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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ABA BRANCH ELECTION ABORTED, NBA VP LINDA BALA, OTHERS BLAST APPEAL C’TE

The election for a new leadership for Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Aba Branch could not hold yesterday due to disruptions done by appeals against the qualification of some candidates. The election was postponed to today.

Meanwhile, past and present NBA National Officers have come down hard on the  NBA Branch Elections Appeal Committee (East) for its decision to bar fiery General Council of the Bar (GCB) member, Mr. Chinonye Onwere from contesting today’s chairmanship election. The decision leaves only Mr. Charles Onuchukwu as the presumptive Branch Chairman-elect.

The incumbent chairman of the branch, Mr. Innocent Egwu told CITY LAWYER that challenges arising from late production of ballot papers due to the Appeal Committee decisions led to the postponement of the election.

The Appeal Committee had in a controversial decision barred Onwere from the chairmanship poll on the basis that he has allegedly held two elective offices before gunning for the position of branch chairman.

CITY LAWYER gathered that the committee had stated that “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.”

But NBA First Vice President Linda Bala; her predecessor-in-office, Mr. John Aikpokpo-Martins; immediate past NBA Publicity Secretary Kunle Edun and Egwu sharply disagreed with the committee.

According to information obtained by CITY LAWYER, Aikpokpo-Martins had fired the first salvo when the matter trended on the exclusive “Present and Past National Officers” WhatsApp platform.

Responding to the committee’s decision, the estranged Chairman of NBA Section on Public Interest and Development Law (NBA-SPIDEL) wrote: “Wonderful! How can membership of a caretaker committee (by Onwere’s nominator) be deemed as holding office as a branch officer! How can a position held in 2009 come into reckoning in the determination of a 5-year period! The problem in the NBA is that almost no one is interested in the affairs of the association. So sad.”

On her part, Bala responded on her verified WhatsApp handle, saying: “Gentlemen Good Morning Sirs. The 5-year period is counted from the date you last relinquished the office. Being a Chairman of a caretaker committee is definitely not inclusive. For the purposes of Branch Elections only Branch held positions are in issue not National. For the National only Nationally held elections are counted & 10 years is calculated from the date you ceased to be a National Officer. My take, Sirs.”

Also expressing shock at the decision of the Appeal Committee, Edun wrote: “I cannot believe what I read that happened. Seriously, can this be true?”

Berating the Appeal Committee for the hammer that fell on his close associate at the GCB, Aikpokpo-Martins described the decision as “unacceptable and quite unfortunate. It smells more of a hatchet job.” While Aikpokpo-Martins is the Coordinator of the amorphous ‘Representatives of the NBA to the General Council of the Bar’ which is at loggerheads with NBA President, Mr. Yakubu Maikyau SAN, Onwere is the Secretary.

Aikpokpo-Martins also wrote: “However, I do not agree respectfully, sir, that a member of the General Council of the Bar is a national officer and should be barred from holding national office. A member of the General Council of the Bar is just like a member of the Body of Benchers. He is not a national officer. Great injustice has been occasioned by the Eastern Zone Appeals Committee.

“The appeals committee has no jurisdiction to sit over a petition except it is an appeal arising from a decision of the branch electoral committee from a petition made to the branch electoral committee by a known petitioner.

“We must not destroy the NBA for petty reasons and for the fact that you have an opportunity to sit in judgment over your colleagues.”

Egwu noted that Onwere “was not informed of any pending petition against him not to talk of being asked to respond to the petition. We were at a requisitioned Extra-Ordinary General Meeting of the branch when the WhatsApp message on the decision came in. Immediately I read it to the house, Onwere became very agitated; he could not believe it, he was in a kind of trance as to whether such was indeed happening in real life.

“Some have argued that it seems like a hatchet job. It is certainly a very disturbing development. The natural thing is to have given him an opportunity to respond to any petition against him. That he is holding a position at the national level is not one of the grounds for disqualification under the Uniform Bye-laws. In fact, the NBA Constitution did not list membership of the General Council of the Bar as one of the offices that constitute a bar even at the national level.

“Again, his nominator was merely a member of the Branch Caretaker Committee which was peopled by past officers of the branch and mandated to rescue the branch during its crisis period. The committee was in office for less than two years. How can his answering a call to rescue the branch as a past branch officer be held against him and his nominee?”

Onwere’s nominator, one E. E. Agwulonu, was alleged to have “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”.

Agwulonu denies the claim. His words: “For the avoidance of doubt, the last elected position I held in the Branch was the position of NEC REP(which ordinarily wasn’t even an elective position then) and this was between 2007 to 2009.
The position of member of caretaker committee which I held about Five years ago was never elective position and I was even appointed in absentia and it was at inaugural meeting of the said committee which comprised only past chairmen of the Branch and all former National officers of the Branch. As Victor Nwaugo pointed out the caretaker position lasted for less than one year and cannot by any stretch of the imagination translate into a tenure of office in NBA Aba Branch which is a complete two years. How can a period between 2009 to 2020 be interpreted to mean a period of Five years.”

The Appeal Committee had stated that the provision of Article 6(3) “is quite explicit” as it provides as a disqualifying factor thus : “No member of a branch shall occupy the same office for more than two (2) years and any member who has held elective offices as a branch officer for two (2) terms shall not be eligible to contest for a branch office until at least five (5) years after his /her tenure of office “.

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VACANCY: IKOYI LAGOS LAW FIRM WANTS YOUNG LAWYER URGENTLY

THE FIRM
 The Law Office is a full-service law firm situated at Ikoyi, Lagos.

THE POSITION
 Associate

QUALIFICATIONS
 1-3 years post-call

SKILLS
 The candidate must possess excellent litigation skill, but will also be required to do Solicitor’s work

SALARY
 Attractive

HOW TO APPLY
 Interested candidates should email legaljobs77@gmail.com.

VERY IMPORTANT: Please ensure that SUBJECT field reads “IKOYI LAGOS LAW FIRM WANTS LITIGATOR URGENTLY.”

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Sunday, June 30, 2024. Interviews to hold first week in July.

Please note that only shortlisted applicants will be contacted.

POSTSCRIPT: This law firm has been VERIFIED by CITY LAWYER.

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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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EXCLUSIVE: HOW LAWYER AWOKE WAS RELEASED BY DSS (VIDEO/PHOTOS)

Facts have emerged as to how embattled lawyer Pius Awoke was released by the Department of State Services (DSS).

CITY LAWYER has now obtained images as to how Awoke was brought to NBA Headquarters by DSS operatives and handed over to the leadership of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA).

The images show an excited NBA President hugging the embattled lawyer who was detained by the DSS for nearly three years without trial.

Though former Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Prof. Chidi Odinkalu had chided Maikyau for celebrating Awoke’s release, Bar leaders seemed ecstatic when three DSS operatives delivered Awoke and his cousin Onyiba Emmanuel Chinonso, a computer science student of Ebonyi State University, at the hand-over ceremony.

CITY LAWYER recalls that Maikyau had in a statement hailed the release of Awoke following his interactions with the DSS.

Below is the full text of Maikyau’s statement.

NOTICE OF THE RELEASE OF PIUS I. AWOKE, ESQ FROM DETENTION

Distinguished Colleague,

As I indicated in the course of the National Executive Council (NEC) Meeting held on 20 June 2024, I am pleased to inform you that I have, today, 21 June 2024, secured the release of our colleague, Pius I. Awoke, Esq of Abakaliki Branch from the custody of the Department of State Security (DSS). He was released alongside one Onyiba Emmanuel Chinonso, a computer science student of Ebonyi State University, who was arrested and detained with Mr. Awoke.

Both Messrs Awoke and Chinonso will be delivered to me at the NBA Secretariat tomorrow 22 June 2024.

I will continue to update you on further developments on this matter.

Please accept, as always, the assurances of my esteemed professional regards.

Yakubu Chonoko Maikyau, OON, SAN
PRESIDENT

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ODINKALU, OKUTEPA RAP MAIKYAU FOR HAILING LAWYER’S RELEASE BY DSS

Former Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Prof. Chidi Odinkalu and fiery Bar Leader, Mr. Jibrin Okutepa SAN have stated that there is nothing to celebrate over the release of embattled lawyer, Mr. Pius Awoke after three years detention by Department of State Services (DSS) without charge.

Awoke was released along with his cousin Onyiba Emmanuel Chinonso, a computer science student at Ebonyi State University. Both detainees were whisked away by DSS operatives on 27th July, 2021 along Abuja -Lokoja highway while returning to their Abakaliki base after attending the trial of detained Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) leader, Mr. Nnamdi Kanu at the Federal High Court, Abuja.

CITY LAWYER gathered that the detainees were held despite a court judgment directing the DSS to arraign Awoke and nine others within a month of September 1, 2023.

Speaking via his verified Twitter/X handle, Odinkalu wrote: “Alao Aka Basorun will be turning in his grave at the idea that @NigBarAssoc is celebrating triumphantly the release of anyone, least of all a lawyer, from detention for 3 yrs without charge. If @YCMaikyauSAN can’t defend the #RuleOfLaw, he shd abdicate.”

Odinkalu added that “I am glad that Mr. Awoke is out of detention by @OfficialDSSNG after 3 yrs but it is silly of @NigBarAssoc or its president, @YCMaikyauSAN to claim this as achievement. When a lawyer can be disappeared like this for no reason, we shd all be alarmed.”

The leading human rights activist stated that an NBA that is fit for purpose should show collective indignation that such a situation can happen to any citizen, adding that Maikyau should not claim credit for Awoke’s release.

In a post endorsed to CITY LAWYER, Okutepa stated that “There is nothing to celebrate for the release of any Nigerian citizen, much more a lawyer, from detention after three years after arrest.”

Odinkalu stated that “It shows how our law enforcement agents are trampling and have trampled upon the liberties and freedom of hapless and defenceless Nigerians. I am not one of those celebrating the release of Pius Awoke Esq.

