their ballot in the election?

By all means, there will be voter education, by physical visits across regions, and also DIY video posts, etc to guide voters on the steps and process to casting their ballot. Indeed, we have started this with the clear instructions for the verification process of the Voters list, which made it a simple 3 step “do it yourself” process that anyone could easily follow. We intend to simplify the voting process, in our continuing releases.

After the elections, what is the appeal process, if and when any appeal arises?

There is already set up a National Officers Elections Appeal Committee in place, which will determine any resulting appeals that may arise. We intend to have clean polls, that even those who may lose will have no need to appeal if the process is transparent for any objective mind to see. We, on our part, will conduct a post-election audit nonetheless with our Service Providers, and issue a report of same in furtherance of our resolve to give assurance to the integrity of the process.

What would you say have been your greatest challenges in this important assignment, so far?

Nigeria has had an integrity deficiency in many sectors, processes, institutions and systems. We read narratives from a few amongst our colleagues as to whether this year’s election process will be seamless and free of the recurrent claims of interference, and we do understand those sentiments in our Nigerian environment where elections of any sort have generated such emotions.

We are doing our utmost to disabuse the minds of even the greatest sceptic, by ensuring the integrity of our systems, processes, and procedures. We are scientifically conducting a thorough integrity test of the voting platform, and have same duly certified.

I only wish to assure our colleagues and members, to trust that this year’s election shall be void of those challenges. We have insisted in the process of selection of the Election Service Provider, that in spite of our technical assessment, they provide certified attestation of the integrity of the voter platform which they have happily significantly enhanced over the last two years. Nevertheless, ECNBA will still, in line with its constitutional mandate, give further assurance to stakeholders by hopefully having a reputed global third party, conduct vulnerability assessments and tests on the voting platform to assure all of the processes and eventual outcome.

We thank all the candidates for their cooperation so far, and appeal to them to ensure full cooperation all through the process to the end. We also appreciate the cooperation of our dear members and distinguished colleagues for their engagement with the process so far, and continue to assure them all that we shall, by the grace of God, deliver on our mandate, a free, fair and transparent elections 2024.

Thank you Learned Silk.

  • Culled from THISDAY LAWYER

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AFAM OSIGWE STORMS UMUAHIA FOR ‘REMUNERATION CHAT’

NEWS RELEASE

“Safeguarding Legal Practice: Afam Osigwe, SAN Advocates for Better Remuneration of Lawyers at the Remuneration Chat with Lawyers in Umuahia”

The Chairman of the NBA Remuneration Committee, Afam Osigwe, SAN, had an insightful and comprehensive discussion on Friday, 7th June 2024, with our colleagues of the Nigerian Bar Association, Umuahia Branch, on the crucial need to enforce and abide by the provisions of the Remuneration Order 2023.

During the session tagged Remuneration Chat, Afam Osigwe, SAN, emphasized the importance of adhering to the stipulated guidelines to ensure fair and equitable compensation within the legal profession. He highlighted the challenges faced by legal practitioners in terms of remuneration and underscored how the Remuneration Order 2023 addresses these issues comprehensively.

He also provided detailed explanations on the various aspects of the Remuneration Order, ensuring that our colleagues fully understood its implications and benefits. He encouraged active participation and collaboration among members to uphold these standards, thereby fostering a more sustainable and professional legal environment.

This engagement was not only informative but also a call to action for all members to commit to the principles outlined in the Remuneration Order 2023, ensuring that the profession continues to thrive with integrity and fairness.

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FRIENDS HAIL AFAM OSIGWE AT HONORARY FOOTBALL TOURNEY

NEWS RELEASE

AFAM OSIGWE, SAN: A LEADER WE CAN TRUST – FRIENDS HAIL HIM AT HONORARY FOOTBALL TOURNAMENT IN ABIA STATE

Friends of Afam Osigwe, SAN, organized a football tournament in Aba yesterday, Saturday 8th June 2024, in honor of the Chairman of the NBA Remuneration Committee, Mazi Afam Osigwe, SAN. This event was a remarkable gathering that celebrated both sportsmanship and the outstanding contributions of Mazi Afam Osigwe to the legal profession in Nigeria.