“Rather, I weep that as lawyers, we have collectively and individually failed to protect and defend ourselves against and from the unlawful invasions of not only the liberties of Nigerians but also the liberties and freedoms of Nigerian lawyers by our overzealous security agencies and indeed the institutions of justice put in place by law to protect and secure the liberties of all Nigerians.

“There are many Pius Awokes in detentions in Nigerian. Some well-connected and well to do individuals have cornered our institutions of justice to pervert the cause of justice. Money has become the most basic consideration to secure the illegal detentions of Nigerians in these institutions. We have institutions that denied remedies to unlawful invasions of our rights as Nigerians, and nothing may happen.

“Many innocent souls have died in unlawful detentions because they have nobody to speak for them. Most of our detentions camps are like warehouses where human beings are dumped like rooten goods and chattels. There is no humanity in most Nigerians working in these institutions.

“As an association, NBA has branches across Nigeria. These branches have human rights committees. Rather than promoting the rule of law, we have turned our noble association to petty political association that fights mundane issues and divisions, and we have forgotten the core mandate of the association.

“Why should Pius Awoke Esq and others still in detention be in detention without immediate remedies. It shows how wicked we have turned our institutions of justice to in Nigeria. We seem to embrace injustice as our ways of life. I am sure in the places where these institutions of justice operate, we have lawyers who are members of NBA thereat.

“We experience more acts of terrible wickedness in the hands of some lawyers operating in those institutions. What have we done as professional association to tame our members who misuse their powers and positions to inflict injuries on the liberties of Nigerians and lawyers.

“We have done nothing to curb these wicked acts against ourselves.

“Our well-being and welfare as lawyers should be the upper most priorities to our professional association. But it appears the reverse is on the increase. I weep for the professional association that devotes more time to chasing shadows than the substance of the interests and well-being of its members.

“My only consolation is that Pius Awoke Esq is alive to tell his side of the stories. To that extent, I congratulate Pius for surviving the harrowing and excruciatingly unhygienic experience for about three years in detention.”

CITY LAWYER recalls that Maikyau had in a statement hailed the release of Awoke following his interractions with the DSS.

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TOBENNA EROJIKWE LAUDS MAIKYAU FOR LAWYER’S RELEASE BY DSS

NEWS RELEASE

Tobenna Erojikwe Lauds NBA President, Y.C. Maikyau, SAN, for Securing the Release of Lawyer Pius Awoke, Esq., from SSS Detention

Tobenna Erojikwe, the Chairman of the NBA-ICLE and candidate for the presidency of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), has commended NBA President Y.C. Maikyau, SAN, OON, for his successful efforts in securing the release of lawyer Pius Awoke, Esq, from the custody of the State Security Services (SSS), also known as the Department of State Services (DSS).

In a statement personally issued and signed by him, Erojikwe said, “I have just received word that our Learned Colleague- Pius Awoke, Esq., has been released by the Department of Security Services (DSS) following the intervention of the Y.C. Maikyau SAN-led Nigerian Bar Association.” He added that Awoke was released alongside “Onyiba Emmanuel Chinonso,” a computer science student at Ebonyi State University who was arrested and detained with Mr. Awoke.”

Erojikwe praised Maikyau, stating, “I wish to commend President Y.C. Maikyau SAN, OON, for the great lengths he went towards securing their release and for rising up to the commitment he made to members of the Association and Nigerians at large towards this outcome.”

The successful intervention, according to Erojikwe, “underscores the very pivotal role of the NBA at the intersection between Government and citizen relations.” He emphasised that “a virile NBA is a must-have in our continued quest to hold Government to account and to negotiate the civil liberties of the Nigerian people.”

Erojikwe, who is campaigning for the NBA presidency, used this opportunity to outline his vision for the association. He declared, “The Bar Association I intend to lead, is one where #NoLawyer, and indeed, #NoCitizen of our Country will be left behind in the protection of their inalienable human rights and enforcement of the breach of same.”

He views this commitment not just as a moral imperative but as fundamental to the NBA’s purpose, stating, “Doing this will not just be a moral obligation but also a response to the NBA’s motto of Promoting the Rule of Law—the raison d’être of its mandate.”

This incident serves as a reminder of the ongoing challenges faced by legal professionals and citizens in Nigeria, as well as the critical role played by the NBA in safeguarding civil liberties and upholding the rule of law.

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‘I ENDORSE IKWUAZOM, A LEADER WHO LEADS BY EXAMPLE’ – ONIGEGEWURA

 

The Man I Call C. I.

By Olanrewaju Onigegewura

To most people in the legal circle in Nigeria, he is Learned Senior Advocate of Nigeria. Among the Lagos Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association, he’s celebrated as a reformative former Chairman. Nationally, he serves as the indefatigable chairman of the SARC for the Nigerian Bar Association, and within the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria, he’s recognized as a distinguished Fellow and a constant Faculty member.

However, to Onigegewura, he is simply C.I.

I did not coin the initials. For those conversant with the practice amongst Litigators, it is customary to refer to one’s colleagues by their initials. Therefore, in our days at Aluko & Oyebode, Tunde Fagbohunlu SAN was JBF, Adeniyi Ayodele Adegbonmire SAN (now a Senator) was AAA, Tokunbo Wahab (now Lagos State Commissioner for the Environment) was TW, I was LA, while Chukwuka Ikwuazom SAN was CI. In the next one year, I would have known CI for two decades. During this period, C.I. has consistently proven himself to be remarkably dependable, supremely focused, exceptionally industrious, and absolutely reliable.

When I joined the Tier 1 law firm of Aluko & Oyebode as an Associate upon my return from the University of Warwick, I indicated interest in Tax practice. The immediate challenge was that CI had already established a deserved reputation in the Firm as the Tax expert. Others in similar situation would have frowned at a newcomer encroaching onto their turf, not CI. When Mr. Gbenga Oyebode, who was Managing Partner of the Firm at the time, introduced me to CI as the new Tax expert, CI beamed with his characteristic smile and welcomed me to the fold. This gesture set the tone for a relationship based on mutual respect from the outset.

He was impressed with the fact that the thesis for both my first and second degrees focused on Taxation. On my part, I was more impressed with the fact that someone who did not do Taxation in the University had developed himself to become an expert in the Law of Taxation in just a couple of years. My respect for him was tremendous. That’s CI for you: supremely focused.

CI was and is still generous with his mental resources. He was of tremendous assistance in converting my theoretical knowledge of Taxation to practical application. I can’t recall any instance of unhealthy rivalry between us. We shared ideas and knowledge and I am always impressed with his analytical approach to issues. I want to believe that if he had not studied Law, he would have made it as a surgeon. Such is his forensic grasp of issues that one could not but marvel at the surgical manner he deals with legal and tax issues.

Many years later, I was privileged to serve at sub-national level in my field of specialisation; Taxation. Part of my remit was to organise tax training for the Internal Revenue Service personnel. CI proved to be a dependable and invaluable resource person. Anytime any of my invited faculty failed, for some reasons, to show up, CI was my default lecturer. With just a phone call, CI would drop whatever he was doing to speak on any topic I selected for him.

Our deep friendship and brotherhood notwithstanding, we have had cause to appear against each other in contested litigation. Anyone seeing us in court arguing legal points could be forgiven for assuming that we were sworn enemies. On other occasions, we have also collaborated beautifully to the benefit of our respective clients. I recall a Tax case we did before Justice RIB Adebiyi of the High Court of Lagos State. CI appeared with Peters Agboola for the Claimant, and I appeared for the Lagos Internal Revenue Service. The stage was set for an epic battle. However, after the exchange of pleadings, CI and myself sat down together and discussed the issues. That was the end of the case. It was resolved amicably. CI’s clients were happy and Lagos State Government was happy. This epitomises his results driven approach that everyone talks about.

As young tax practitioners, CI suggested that we needed to deepen our knowledge of Taxation. I informed Prof Abiola Sanni SAN who was my Tax Consultant. And that’s how CI and I became members of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria. Today, it is gratifying that we have both become Fellows of that distinguished professional institute.

I was serving at the national level when CI came to Abuja one day to see me. He told me of his intention to serve our home branch of the NBA as the Chairman. Knowing his passion for service and reform, I did not hesitate before endorsing his candidacy. He was massively supported by my former constituency at the Ministry of Justice in Alausa. The rest is history. CI served creditably and passionately, and I believe that the Premier Bar is today all the better for his administration’s massive accomplishment.

To CI, public office is nothing but a platform for service. It is not for personal acclaim, self-glorification or for the putting of one’s face on program fliers. To CI, the essence of being a member of an association is the value he brings to the society. In this, CI has manifested himself. I used to tease him that if I wanted to do a Deed Poll to change his middle name, the only befitting name I would give him is ‘Value Added’.

CI is committed to adding value to whatever project he is committed to. I recall when he confided in me that he wanted to attain the exalted rank of Senior Advocate. The terrain was rough, the challenges were impregnable, and the assignment appeared daunting.

I jokingly asked him if his late dad was a SAN or a JSC. Despite the jokes, I was confident that CI was exceedingly prepared for the journey. Thus, it came as no surprise when I saw the name of my tax partner on the list of successful applicants for the rank alongside our brother, Abdul Muhammed. Eminently qualified, and richly deserving of the prestigious award. We are all products of Aluko & Oyebode, only the best is good enough!

One of the indices for benchmarking a leader is the quality of his appointees, after all, it is only the deep that can call to the deep. In this regard, I believe that CI’s appointment as the Chairman of Security Agencies Relations Committee of the NBA is nothing but inspired. With CI at the helms of the Committee, SARC has continued to foster cooperation and goodwill between the Bar and the security agencies across the federation. CI has been at the forefront of championing the rights of legal practitioners using his characteristic charm, dedication, and focus. I am certain we all remember the yeoman role he played when Uduak Adams, a learned colleague, was tragically and wrongly accused of kidnapping and subsequently subjected to a horrific act of mob violence.

CI is a lawyer’s lawyer. He is a leader who leads by examples and not precepts. He is a friend whose friendship is blind to tribe and gender. He is the athlete who will not drop the baton when it matters most. He is the player who will not drop the ball at the critical time in the game. He is the type of the leader that the Nigerian Bar Association needs at this time of our national development. It appeared to me that our revered jurist, Justice Oputa had CI in mind in 1997 when His Lordship opined that:

“the Nigerian lawyer of today owes important obligations not only to his/her clients and the Courts but also to his community and to society at large. He can no longer be, or remain a stranger to important developments in the political, economic and social affairs of his community and his country. Today, a far greater and more systematic contribution is expected from you lawyers.”

In my humble view, CI is that lawyer who is not a stranger to important developments in the political, economic and social affairs of Nigeria. CI is that lawyer who is committed to providing systematic contributions not only to the NBA but to Nigeria at large.

Onigegewura is my name, and a Man Like Chuka is the Man that the NBA needs.

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NBA ELECTIONS: ‘HOW THE CANDIDATES WILL FARE,’ BY ADEMILUYI

NOTES ON NBA ELECTIONS – PART 2

My first NOTE on the forthcoming NBA 2024 Elections entitled “WHO WINS NBA PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS 2024?” generated so much heat – applause and criticism alike.

I am not particularly surprised as it is actually my aim to stir a conversation. As I told callers that innudate me with calls, the article is the first in the series of commentaries that I intend to run on the state of the Bar as the elections impend.

One of such callers is my Distinguished Learned Friend, Mayowa Owolabi, a contestant in the last elections in Lagos Branch. After chanting the sobriquet, “FOR IMMEDIATE PRESS RELEASE” which he always hails me with for my incessant and innumerous Press Releases (😆), he went on to contest vigorously my assertion that Bisi Makanjuola, the incumbent Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association, Lagos Branch and my fellow (Senior) Alumnus of the Great Ife Law, beat him in the election in a “dazzling razzmatazz” (my words). In reality, he asserted that he lost only by 1 percent and that Bisi Makanjuola and his humble self have been working together for the progress of the Bar.

Curious readers of the first piece will also observe that the piece mentioned the disqualification of Joyce Oduah. Events have since taken a further shape as Joyce Oduah has accepted her fate and has endorsed Chukwuka Ikwuazom SAN. Clearly, there is an affinity of a sort between the duo, given the break of the former with Olumide Akpata in the latter days of his Presidency. It however becomes an entire issue how the endorsement is of electoral weight in the changing dynamics of the Presidential race by each dawning day.

This series will not limit itself to the Presidential race alone. According to the Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association, while the trio of Chukwuka Nwabueze Ikwuazom SAN, Mazi Afam Josiah Osigwe SAN
and Mr. Tobenna Chigbo Erojikwe were cleared for the presidential race, a total number of 6 candidates were cleared to run for the Office of First Vice President, namely Mr. Bartholomew Aguegbodo, Dr. Gerald Ugochukwu Abonyi, Dr. Promise Wobo Iwezor, Mr. Reginald Iheanyichukwu Ugwuadu, Mr. Sabastine Ubua Anyia and Mr. Soseipiriye Williams.

While one of the leading candidates for the Office of the First Vice-President is a former Governor of the Eastern Bar Forum, the organic platform of lawyers from the Eastern Zone extraction, it remains a puzzle in the minds of analysts whether the Eastern Bar Forum is still a relevant clearing-house of candidates in the face of this long list of her members vying for the same position.

For the Office of the Second Vice President, the ECNBA cleared Mrs. Bolatumi Olasunbo Animashaun of NBA Lagos Branch and Mr. Pius Idemudia Oiwoh of NBA Benin Branch. While both branches fall within the Western Zone of the Nigerian Bar Association, it is a matter of introspection for pundits how the candidate from Benin Branch will defeat a candidate from the “Almighty” Lagos Branch and a sole candidate for that matter – in actual fact, a former Vice Chairman of the Branch to boot.

For the office of the Third Vice President, the persons of Mr. Michael Olarenwaju Olorunmola and Mrs. Zainab Aminu Garba have been cleared. While Olorunmola is of Lokoja Branch, thereby qualified as a Member of the Nigerian Bar Association in the Northern Zone, it is altogether another factor how tribe and tongues will play a role in the election into this office.

For the Office of General Secretary, the duo of Mr. Abdulwasiu Alfa and Dr. Mobolaji Idris Ojibara of Ilorin Branch have been cleared. This is actually not Ojibara’s first shot. He has contested for the same office in 2018, losing in a close skirmish with his fellow Ilorin Branch brothers to Gunu Taidi (now SAN) in the Presidency of Paul Usoro SAN. It is altogether another thing how his experience will provide him with an edge against his opponent.

For the Office of Assistant General Secretary, Mr. Barnabas Ehi Henry will be slugging it out with Mr. Oluwaseun Aka of Ikorodu Branch, now popularly known as “Seun Aka of Nigeria”. He is also not a first-time contestant, having lost in 2020 elections to Unchenna Nwadialo, daughter of that legal text writer, Nwadialo on Civil Procedure, and a member of NBA Lagos Branch. It is also a keen contest to watch out for.

For the Office of National Treasurer, Mrs. Blessing Imo Udofa-Poromon, Mrs. Caroline Obi and Mr. Chukwuemeka Aloysius Mbamala were cleared.

For the office of Welfare Secretary, Mr. Aigbokhai Oaikhena Osagie, Mr. Ernest Ezindu Uwanaka and Mr. Nyada Auta were also cleared.

For the office of National Publicity Secretary, Mrs. Bridget Ijeoma Edokwe of “Barrister.ng,” Mr. Charles Olawale Ajiboye, the incumbent National Assistant Publicity Secretary and Mr. Ferdinand Afam Naza, the immediate past National Assistant Publicity Secretary were cleared. It will be recalled that Mr. Ferdinand Afam Naza did not hide his tendential roots and attachment to the regional platform of Eastern Bar Forum and rode consciously on her organisational network to beat Charles Ajiboye of Ikeja Branch in the election of 2020. With the Editor of “Barrister .Ng” in the mix, pundits are weighing in the scales how the “magic wand” of being an “EBF boy” will avail Mr. Ferdinand Afam Naza in the forthcoming election.

For the office of Assistant Publicity Secretary, Miss Ebiere Emmanuella Ekpese will be slugging it out with
Mr. Lawrence Ikpehai Ayewa.

Watch out for the next edition as we reel out systematic analysis of the forces at play in the imminent elections.

AYO ADEMILUYI ESQ is a Bar Activist. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of the groups he belongs to in the Nigerian Bar Association. 

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BREAKING: LAWYER REGAINS FREEDOM AFTER 3 YEARS IN DSS CUSTODY

An Abakaliki based lawyer, Mr. Pius Awoke who has languished in the Department of State Services (DSS) detention without trial for almost three years is set to be freed tomorrow.

Awoke was reportedly arrested by DSS operatives on 27th July, 2021 along Abuja -Lokoja highway while returning to his Abakaliki base after attending a matter in the Federal High Court, Abuja.

The news of the impending release of Awoke after frenzied clamour by Bar Leaders was revealed by Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) President, Mr. Yakubu Maikyau SAN in a statement today.

Below is the full text of the statement obtained by CITY LAWYER.

NOTICE OF THE RELEASE OF PIUS I. AWOKE, ESQ FROM DETENTION

Distinguished Colleague,

As I indicated in the course of the National Executive Council (NEC) Meeting held on 20 June 2024, I am pleased to inform you that I have, today, 21 June 2024, secured the release of our colleague, Pius I. Awoke, Esq of Abakaliki Branch from the custody of the Department of State Security (DSS). He was released alongside one Onyiba Emmanuel Chinonso, a computer science student of Ebonyi State University, who was arrested and detained with Mr. Awoke.

Both Messrs Awoke and Chinonso will be delivered to me at the NBA Secretariat tomorrow 22 June 2024.

I will continue to update you on further developments on this matter.

Please accept, as always, the assurances of my esteemed professional regards.

Yakubu Chonoko Maikyau, OON, SAN
PRESIDENT

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NBA PRESIDENCY: ‘WE HAVE NOT ENDORSED ANY CANDIDATE’ – ANAMBRA LAWYERS

RE-ADOPTION OF CANDIDATE FOR THE POSITION OF NBA NATIONAL PRESIDENT BY ANAMBRA STATE INDEGINOUS LAWYERS FORUM (ASILF): A REJOINDER BY ASILF

The attention of Anambra State Indigenous Lawyers Forum (ASILF), an umbrella body of Lawyers of Anambra origin, has been drawn to the news making the rounds online a few days ago. In the said news, it was stated that the Noble Association of the Learned persons from Anambra State had earlier last week endorsed the candidature of Mr. Afam Osigwe, SAN, one of the Aspirants to the office of the National President of the Nigerian Bar Association(NBA).

We want to use this medium to tell the general public or whosoever it might concern to utterly disregard such a Kangaroo endorsement as such endorsement did not emanate from ASILF. We want to let the general public know that as a standing rule in our noble Association comprising Erudite Scholars, Professors of Law, Senior Advocates of Nigeria(SANS) and other eminent members of the Bar, our organisation does not endorse a candidate as a body especially where sons and daughters of Anambra State origin are involved. However, individual members of the Association can do so on their own accord.

Given the present situation on ground, the three aspirants to the coveted office of NBA national President are all our members having come from Anambra State and Nnewi town precisely. They are all eminently qualified to occupy the exalted office of NBA national President and deliver quality leadership to the Bar.

If at all the Association will endorse any of the candidates aspiring to lead the NBA, it should have been Chukwuka Ikwuazom, SAN, who has fully supported and assisted the Association in numerous ways to promote her programmes .