The tournament was not only a display of athletic prowess but also a testament to the unity and camaraderie among lawyers from various branches of the Nigerian Bar Association in Abia State, including Umuahia, Ohafia, Aba, Ukwa, and Isialangwa.

The football match drew enthusiastic participation from lawyers across these branches, showcasing their dedication to both their profession and communal activities. The event highlighted the significance of a balance between professional duties and extracurricular engagements, promoting physical fitness and stress relief among legal practitioners.

Shortly after the football match, the players were hosted to a grand reception. This post-match gathering provided an opportunity for the participants to unwind and celebrate their efforts in a relaxed and convivial atmosphere. The reception was a grand affair, marked by camaraderie and mutual appreciation, further emphasizing the strong sense of community among the lawyers and their shared respect for Mazi Afam Osigwe, SAN.

By organizing this tournament, the friends of Afam Osigwe, SAN, paid tribute to his exceptional leadership and unwavering commitment to the legal profession. Mazi Afam Osigwe, SAN, has made indelible contributions to the profession, amongst other things, through his role as Chairman of the NBA Remuneration Committee, where he has tirelessly worked and advocated to ensure fair and equitable compensation for lawyers. This tournament served as a fitting acknowledgment of his efforts, reinforcing the respect and admiration he enjoys within the legal profession.

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SABASTINE ANYIA LAUDS NBA MINNA, MAKURDI CHAIR ON VICTORY

NEWS RELEASE

CONGRATULATIONS NBA MAKURDI BRANCH

Sabastine Anyia congratulates the brand new Executive Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association Makurdi branch led by the amiable Chairman, our own TERNA J. YAJI who was overwhelmingly elected by the good people of NBA, Makurdi branch on the 8th day of June , 2024.

My Chair, the good people of NBA Makurdi branch spoke with one voice because of your track record. You are a comely fellow, a great organizer and above all a born leader. You are a true bar man and a selfless person. The Good Lord will see you and your executive committee through. I wish you a rewarding tenure.

I urge you to use this opportunity given to you by your people to write your name in gold. If you need any assistance you can count on me

– Sabastine Anyia Esq.

CONGRATULATIONS! CONGRATULATIONS!! CONGRATULATIONS!!!

Sabastine Anyia congratulates the brand new Executive Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association Minna branch led by the Chairman, our own Mr. Isyaku Barau who was overwhelmingly elected by the good people of NBA Minna Branch on the 7th day of June , 2024.

His words: “My Chair, you have exhibited the qualities of a good leader even before the election. You are a true Bar man and a selfless person. No wonder your people unanimously elected you to lead this prestigious branch. I’m not surprised at your victory”.

He urged the new chairman to use this opportunity given to him by his people to write his name in gold, saying: “I am proud of you!”

Signed
Friday Ewah Esq.

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KELVIN IORZENDA WINS NBA MAKURDI SECRETARY POLL

The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Makurdi Branch election has produced Mr. Kelvin Iorzenda as the new Secretary of the branch.

The election which was keenly contested between the senior lawyer and Mr. Ogizi Valentine saw Iorzenda emerging victorious. It was the only position that was contested for during the election which held today.

At the end of voting which held at the Bar Foyer in Makurdi, Iorzenda polled 73 votes from a total of 153 eligible voters to emerge winner while Ogizi received 64 votes.

The post of Branch Chairman went to Mr. Terna Yaji who was unopposed.

The new Executive Committee will be inaugurated on Wednesday.

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BREAKING: TOBENNA EROJIKWE WRITES ECNBA, RAISES ALARM ON DATA SECURITY, OTHERS

Mr. Tobenna Erojikwe, a leading candidate in the forthcoming Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) presidential election, has raised serious concerns over some issues relating to the election.

In a letter obtained by CITY LAWYER and dated 8th June, 2024, Erojikwe who is also the Chairman of the NBA Institute of Continuing Legal Education, warned that there are potential infractions and lapses that could undermine the credibility of the forthcoming elections.

Addressed to the ECNBA Chairman, the letter is titled “SUNDRY ISSUES AND CONCERNS RELATING TO THE 2024 GENERAL ELECTIONS OF THE NIGERIAN BAR ASSOCIATION.”