Accordingly, let it be known to the general public that we never endorsed nor do we plan to endorse any of the aspirants contesting for the exalted office of NBA national President.

Therefore, kindly disregard any such publications as same did not emanate from us.

Thank you.

Joe Nwokedi, Esq.
President.

Gerty Emeka-Iloegbunam Esq.
Secretary
ASILF

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NBA ELECTIONS: ECNBA UNVEILS CANDIDATES’ MANIFESTOS

The Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (ECNBA) has published the official magazine for the forthcoming NBA Elections.

A statement by the electoral umpire on the eagerly awaited magazine reads:

Distinguished Colleagues,

As campaigns have commenced in earnest, we are pleased to inform you that the details of the candidates contesting for various positions, including their curriculum vitae and manifestos, have been compiled in an election campaign magazine. Under Parts IV and V of our constitution, this magazine has been published on the NBA and ECNBA websites.

Access the document:
Visit our website and click on the Candidates tab to review the document and get to know the candidates. You may also follow this direct link to access the Candidates Campaign Magazine.

Oluseun Abimbola SAN,                                                                                     Huwaila Muhammad Ibrahim,
Chairman                                                                                                               Secretary

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SABASTINE ANYIA WELCOMES DELEGATES TO EBF CONFAB IN UYO

It’s a privilege and honour to welcome Distinguished Senior Advocates, Benchers, Elders at the Bar, esteemed delegates, learned friends, colleagues, candidates and visitors to Uyo, the land of fulfillment for the Eastern Bar Forum National Conference 2024.

I’m captivated by the theme of this year’s conference “CONTEMPORARY CHALLENGES:: EXPLORING LEGAL AND LEGISLATIVE SOLUTIONS TO ECONOMIC CRISES AND INSECURITY.” This no doubt truly captures the state of the nation and gives us the citizenry the opportunity to proffer solutions to end this self-inflicted agony. As a nation we must come together despite our differences in tribe and tongue and salvage the country from insecurity.

It’s heartwarming to see some of the best brains and Legal GIANTS like our own Dr. Olisa Agbakoba, SAN; our own Senate President, His Excellency Godwin Akpabio as the Keynote Speaker and other great legal ICONS.

Surely this conference shall come out with solutions to our crises and a big statement. It will definitely end in praise.

I wish us all safe travel as we journey to the Eastern part of the country, Uyo to be specific, to attend this very important conference.

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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BREAKING: KIDNAPPERS FREE ENUGU LAWYER AFTER 8 DAYS

Kidnappers have freed an Enugu based lawyer, Mr. Ejike Ugwu after eight days in captivity, CITY LAWYER can authoritatively report.

It was gathered that Ugwu returned home late yesterday, though it was unclear when exactly he was released by his captors. There are strong indications that ransom was paid before his release.

CITY LAWYER had in an exclusive report noted how Ugwu was whisked away by unknown gunmen on June 8, 2024 around Emene on the outskirts of Enugu.

The report led to a flurry of calls by Bar Leaders for the safe return of Ugwu who is believed to be an active member of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Enugu Branch.

Though Ugwu’s telephone was still switched off at press time, the Chairman of NBA Enugu Branch, Chief Charles Nwagbara confirmed his safe return to CITY LAWYER, saying he had been following up the case.

His words: “Yes. I can confirm that our colleague has been released. He returned home late yesterday.”

Asked whether he is hospitalized after the experience, Nwagbara said he was not aware of that, adding: “He is a fit young man. However, if he will visit the hospital, it has to be today, since he returned late yesterday.”

A post obtained by CITY LAWYER and reportedly made by Ugwu on the branch platform reads: “May God bless you all 🙏🏽🙏🏽😭 Your prayers really worked magic … I was the only victim that was not touched, although my eyes, like others, were blindfolded for 8 days and ransom collected.”

It is recalled that some lawyers have fallen victim of kidnappers recently, with NBA branches in Anambra State boycotting the courts to press for the release of one of the lawyers.

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HIGH AGC FEES: ‘YOUNG LAWYERS, KNOW YOUR FRIENDS FOR NBA 2024 ELECTION’

‘REFUSAL TO REDUCE CONFERENCE FEES: YOUNG LAWYERS, KNOW WHO YOU VOTE IN JULY, NBA 2024 ELECTIONS’

BY METI MONDAY UKPEH 

Verily, it will be sympathetic for us to still tie ourselves to the cleaves of the Cliché, that it is “TOO EARLY TO RAISE CONCERNS” about the leadership styles of our present crop of NBA “leaders”.

In a nation where leaders sleep in taverns of comfort, with their protruded bellies stuck to the Western world and their anuses farting on the already fainted masses, our NBA should stand out!

In our country where the executive is self-bedeviled with barons and baronesses of incompetence, sleeping over the cries of security and people-oriented programmes, our NBA should stand out!

In a same nation where our Judiciary is wrapped in a life-draining executive imposition and dependence, hence churning out godforsaken lapses in Orders, Rulings and decisions; yet again, our NBA should stand out!

But comfort is not on my side upon a careful and objective perusal of the scorecard of our NBA, as at the peak of it lies the fates of young lawyers hanging upon the balance of excessive charges for NBA AGC 2024 (#50,000 for Young Lawyers)

Some of the notable factors that have already badly affected young lawyers financially and in general wellbeing within the span of one year include:

* Young lawyers are earnestly still suffering the adverse effect of End-SARS, kidnapping, unknown gunmen, desecration of our courts by security agents, Boko haram, et al, where wanton destruction was unabated and courts were also victims of vandalism; by extension, most courts did not sit, and young lawyers were wrapped within the devil and the deep blue sea! So many tales of young lawyers who could not afford house rents and many more! Such a paradox!

* The JUSUN AND NLC strike often come with glorified consequences. No! Not to the striking workers, but the usual grasses (young lawyers) suffering, badly, for the untoward fight of the two elephants..

* How about Transportation fare to and from the AGC??

* Accommodation during the conference?

* This year’s conference is radically different from previous ones usually held as Young Lawyers will journey to the extravagant city of Lagos in a period in which young lawyers will neither toil nor moil in the courts since they have no other trade than the legal profession. Where will these young ones get these fees from?

How many young lawyers can afford #15,000 in a country where economy is in yonder, desert, asylum and near-perpetual hades, let alone #50,000?

Behold, the amount should be reviewed or varied to affordable sum of #15,000

Our NBA President should brace up, be pro-active and live up to the expectations. Let posterity beckon on this administration with right-hand.

This is also a clarion call on the young lawyers to be vigilant and watchful of the candidates and would-be national officers they vote in July NBA 2024 Elections.

  • UKPEH is an Uyo-based human rights lawyer

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EXCLUSIVE: NBA VP ASKS MAIKYAU TO RESIGN NOW OR …

  • ‘WE’RE WORST NBA REGIME EVER!’

  • NATIONAL OFFICERS DIDN’T BACK SPIDEL EXCO SACK

  • ‘YOU’VE TURNED YOUNG LAWYERS TO BOUNCERS, KEKE DRIVERS’

  • ‘YOU LOST VOICE BY HOBNOBBING WITH GOVERNMENT’

The crisis rocking the leadership of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) came to a head at the weekend with the Second Vice President, Mr. Clement Chukwuemeka asking NBA President, Mr. Yakubu Maikyau to resign.

In a memorandum to the NBA President obtained by CITY LAWYER and dated 17th May, 2024, Chukwuemeka reeled out a litany of complaints against Maikyau and asked the NBA President to suspend all National Officers and function as “sole administrator and chief Executive President of NBA” or resign.

The memorandum was titled “NOTICE OF CONTINUED BREACH OF NBA CONSTITUTION, URGENT NEED TO RETRACE STEPS AND/OR RESIGN” and copied to NBA Trustees, National Executice Council (NEC) members, NBA AGM, and National Officers among others.

Describing Maikyau as “an oppressor and demoralizer,” the Second Vice President stated that upon resignation, Maikyau should hand-over to the First Vice President “to pilot the affairs of the Bar more proactively for the remaining days of our tenure.”

His words: “As the Second Vice President, I have painstakingly cogitated about the happenings and, I have come to the conclusion to request from you to openly jettison other National officers through your usual resolution and take over the management of the Association alone as a sole administrator and chief Executive President of NBA, since you cannot recognize our presence in your decisions, in the event you renege from suspending the entire National officers, I hereby demand that you quietly tender your resignation to pave way for the 1st Vice President to pilot the affairs of the Bar more proactively for the remaining days of our tenure as you have failed in all fours as a leader that supposed to accord deserving respect to your fellow National officers rather has proven to be an oppressor and demoralizer. The choice is yours to take.”

He berated Maikyau for adopting an “autocratic style of leadership,” adding that this “may be bequeathed in worse form to our successors with a hollow and divided NBA at this rate.”

Chukwuemeka recalled forums including the NBA Annual general Meeting (AGM) where he bemoaned that Maikyau had “hijacked/paralysed” his office as Second Vice President and “deliberately took and handed over my responsibilities to your appointed aides on branch affairs thereby breaching section 9(5)(c) (ii)(iii) of NBA constitution as amended which explicitly.”

Citing several alleged breaches of the NBA Constitution, the Second Vice President stated that Maikyau had sidelined the National Officers and continued to run the association as “THE EXECUTIVE PRESIDENT OF NBA” and on the basis of “lawlessness.” He alleged that unlike past NBA Presidents, branches were created and caretaker committees appointed “without any regard nor recourse to the Vice Presidents in charge of same regions.”

Drawing a parallel between the NBA President and Germany’s disgraced Adolf Hitler, Chukwuemeka wrote: “Adolf Hitler was not authoritarian and fascist when he rose to power; he was a normal person and activist, his autocratic style manifested when he could not take advice from any one. Outside NBA you are a jolly good fellow, but since you assumed this position as the President of NBA, you have muscled your way around it through the Executive tendencies’ you have ascribed the name and functions of that office. It will be safe herein to refer you as THE EXECUTIVE PRESIDENT OF NBA going forward.”

The fiery Bar Leader hacked back at the controversy that trailed Maikyau’s qualification to run for NBA Presidency, saying “there were numerous Bar men that were far more qualified than you, but the then ECNBA refused to look at the direction of the constitutional provision of mandatory NEC membership attendance or micro zoning, and hence, paved way for you to pilot the affairs of this noble association.”

Chukwuemeka stated that National Executive Committee meetings have “become a mirage ranging from consistent inconclusiveness of Exco meeting and frequently flouting the compulsory monthly meetings with impunity hence violating the tenets of Section 9(6) of the NBA constitution 2015 as amended in 2021.”

Saying he ought to be appreciated as a staunch critique of Maikyau’s “malnourished policies,” Chukwuemeka stated that the goodwill “hitherto enjoyed has long evaporated and your self-doubting attributes now causes you to feel so insecure and would rather not have other National Officer especially the Vice Presidents to be seen or heard.” He also alleged that the NBA President had sidelined other National Officers and ran the association “with your Aids (sic) and your preferred National officers.”

He knocked Maikyau for allegedly polarizing the Bar and turning a blind eye to the welfare of lawyers, saying that this has turned young lawyers into “Keke NAPEP” (tricycle) drivers and bouncers. His words: “I learnt that various established firms approached you and were willing to take responsibility of paying the young lawyers the stipulated allowances, giving room to accommodating so many young lawyers as possible. Sir, why haven’t these IGBA BOI programme taken off, and lawyers drawing from the access to finance Scheme enabled?”

He accused Maikyau of “hobnobbing with government” and stated that “under your watch we have failed as leaders and the focal voice of the voiceless!”

On the controversial dissolution of the Executive Committee of the NBA Section on Public Interest and Development Law (SPIDEL), he wrote: “The only Section empowered by the constitution (SPIDEL), which helps in this regard and to our overall benefit, despite our intervention before the NEC meeting at Jos to allow a sleeping dog to lie peacefully, you obstinately went ahead to carry out such an unsupported mission without any Exco support except yourself and suspended the leadership of SPIDEL through NEC, in clear and utter disregard to the National Officers: this is grievous and unpardonable as you have only succeeded in making a mockery of the NBA, the NEC is not to be blamed because they (sic) assemblage of our colleagues composed as NEC sees you as the voice of the National officers.”

The National Officer also stated that “the entire Bar sees us as the worst tenure of the NBA to ever existed,” adding that “lawyers are murdered, kidnapped and humiliated yet no concrete stand by the Association is seen other than long and belated letter writing skills showcased on each occasion.”

The NBA President is yet to respond to the letter.

To read the full text of the letter, click here.

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CHUKWUKA IKWUAZOM HAILS NEW NBA MINNA BRANCH EXCO

NEWS RELEASE

Congratulatory Message of Chukwuka Ikwuazom, SAN to the NBA Minna Branch and Newly Elected Executive Committee

Good day, learned silk and distinguished colleagues,

I extend my heartfelt congratulations to the NBA Minna Branch on the successful conduct of your branch election today, 7 June 2024. It is with great pleasure that I congratulate the newly elected Executive Committee members:

1. Isyaku Barau – Chairman
2. Adamu M. Abugi – Vice Chairman
3. Aliyu M. Kutigi – Secretary
4. Habib Hassan Alhaji – Assistant Secretary
5. Mustapha Muh’d Garba – Treasurer
6. Hauwa Yahaya Sayuti – Financial Secretary
7. Hadiza Nura Alfa – Welfare Secretary
8. Abraham Favour – Social Secretary
9. Fatima Muhammad Alfa – Publicity Secretary
10. Maimuna Yusuf Alhaji

Your election to these important positions is a testament to the trust and confidence that your colleagues have placed in your leadership abilities. I am confident that under your guidance, the NBA Minna Branch will continue to thrive and make significant contributions to the legal profession and the broader community.

As you embark on this new journey, I wish you all a successful and impactful tenure. May your leadership be marked by innovation, collaboration, and a steadfast commitment to the ideals of justice and professional excellence.

Once again, congratulations to the newly elected Executive Committee and the entire NBA Minna Branch on this achievement.

Chukwuka Ikwuazom, SAN
Chairman, NBA-SARC
Former Chairman, NBA Lagos Branch
Partner, ALN Nigeria: Aluko & Oyebode

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BREAKING: COURT BARS AWOMOLO FROM REMOVING ALEGEH AS BENCHERS’ C’TE CHAIR

  • ‘REMOVE AWOMOLO AS BENCHERS’ CHAIR UNTIL ….,’ ALEGEH BEGS COURT

The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has barred the Body of Benchers and its Chairman, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo SAN from removing former Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) President, Mr. Augustine Alegeh SAN as the Chairman of the Benchers Appointment Committee.

In the ruling obtained by CITY LAWYER, the court held “That an Order of Interim Injunction is granted restraining the Defendants from removing the Plaintiff/Applicant and/or interfering with his duties as Chairman of the Body of benchers appointment committee during his tenure from 28th March, 2024 to 27th March, 2027, pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice for Interlocutory Injunction.”

Justice Ambrose Lewis-Allagoa granted the order following an ex-parte application brought by Alegeh.

CITY LAWYER had in an exclusive report noted how Alegeh disagreed sharply with the recent reconstitution of the Body of Benchers committees by Awomolo. The Body of Benchers Chairman had during the reconstitution exercise appointed respected Bar Leader, Mr. Yusuf Ali SAN in Alegeh’s stead.

But in a fiery protest letter dated 2nd May, 2024 Alegeh warned on the dangers of side-stepping the Rule of Law, saying “that I accepted to serve the full term of three [3] years and I have not resigned my appointment as the Chairman of the Body of Benchers Appointment Committee. I believe there must be an error which I respectfully request should be corrected immediately.”

In the clearest indication that he was ready to do battle over the matter, he vowed that “I therefore would continue to act as Chairman of the Committee in the terms stated in my Letter of Appointment.”

CITY LAWYER gathered that the committee met last Wednesday and notwithstanding some altercations, Alegeh held court and spearheaded proceedings during the meeting.

Though Alegeh had also urged the court to bar Awomolo “from further acting as Chairman off (sic) the Body of Benchers pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice for Interlocutory Injunction,” the court deferred consideration of the prayer till hearing of the motion.

Justice Lewis-Allagoa adjourned the matter to July 8, 2024 for hearing of the Motion on Notice.

The Motion Ex-parte was dated May 21, 2024 while the ruling is dated 27th May, 2024. Named as defendants in the suit are Awomolo and Body of Benchers. 

In a letter dated 28th March, 2024 and titled “APPOINTMENT TO SERVE AS CHAIRMAN OF THE BODY OF BENCHERS APPOINTMENT COMMITTEE,” Alegeh was named as the Chairman of the all-important committee.

Signed by Mr. Daniel Tela, the Secretary of the Body of Benchers, the letter stated that the appointment “shall be for a period of three (3) years.” The former NBA helmsman accepted the appointment the same day and vowed to “discharge the functions of the office with great responsibility and commitment to the ideals of the Body of Bencher.”

However, less than six weeks in the saddle, the Life Bencher was yanked off the seat through the reconstitution exercise by Awomolo. The exercise was communicated to benchers through an email by Tela.

Tela had told CITY LAWYER that the Body of Benchers was aware of Alegeh’s May 2, 2024 letter and would tackle all the issues raised. His words: “We are in receipt of the letter and the attention of the Chairman has been drawn to it. The issues raised will be addressed by the Chairman.”

 

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BENCHERS’ C’TE HOSTS SESSION FOR YOUNG LAWYERS ON MENTORING SCHEME

NEWS RELEASE

BODY OF BENCHERS MENTORING COMMITTEE HOSTS SUCCESSFUL BRIEFING SESSION FOR YOUNG LAWYERS ON THE FORTHCOMING MENTORING PROGRAMME

The well advertised Briefing Session on the 2nd edition of the Mentoring Programme for young lawyer organized by the Mentoring Committee of the prestigious Body of Benchers was held on Tuesday, May 28, 2024.

The virtual Session was attended by prominent personalities including the Chair of the Body, Asiwaju Adegboyega
Awomolo, SAN; the Mentoring Committee Chair of the Body, Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama, OFR, SAN; the former Chief Judge of Delta State, Hon. Justice Marshal Umukoro, Rtd.; Mrs. Mfon Usoro, a Bencher; the Secretary of the Body, Daniel M. Tela, Esq., among others.

In his briefing as the Mentoring Committee Chair, Chief J-K Gadzama, SAN highlighted the guidelines and modalities for the Mentoring Programme, stating that successful applicants will be paired with Life Benchers and Benchers (from the Bar, the Bench, the Academia or the Parliament) across the country as mentees and mentors for the duration of the mentoring program. He further stated that it is within the discretion of the mentors to conduct the programme physically, virtually or hybrid.

While noting the apt timing of the Programme geared towards providing positive guidance for young lawyers and promoting best standards in Law Practice, Chief Gadzama pointed out that the benefits of the Mentoring Programme includes guidance and support, skill development, career advancement, networking, confidence building, goal setting and problem-solving.

The Briefing Session was very incisive and interactive as so many young lawyers from various parts of the country, who were in attendance, utilized the opportunity to ask career-optimizing questions to which elucidating answers were satisfactorily proffered by the members of the Body.

It is interesting that about 580 young lawyers have already registered for the Mentoring Programme including the Chairman of the Young Lawyers Forum (YLF), Abdulrauf Tijani Aboki, Esq. It is expected that with sufficient enlightenment and publicity among the young lawyers, the number of mentees for the 2nd edition of the program will be by far greater than that of the 1st held the previous year.