While commending the electoral umpire for its “speedy response” to his earlier concerns on the election, Erojikwe stated that the latest letter concerns issues which he finds “disconcerting.”

Noting that guidelines for the election are set out in the NBA Constitution are “sacrosanct” and designed to provide certainty and “eliminate post-electoral conflicts,” Erojikwe stated that “it saddens me to inform you that certain provisions of the Constitution which are critical to the Election have not, and are not being, complied with.”

Failure to provide voting guidelines and a voter list
Erojikwe highlighted the ECNBA’s failure to issue guidelines for electronic voting at least 60 days before the election date, as stipulated by the NBA Constitution. “As of today, the guidelines for electronic voting have not been released. Even more so, members of the association have not been apprised of the platform, if any, to be used for the electronic voting,” he wrote.

Additionally, the candidate pointed out that the ECNBA has not published the full list of eligible NBA voters at least 45 days before the election, as required by the Constitution. “Again, counting from the tentative date of the election, this requirement ought to have been fulfilled no later than June 5, 2024,” Erojikwe stated.

Noting that an electoral process ought to be transparent and collaborative, he stated that it is “disheartening” that this has not been the case.

Data Security Concerns in the Voter Verification Process
Erojikwe also raised alarm as to alleged security vulnerabilities in the ongoing voter verification process. According to his him, “anyone (whether a member of the association or not) can alter the details of any member on the portal simply by having access to the other member’s SCN (Supreme Court Number).”

This current security infrastructure, Erojikwe warned, not only poses data privacy issues but also raises “a very glaring concern regarding malicious alteration of voter information and tampering with the voting process.”

Call for Transparency and Safeguards
In light of these issues, Erojikwe has called upon the ECNBA to take immediate steps to address the concerns and ensure a credible electoral process. His recommendations include:

  • Promptly publishing voting guidelines and the electronic voting platform in compliance with the Constitution.
  • Allowing candidates and stakeholders to scrutinize the integrity of the process and platform.
  • convening a meeting of candidates and stakeholders to discuss challenges and provide assurances about the ECNBA’s preparedness.
  • Implementing measures to safeguard unauthorised access to members’ data during and after the verification exercise.
  • Actively warding off any external interference or involvement in the electoral process.

Erojikwe urged the electoral umpire to “take steps to speedily address the issues in this letter,” adding that he was desirous to provide “any further assistance that you may require.”

The ECNBA is yet to respond to the letter as at the time of this report.

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‘ENFORCE LPA, LOCAL CONTENT ACT TO ENHANCE LAWYERS’ EARNINGS’ – TOBENNA EROJIKWE

NEWS RELEASE

Remuneration and Enhanced Earning Capacity: Tobenna Erojikwe Harps on the Need to Enforce Provisions of the LPA, the Local Content Act, at the NBA Osogbo Branch

At the recent Knowledge Sharing Session of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Osogbo Branch meeting, Tobenna Erojikwe, the Chairman of the Governing Board of the NBA Institute of Continuing Legal Education (NBA-ICLE), delivered a thought-provoking discourse on the multiple pillars required to enhance the remuneration and earning capacity of lawyers in Nigeria.

Tobenna Erojikwe’s address focused on the critical need to protect the legal profession’s practice space from encroachment, emphasising the importance of well-ordered training and developing a regimen that ensures Nigerians habitually patronise Nigerian lawyers. His insightful remarks underscored the NBA’s pivotal role in enforcing the provisions of the Legal Practitioners Act (LPA), the Local Content Act, and other legislation that safeguards the earning capacity of Nigerian legal professionals.

“The legal profession is the bedrock of our justice system, and its sustainability is paramount,” Erojikwe asserted. “By enforcing the provisions of the LPA, the Local Content Act, and other relevant legislation, we can fortify our position as the preeminent legal service providers in Nigeria, thus enhancing our earning potential.”

Tobenna Erojikwe’s call to action resonated deeply with the attendees, highlighting the urgency of protecting the legal profession’s domain and ensuring that Nigerian lawyers are the preferred choice for legal services within the country. He emphasised the need for a concerted effort to uphold the highest standards of professional competence and ethics, thereby instilling confidence in the capabilities of Nigerian legal practitioners.