The Mentoring Programme, which is scheduled to last for 6 months, kicks off on Monday July 1, 2024.

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ECNBA SETS JUNE 3 DEADLINE FOR VOTER VERIFICATION

NEWS RELEASE

VERIFICATION OF VOTER DATA FOR THE 2024 NBA GENERAL ELECTIONS

Distinguished Colleagues,

The Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (ECNBA) has published on its website ECNBA Notice 8 – requesting all members to proceed to verify their personal details and data on the Voters’ Database.

According to the ECNBA, “This verification is crucial to ensure the accuracy and integrity of our voter database of members and to facilitate a smooth and transparent election.”

To verify your details on the Voters’ List, kindly click on the link below
and follow the prompts to verify and update your information where
necessary. Please go to www.ecnba.org/prel.vot.list.search.php

You may also visit www.ecnba.org and click on “Voters List.”

The ECNBA Notice 8 contains further guides, and it is attached.

Thank you.

Akorede Habeeb Lawal
National Publicity Secretary, NBA

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NBA AGC TO HOLD AT TAFAWA BALEWA SQUARE, LAGOS

The 2024 Annual General Conference (AGC) of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) will hold between August 23 and 28 at the Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS), Lagos, CITY LAWYER can report.

Originally called “Race Course” because it was initially used as a horse racing ground, the Tafawa Balewa Square is a rectangular 3.9615 hectares ceremonial ground. It is constructed of mass concrete with 6 entrance gates into the parade ground. 

TBS also has a pavilion with a sitting capacity of 55,000.00 people and a multi-purpose hall with a floor space of 1,289.61 square metres. It also has a school building with floor space of  220 square metres. The once iconic facility was concessioned to Build Hope Services International Limited (BHS) “to efficiently maintain the Tafawa Balewa Square Complex for 30 years and provide additional facilities that will improve the use of the complex for the benefit of the general public.”

There are however strong indications that this dream has not been realised, as the facility has not attained the world-class status anticipated prior to the concession.

In a March 2023 investigative report, THE PUCH reported that “Tafawa Balewa Square, the once beautiful pride of Nigeria, is a shadow of its former self,” adding that “Nigeria’s independence monument has failed to fulfill its world-class tourist site potential.”

Continuing, the newspaper states that “Although it remains distinctive, Tafawa Balewa Square, which is located at 45/57 Massey Bamgboshe Street on Lagos Island, Lagos has become a shadow of itself. The sight of hawkers, hooligans, food vendors, watch repairers, itinerant cobblers, and commercial tricycle riders taking over the entrance of this monument has overwhelmed its splendour.

“The walls devoid of paint, the concrete buildings attempting to hide protruding irons, and deteriorated gates which have been replaced with iron bars paint a picture of the current despicable state of Tafawa Balewa Square.”

It is however not all sad tales about the AGC venue, as the report notes that “Despite the dilapidated state of the square, the square occasionally hosts large public events and gatherings such as political rallies and church programmes. Notable among them is the Experience, a gospel musical concert organised annually by the House on The Rock Church on the first Friday in December.”

While the forthcoming AGC has been overshadowed by the controversy over high fees especially for young lawyers, with NBA Ikeja and Warri branches vowing to boycott the event due to the controversial fees, CITY LAWYER observes that, aside from massive traffic gridlock, perhaps the biggest challenge for the AGC Planning Committee (AGCPC) is how to ward of the itinerant and die-hard miscreants that dot the TBS axis.

This is moreso as the TBS is in central Lagos where the miscreants have easy access, unlike the more detached and exclusive Victoria Island neighbourhood where the 2022 Annual Conference was held.

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MAIKYAU UNVEILS NBA-ICLE VIRTUAL LIBRARY DONATED BY OLANIWUN AJAYI LP

NEWS RELEASE

NBA PRESIDENT IMPLEMENTS NBA-ICLE PARTNERSHIP WITH OLANIWUN AJAYI LP, LAUNCHES VIRTUAL LAW LIBRARY

Following the recent partnership between the Nigerian Bar Association Institute of Continuing Legal Education (NBA-ICLE) with Olaniwun Ajayi LP to develop a centralised digital repository for legal resources, the NBA President, Mr. Yakubu Chonoko Maikyau (OON) has launched the NBA-ICLE Virtual Library. The NBA President announced the launch yesterday in an email to all Nigerian lawyers.

The Virtual Law Library features a comprehensive collection of NBA-ICLE training materials developed from multiple trainings carried out under the leadership of the Chairman of the NBA-ICLE Board, Tobenna Erojikwe. The training materials, including carefully-curated PowerPoint presentations, and multiple resource documents from previous trainings of the NBA-ICLE, are available for free download for all lawyers. The library will be managed by the NBA Technology (IT) Unit, and will further be regularly updated with materials supplied by the NBA-ICLE, to ensure that the content of the library remains up-to-date and relevant.

The launch of the Virtual Library is expected to, amongst numerous other benefits, further democratize access to crucial legal knowledge to members of the NBA for self and professional development. In so doing, the NBA-ICLE would have succeeded in achieving one of its crucial goals: ensuring the members of the Association consistently have access to materials for self-development and expand their knowledge base.

The NBA-ICLE is grateful to the leadership of the NBA and the host of stakeholders, including various partners, sponsors and facilitators whose efforts saw to the development of the NBA-ICLE materials now hosted on the NBA Virtual Law Library.

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CAC: LEGAL FIREWORKS, AS NIGERIAN LAW SOCIETY CONTESTS NBA’S APPEAL BID

Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) President, Mr. Yakubu Maikyau SAN came face-to-face Wednesday in legal arguments with Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama SAN at the Court of Appeal over an attempt by NBA to stall registration of the Nigerian Law Society (NLS) by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).

CITY LAWYER recalls that the Federal High Court presided over by Justice Gladys Olotu had given the green light to the CAC to register the nascent Nigerian Law Society.

The NBA has however filed an application at the Court of Appeal seeking to upturn the judgment and stop CAC from going ahead to register the new association.

When the matter was called, Gadzama announced appearance “under protest” for the 1st Respondent and one of the NLS promoters, Chief Bolaji Ayorinde, SAN, while Maikyau led the NBA team for the applicant, Incorporated Trustees of the Nigerian Bar Association. The Appeal Court panel was led by Justice Hamma Akawu Barka with Justice Abba Bello Mohammed and Justice Peter Chudi Obiorah as members.

Maikyau contended that the applicant had served all the Respondents through the counsel who represented the promoters at the trial court. He argued that it behoves the counsel to draw the attention of either the court or the parties to the fact that he had no authority to receive service.  Counsel to the CAC aligned with Maikyau’s position.

Gadzama however countered the argument, saying that an application to appeal is an appeal in itself as well as an originating process which ought to be served personally on all the respondents and not through proxies.

CITY LAWYER gathered that both parties cited copious authorities to buttress their arguments.

Following the legal fireworks, the Appeal Court has reserved ruling on the application till a date to be communicated to the parties.

There are strong indications that the battle ground may shift to the other respondents who were not represented in court during the hearing. They include Chief Mela Audu Nunghe, SAN; Amb. Garba Gajam; Chief Emeka Ichoku; Mrs. Chioma Ferguson, and Tejumola Adigun who are listed as 2nd to 6th Respondents.

Aside from contending that the NBA was not a party before the trial court, the NLS has also argued that its application for registration by the CAC is rooted in Section 40 of the 1999 Constitution which permits freedom of association. This right, it argues, is also secured by the African Declaration on Human and Peoples Rights and the United Nations Universal Declaration on Human Rights (UDHR). The arguments have been countered by the NBA.

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‘APPEALS C’TE DECISION MERE REHASH OF ECNBA’S,’ SAYS JOYCE ODUAH

Former Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) General Secretary Joyce Oduah has lambasted the NBA National Officers Elections Appeal Committee (NOEAC) for upholding her disqualification by the Electoral Committee of the NBA (ECNBA) “without due consideration of my detailed legal arguments, which were meticulously presented to ensure a fair hearing.”

In a statement made available to CITY LAWYER, Oduah stated that she was denied fair hearing as the Appeals Committee did not review in depth the arguments marshalled by her in her appeal.

According to Oduah, “Appellate decisions are expected to be rigorously factual, demonstrating sound deductive reasoning, jurisprudential thinking, and superior argumentation. Unfortunately, these essential elements, which guarantee a fair trial and hearing, were disregarded by the NBA-NOEAC.”

Continuing, she said that “The committee’s decision lacked a careful evaluation, rebuttal, or countering of the factual submissions I made in my appeal. The Committee’s best effort was to merely regurgitate the grounds of disqualification set by the ECNBA and nothing more. A decision reached without due consideration of all the issues raised can only amount to an unfair trial.”

She stated that she “highlighted the ECNBA’s reliance on a provision that was non-existent during my tenure as Treasurer from 2012 to 2014,” adding that the retrospective application of the provision “undermined legal certainty and fairness,” allegedly violating established legal principles that “A Constitution, like other statutes, operates prospectively and not retrospectively unless it is expressly provided to be otherwise…”

Oduah argued that her seconder’s receipts “could have been easily rectified, reflecting an unnecessary and unjust ground for disqualification,” adding that the decision goes against the Second Schedule Part VIII(f) of the NBA Constitution 2015, which states that “The powers of the ECNBA to disqualify a person who wishes to contest for an office shall only be for the grounds specifically contained in this Constitution.” 

Though a top aide of the former NBA General Secretary had told CITY LAWYER that she would head to court to challenge the decision of the Appeals Committee, Oduah seems to have made a u-turn.

She wrote: “Despite the unjust decision, my commitment to the NBA and its principles remains unshaken. I have dedicated my career to serving the Nigerian Bar Association in various capacities, and I am more determined than ever to continue this journey. This setback only fuels my passion to advance our profession and foster inclusivity within our esteemed organisation. I am here for the long haul, and I am here for the NBA, God being my helper.

“After careful consideration and in the spirit of fostering unity and peace within our beloved NBA, I have decided not to appeal further. This decision, while not the end of my journey, is a testament to my commitment to the NBA and its principles. I am here to serve, and I will continue to do so with the same passion and dedication, working towards the betterment of our association and the legal profession at large.”

She thanked her “countless supporters and admirers who stood firmly with me despite all odds. They are too numerous to list here,” adding that “I owe you all a tremendous debt of gratitude. Your support reinforces my belief in our collective strength and the future of the NBA. Together, we will continue to work towards a more inclusive and progressive association.”

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CONCERNS, AS ECNBA SCRIBE HUWAILA CLEARED FOR NBA KANO CHAIR RACE

There are growing concerns within legal circles on the clearance of incumbent Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (ECNBA) Secretary Huwaila Ibrahim Muhammad for the forthcoming chairmanship election of NBA Kano Branch.

A copy of the final list of cleared candidates obtained by CITY LAWYER and dated 21st May, 2024 shows that Huwaila is set to slug it out with Usman Umar Fari for the position of Branch Chairman while Ahmad Sani Bawa was disqualified.

Absulhameed Abdurrazaq Ahmed, Salihu Umar Kududdufawa, Isiakpobegie Edafe Jefferson, Ibrahim Baba Saliu, and Abdulmalik Mohammed were cleared as candidates for the offices of Vice Chairman, Treasurer, Publicity Secretary, Welfare Secretary and Provost respectively.

Huwaila’s clearance while holding the office of ECNBA scribe has got tongues wagging, with some stakeholders arguing that it presents “significant conflict of interest” and an “untidy” scenario.

CITY LAWYER recalls that the Bar Leader also recently held the position of Chairman of NBA Kano Branch Law Week Planning Committee. It is speculated that the roles are to give her more visibility against opponents in the run-up to the chairmanship election. 

Some have argued that it would have been “neater” for Huwaila to have passed over the role of ECNBA Secretary if she was interested in contesting as NBA Kano Branch Chairman, wondering how this scenario may impact the integrity of the forthcoming NBA Elections scheduled for July 20, 2024.

There is a growing pressure on NBA President, Mr. Yakubu Maikyau SAN to step in to resolve the debacle in order to save the integrity of the general election.

Stakeholders believe that Huwaila should be impressed on to choose either of the roles or be relieved especially of her position as ECNBA Secretary.

Huwaila is not new to controversies in NBA election matters. CITY LAWYER recalls that “Team J-K Gadzama SAN” had during the 2022 NBA Elections alleged that Huwaila, then a member of the NBA Election Appeals Committee (NEAC), “actively and openly posted contents on her Facebook platform projecting Y. C. Maikyau, SAN.”

The team stated that her “non-neutrality” alongside that of another NEAC member “poses elements of bias by virtue of their active participation in the campaign activities of Y. C. Maikyau, SAN in the recently concluded National Elections which held on Saturday, 16th July, 2022.

“We sincerely believe that the aforementioned persons will not be able to discharge the duties of the Committee devoid of sentiments and biases and hence, present no guarantee of credibility and fairness in administering unbiased decisions and findings. We have attached some screen pictures of displays by these persons in support of Y. C. Maikyau, SAN during the period of campaign activities. Please see Annexure NBA1 and Annexure NBA2.”

The protest led to the mass resignation of the Funmi Roberts-led NBA Election Appeals Committee. It remains to be seen how the latest debacle will be resolved.

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LAWYER LEADS REGFYL TO GLOBAL FINTECH AWARD WIN IN WASHINGTON

Regfyl, a startup specialising in Anti-Money Laundering (AML), fraud prevention, and regulatory compliance, has emerged as the winner at the Africa Fintech Summit Pitch held recently in Washington D.C.

Powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI), Regfyl is an all-in-one platform for businesses in Africa to combat fraud and simplify regulatory compliance.

The competition is a flagship event of the bi-annual summit that brings together leading Fintech innovators, investors and policymakers from across the globe.

Regfyl won with its cutting-edge technology that utilizes AI to provide unparalleled anti-money laundering (AML) and fraud prevention solutions, tailored specifically for the diverse and evolving needs of financial institutions in Africa.

Lawyer and CEO of Regfyl, Dr. Tunde Ibidapo-Obe, while receiving the award, said: “Winning this competition highlights the transformative potential of our solution in tackling compliance challenges such as fraud and AML. We provide global-standard compliance solutions at affordable local prices, mitigating forex fluctuation risks.”

CTO of Regfyl, Dr. Tomiwa Erinosho, said: “Regfyl’s AI-powered toolkit excels in accuracy, particularly its self-populating politically exposed person (PEP) identification module.

“The company has also invested heavily in research to support rapidly scaling institutions, enhancing efficiency for fraud and compliance teams across Nigeria and beyond.”

The new win follows Regfyl’s greatly lauded performance as a runner-up at the prestigious Oxford Cambridge University’s – Oxbridge AI Challenge in London, UK, in December 2023.

Regfyl is timely and poised for rapid growth especially with the recent drive by the Central Bank of Nigeria to combat financial crimes and improve regulatory compliance in Nigeria.

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AGC REGISTRATION KICKS OFF TOMORROW, NBA SHUNS PLEAS TO CUT HIGH FEES

Registration for the forthcoming Annual General Conference (AGC) of the Nigerian Bar Association will commence tomorrow amid widespread clamour for reduction of registration fees for the annual event.

A notice by NBA Publicity Secretary Habeeb Lawal stated that “Registration for the 2024 Annual General Conference shall open at 11:55pm on Wednesday 22 May 2024.

“The schedule of fees is attached. Virtual participation for young lawyers is free, but interested members must still register for the conference.”

The commencement of registration for the NBA flagship event seals any hope that there may be a downward review of the fees which are considered as prohibitive especially for young lawyers.

This led to a flurry of protests and appeals to the AGC Planning Committee (AGCPC) led by Oyinkan Badejo-Okusanya and NBA President Yakubu Maikyau SAN to ensure a downward review of the fees.

CITY LAWYER recalls that young lawyers under the aegis of “Decent Fees” had launched an online protest against the advertised fees, saying that if not reviewed, many young lawyers would be unable to attend the conference.

According to the young lawyers: “The decision to impose such a hefty fee for attending the NBA conference disproportionately affects young lawyers, many of whom are still establishing themselves in the legal profession and may not have the financial means to afford such an expense. We believe that access to professional development opportunities, such as conferences, should not be restricted by financial barriers.”

Titled “Reduce NBA Conference Fees for Young Lawyers,” the petitioners noted that “As young professionals who are just starting our legal careers, many of us are already grappling with financial challenges, including student loan debt and limited earning potential.”

CITY LAWYER recalls that the Early Bird rate for young lawyers during the 2023 AGC was as low as N7,500 for lawyers who met the Continuing Legal Education (CLE) requirements. However, the Early Bird rate for this year’s conference has galloped to N50,000, showing almost 700 %. Badejo-Okusanya had argued that the increase was due to the current 30 % national inflation rate.

While the Regular Rate for 2023 was N20,000 the Regular Rate for this year’s AGC stands at N75,00. Late Registration which cost young lawyers N40,000 last year has shot up to N200,000 for the 2024 conference.

Several Bar Leaders had also weighed in on the debacle, urging a rethink of the fees, even as many NBA branches also made entreaties for a downward review of the fees. NBA Ikeja Branch threatened to boycott the annual conference unless the fees were slashed. It was unclear at press time whether the branch will make good its threat in light of the latest development.

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AWA: ‘MURDER OF MY FRIEND IS HEARTBREAKING,’ – SABASTINE ANYIA

I received with great shock and deep sense of grief, the murder of my friend and junior colleague, Awa Peter Awa. It was heartbreaking and devastating. You are too young to be targeted by any person or group of persons. I don’t want to believe that this is the Will of God. No doubt, death is a necessary end for every living being, but to be gruesomely murdered by faceless people at this tender age is unacceptable.

You are known to be a quiet, gentle and friendly person who cannot hurt a fly. Always dedicated to your duties. Peter, your death has reminded us that we are in a perilous time, where our brothers who should care for our well being and affection turn to be our murderers. I therefore ask as in the Holy Bible, “who then is our neighbor”?

Just last week a colleague was kidnapped in NBA Idemili Branch, Anambra State. Today, a colleague is gruesomely murdered in Ihiala. Something is definitely wrong somewhere.

Have we become endangered species? What is the motive behind all these killings and kidnappings involving our colleagues? I call on all the security agencies and our hard working governor, Prof. Charles Soludo to arrest these security challenges within the state and ensure that our lives and properties are protected.

My deepest condolences go to his family and to all lawyers especially in NBA Ihiala Branch. I pray that no lawyer in Anambra State in particular and Nigeria in general shall be murdered or kidnapped again in Jesus’ mighty name, Amen!

May the soul of Awa Peter Awa, a quiet and jolly good fellow whose life was cut short at his prime and the souls of all the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace.

Sabastine Anyia Esq
Former chairman NBA, Aguata Branch
Former Chairman of Chairmen, 8 branches of NBA Anambra State

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AWA: ‘NIGERIA’S ESCALATING INSECURITY DEEPLY CONCERNING,’ SAYS IKWUAZOM, NBA-SARC CHAIR

NEWS RELEASE

The Nigerian Bar Association Security Agencies Relations Committee (NBA-SARC) unequivocally condemns the murder of Awa Peter Awa, Esq., Vice Chairman of the NBA Ihiala Branch and a Prosecutor in the Anambra State Ministry of Justice. This egregious act is not only an assault on the legal profession but also a grave affront to justice and the principles of the rule of law.