“Our earning capacity is intrinsically linked to the trust and confidence our clients place in us,” Tobenna Erojikwe stated. “By safeguarding our practice space and upholding the highest professional standards, we not only secure our livelihood but also contribute to the overall growth and development of our nation’s legal system.”

Tobenna Erojikwe’s insightful discourse ignited discussions and garnered widespread support for the NBA’s efforts to enforce the relevant legal provisions. As a thought leader in the legal community, his advocacy for visionary policies and progressive strategies continues to shape the discourse, paving the way for a more prosperous and empowered legal profession in Nigeria.

The NBA Osogbo Branch, inspired by Tobenna Erojikwe’s insights, now stands poised to take proactive steps to protect the practice space of Nigerian lawyers and ensure fair remuneration practices. This proactive approach aims to fortify the legal profession, fostering an environment where talent, dedication, and adherence to the highest professional standards are duly recognised and rewarded.

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HOW AFAM OSIGWE ENDEARED HIMSELF TO NBA ANAOCHA BRANCH

BY KAINE ANANWUNE

NBA, Anaocha Branch as the 108th branch of the Nigerian Bar Association is amongst the youngest, yet one of the most vibrant branches.

Anaocha Branch was created at the twilight of the administration of Chief Okey Wali, SAN in April, 2014 while Chief Emeka Obegolu, SAN held sway as the then General Secretary of NBA.

At the official inauguration of NBA Anaocha Branch on 1st May, 2014, Mazi Afam Osigwe, SAN was amongst the retinue of guests who honoured our branch with their esteemed presence. From the days of our humble beginning at the Chief Magistrate Court, Neni, Mazi Afam Osigwe, SAN has been very consistent in fostering a cordial relationship with NBA, Anaocha Branch. The list of all guests and attendees who graced the said inauguration ceremony is still available till date as it forms a part of our history as a Branch.

NBA Anaocha Branch has immensely benefited from the wealth of knowledge/experience of Mazi Osigwe, SAN. I would illustrate this with just one example. Sometime in the year 2017, barely 3 years after the inauguration of Anaocha branch, we had this inclination to embark on the construction of our Bar Center Project. Then we had 2 options: either to approach the Chief Judge of Anambra State for a free parcel of Land within the then High Court Complex which was under construction at Agulu; or to source/purchase a fresh parcel of land independent of the High Court/Judiciary. Of course the first option (approaching the Chief Judge) was far easier to accomplish and some of our bar leaders also reckoned that it would be a thing of prestige to have our Bar Center appointed within the court precinct as obtainable in other older branches. The argument as to where to cite the Bar Center coalesced into a very tensed debate which lingered for months and almost threatened the peace of our fledgling branch. As fate would have it, in one of our monthly meetings then in the year 2017, Providence brought Mazi Osigwe, SAN to our meeting at the Neni Magistrate Court and thereupon, Mazi became privy to the raging “Bar-Center debate”. Mazi Osigwe SAN gave us a very simple advice to the effect that: an efficient Bar must be divorced from the control of the State; that citing our bar Center within the Court premises would be tantamount to submitting our independence to the judiciary. Shortly after this episode there was a JUSUN strike and the Chief Magistrate Court, Neni (Our meeting Venue) was locked up by the striking judiciary staff. This singular event made us to fully appreciate the advise of Mazi Osigwe SAN.

NBA Anaocha Branch would later cite her Bar Center on a privately acquired parcel of land generously donated to the Branch by Chief Emeka Obegolu, SAN. In his usual manner, Mazi Afam Osigwe was physically present in Obeledu, Anaocha Local Government Council in the year 2018, when the ground breaking ceremony of the bar Center was undertaken.

Upon completion of the project;s on 11th February, 2022 when the Bar Center (Chief Charles E.N Obegolu Bar Center) was commissioned by Mr. Olumide Akpata, the 30th President of the NBA, Mazi Afam Osigwe, SAN again honoured our branch with his dignified presence. Though he may have forgotten the advice he gave to us in 2017, but the accruing benefits are profound, far reaching and enduring till this day.

The friendship between with Mazi Osigwe SAN and NBA, Anaocha Branch goes beyond “bar politics” as Mazi has not only attended, but also actively participated in nearly all the special events organized by our branch to which he was invited.

Very recently, precisely on 19th October, 2023, NBA Anaocha Branch had a memorial lecture in honour of Chief Charles E.N Obegolu (the gentleman in whose name our Bar Center was christened); Mazi Afam Osigwe alongside other eminent senior lawyers of Anambra extraction were invited to X-ray and discuss practice and procedures on how to leverage the new Multi Door Court House Law of Anambra state, 2022 towards a time-efficient justice delivery in our jurisdiction. While some other invited guests/discussants preferred to send proxies and apologies, Mazi Afam Osigwe, SAN attended by himself and made a robust presentation and recommendations which were highly commended by the Chief Judge of Anambra State alongside other guests and participants.

During my time as the Chairman of The Committee of Chairmen of NBA Branches in Anambra State (October- December, 2021), I was opportune to interact with my other Chairmen of the respective NBA Branches in Anambra State, then I learnt that Mazi Osigwe, SAN also enjoys a formidable goodwill from the other 7 Branches of NBA in Anambra State. In the words of Mazi Osigwe, SAN, “no NBA Branch is a small Branch”; he accords respect and due recognition to all the branches and nurtures the friendly relationship he has built with the respective branches over the years. Hence he is a household name that needs no introduction.

One of the indelible reasons why Mazi Afam Osigwe would forever be remembered and cherished by all is the fact that his tenure under the administration of Augustine Alegeh, SAN gave a voice and a vote to every practicing lawyer in Nigeria. The universal suffrage which we all enjoy in the NBA was made possible by the Alegeh/Osigwe Administration (2014-2016).

  • KAINE ANANWUNE, ESQ. was Chairman of NBA Anaocha Branch between 2020 and 2022

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TOBENNA EROJIKWE ADVOCATES EQUITABLE REMUNERATION AND CAPACITY BUILDING

NEWS RELEASE

Tobenna Erojikwe Advocates for Equitable Remuneration and Capacity Building in the Legal Profession at the NBA Onitsha Meeting

In a thought-provoking knowledge-sharing session at the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Onitsha Monthly Meeting, Tobenna Erojikwe, a partner at The Law Crest LLP and Chairman of the Governing Board of the NBA Institute of Continuing Legal Education (NBA-ICLE), addressed the critical issue of the earning capacity of lawyers and capacity building for economic empowerment.

Erojikwe’s insightful address delved into the hurdles faced by young lawyers and those specialising in less lucrative legal fields, emphasising the necessity for a comprehensive and impartial approach to remuneration. He stressed the potential deterrent effect of the current system on attracting and retaining top legal talent, both for those considering a legal career and those already in practice.

“The legal profession should be inclusive, irrespective of one’s financial background,” Erojikwe asserted. “We must attract and retain the sharpest legal minds by providing them with a level playing field for a successful career.”

Erojikwe’s expertise in legal and economic matters shed light on the pressing need for equitable remuneration practices within the Nigerian legal community. His thought-provoking discourse served as a catalyst, reigniting efforts to address this issue and ensure the sustainability and accessibility of the legal profession for all practitioners.

Moreover, Erojikwe emphasised the pivotal role of capacity building and upskilling legal professionals to empower them economically. In the face of significantly altered economic circumstances, Nigeria’s legal community faces the challenge of reassessing its remuneration practices and investing in continuous professional development.

Erojikwe’s enlightening discourse resonated deeply with the attendees, sparking discussions and garnering widespread support for proactive steps towards a more equitable and inclusive future for lawyers across the Onitsha Branch and beyond.

The NBA Onitsha Branch, inspired by Erojikwe’s insights, now stands ready to take decisive action, implementing measures to address the earning capacity of lawyers and prioritising capacity-building initiatives. This proactive approach aims to fortify the legal profession, fostering an environment where talent and dedication are rewarded, regardless of financial background or specialisation.

As a thought leader in the legal community, Erojikwe’s advocacy for visionary policies and progressive strategies continues to shape the discourse, paving the way for a more resilient, equitable, and economically empowered legal profession in Nigeria.

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