The escalating insecurity within the nation, particularly in Anambra State, is deeply concerning. The continued targeting and violence towards members of the legal community are unacceptable and demand immediate attention. The tragic loss of Mr. Awa serves as a stark reminder of the pervasive insecurity that jeopardizes not only legal professionals but all citizens of Nigeria.

The NBA-SARC urges the Anambra State Commissioner of Police, the Anambra State Police Command, and all relevant authorities and security agencies to promptly and thoroughly investigate this crime, apprehend the perpetrators, and take necessary measures to ensure the safety and security of all citizens. It is imperative that the legal community remains undeterred by such barbarism, upholding our dedication to justice and the rule of law.

Additionally, a call to action is directed towards the governors of the eastern states of Nigeria to proactively address the ongoing security challenges within the region. Implementing comprehensive strategies to safeguard the lives and properties of citizens and to restore peace and stability in our communities is of utmost importance.

The NBA-SARC extends its deepest sympathies to the family of Awa Peter Awa, Esq., and to all those impacted by this heinous act of violence. The Association stands in solidarity with them during this challenging time.

Chukwuka Ikwuazom, SAN
Chairman, Nigerian Bar Association Security Agencies Relations Committee
Partner, Aluko and Oyebode
Former Chairman, NBA Lagos Branch

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ECNBA ASKS CANDIDATES TO SUBMIT MANIFESTOS LATEST FRIDAY

  • ‘WE HAVE NOT LIFTED BAN ON CAMPAIGNS’

The Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (ECNBA) has directed each candidate in the forthcoming NBA Elections to “submit an electronic compilation of your Curriculum Vitae (CV) and campaign manifesto for publication in the ECNBA online magazine, pursuant to Part IV(11) and V(7), Second Schedule of the Constitution of the Nigerian Bar Association 2015 (as amended in 2021).”

The electoral body however warned that “This is not an invitation for commencement of campaigns. We therefore again warn that there shall be no campaigning under any guise until the ban on campaign is lifted by the ECNBA. We seize this opportunity to again warn all candidates to CEASE any semblance of campaigns.”

In a letter obtained by CITY LAWYER and dated 19th May, 2024, the electoral committee warned that it has not lifted ban on campaigning, adding that “We trust all stakeholders shall comply to avoid summary disqualification, should there be an infraction of any of these directives.”

The electoral committee also renewed its threat to disqualify any candidate who violates its electoral guidelines.

The letter was signed by Mr. Oluseun Abimbola SAN and Huwaila Muhammad, Chairman and Secretary respectively of the electoral committee.

The ECNBA noted that each candidate “fully come under the purview of the ECNBA in your participation in the 2024 NBA Elections,” adding that “While we congratulate you for qualifying as a candidate, we urge you to ensure you abide by the rules governing the elections, and every directive of the ECNBA.”

Below is the full text of the letter to the candidates.

SUBMISSION OF CANDIDATES’ CAMPAIGN MATERIALS

As a qualified candidate for the upcoming Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) elections, you now fully come under the purview of the ECNBA in your participation in the 2024 NBA Elections. While we congratulate you for qualifying as a candidate, we urge you to ensure you abide by the rules governing the elections, and every directive of the ECNBA.

1. We are by this letter inviting you to submit an electronic compilation of your Curriculum Vitae (CV) and campaign manifesto for publication in the ECNBA online magazine, pursuant to Part IV(11) and V(7), Second Schedule of the Constitution of the Nigerian Bar Association 2015 (as amended in 2021),

2. Our online magazine aims to provide NBA members with a comprehensive insight into the vision, qualifications, and aspirations of the candidates vying for various positions within the Association. Candidates are required to submit the compiled file of campaign materials including curriculum vitae of not more than four pages of A4-size paper, and comprehensive manifesto for publication, by email to info@ecnba.org not later than 12noon on Friday, 24th May 2024.

3. NOTE: This is not an invitation for commencement of campaigns. We therefore again warn that there shall be no campaigning under any guise until the ban on campaign is lifted by the ECNBA. We seize this opportunity to again warn all candidates to CEASE any semblance of campaigns.

4. In the coming days, the ECNBA will issue campaign guidelines to be strictly adhered to by all candidates and their supporters. We trust all stakeholders shall comply to avoid summary disqualification, should there be an infraction of any of these directives.

Dated this 19th day of May 2024

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NBA GWAGWALADA TO HONOUR CJ, AWOMOLO, OLUJINMI, OTHERS

NEWS RELEASE

AFTER SEVEN-YEAR HIATUS, NBA GWAGWALADA BRANCH REINTRODUCES AND HOSTS ITS FLAGSHIP PROGRAMME – ‘THE CHIEF JUDGE ANNUAL LECTURE AND MERIT AWARDS’ – IN HONOUR OF HON. JUSTICE HUSSEINI BABA-YUSUF (CJ-FCT), CHIEF A. S. AWOMOLO SAN, CHIEF AKINLOLU OLUJINMI SAN, AHMED RAJI SAN, MAHMUD MAGAJI SAN, MATTHEW BURKAA SAN, CHIEF EMEKA OBEGOLU SAN, AND OTHERS.

The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Gwagwalada Branch (Eagle Bar), is a high flying Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association that is renowned for steadfast dedication to advancing legal practice and effective justice administration through provisions of intellectually stimulating platform for dialogue, knowledge sharing, and worthwhile celebration. In alignment with this unwavering commitment, the NBA Gwagwalada Branch is delighted to announce and invite the entire legal community and the general public to its prestigious ANNUAL LECTURE, PRESENTATION OF PUBLICATIONS, AND MERIT AWARDS, scheduled to take place on FFRIDAY 24th MAY 2024, at 9:00 AM at the AUDITORIUM , FFACULTY OF LAW, UNIVERSITY OF ABUJA.

Under the Distinguished Chairmanship of Asiwaju A. S. Awomolo SAN (Chairman, Body of Benchers), this prestigious event is a hallmark of the branch’s commitment to the elevation of legal discourse and recognition of excellence. Like those of the 10th Anniversary Celebration in 2022 and the Law Week in December 2023, this year’s Theme is a testament to the branch’s pacesetting dedication to fostering a well-oiled legal and justice system that is equitable, effective, and just. The theme, “Toward a Better Nigeria: Benchmarking Performance, Resetting Standard, and Rethinking Justice,” is a clarion call for a comprehensive evaluation of our system.

  • “According to the meta-digital Chairman of the vibrant Branch, Emmanuel Tayo Ogunjide (E.T.O), this year’s edition, reintroduced with purpose and progressiveness after a seven-year hiatus, convenes national leaders, eminent jurists, distinguished lawyers, erudite scholars, and relevant stakeholders to engage in excellent discussions and celebrate extraordinaire contributions.”

According to the meta-digital Chairman of the vibrant Branch, Emmanuel Tayo Ogunjide (E.T.O), this year’s edition, reintroduced with purpose and progressiveness after a seven-year hiatus, convenes national leaders, eminent jurists, distinguished lawyers, erudite scholars, and relevant stakeholders to engage in excellent discussions and celebrate extraordinaire contributions. In his words, ‘It is our character, and our Branch once again is poised to set at the front burner, and at this point in time in our nation, the urgent need to re-examine the benchmarks of our performance, reset standards for practice, and rethink our approach to justice delivery in alignment with global best practices and addressing the unique challenges faced by Nigeria.”

The event promises to be a truly enriching experience, featuring a keynote address by the distinguished Ahmed Raji SAN, a legal luminary renowned for his rich expertise and excellent contributions. His address will be followed by panel discussions with eminent jurists, legal practitioners, and academics, who will share their insights and expertise on contemporary legal issues. The event will also feature the Public Presentation of the 2023 and 2024 Eagle Bar Journals in honour of the legendary Chief Akinlolu Olujinmi, SAN, CON (former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice) and the phenomenal Mr. Mathew Burkaa SAN, showcasing the branch’s commitment to promoting legal research and scholarship.

In addition to the intellectual discourse, the event will also recognize outstanding legal professionals with merit awards. These awards will honor individuals and institutions that have demonstrated exemplary performance and contributed significantly to the advancement of justice in Nigeria. The programme will be graced with the esteemed presence of other distinguished guests and eminent personalities, including in no particular order, the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Chief Justice of Nigeria and other Heads of Courts, the Hon. Attorney General of the Federation, the President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Hon. Minister of the FCT, Hon. Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Prof. Yusuf Ali SAN, Mr. Paul Usoro SAN, Prof. Mike Ozekhome SAN, Yeye Victoria Awolowo SAN, Prof. M. T. Ladan, DG NIALS, Mr. Mahmud Magaji SAN, Chief Emeka Obegolu SAN, Sen. Bamidele Opeyemi, Chief Emeka Ozoani SAN, Mrs. Paulyn Abhulime SAN, among others. These distinguished legal practitioners and scholars will bring their wealth of experience and expertise to the programme, ensuring a rich and engaging exchange of ideas.

The legal profession in Nigeria needs continuous reflection, innovation, collaboration, and recognition of excellence. This unique event, therefore, serves as a platform to engage in intellectual discourse, share insights, and celebrate outstanding contributions to the field of law, justice, and national development. The Branch respectfully invites you to join in shaping a better future for Nigeria. look forward to welcoming your gracious presence and vital contributions at this great event.

For more information, please contact Emmanuel Tayo Ogunjide, Chairman, NBA Gwagwalada Branch – 08036134187; Abdulwahab A. Mohammed. Chairman, Planning Committee.

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‘GRUESOME MURDER OF NBA IHIALA VICE CHAIR IS ONE TOO MANY’ – AFAM OSIGWE

NEWS RELEASE

THE GRUESOME MURDER OF MR. AWA PETER IS A GRAVE ASSAULT ON THE LEGAL PROFESSION

By AFAM OSIGWE, SAN

I am dismayed by the tragic information of the brutal murder of Awa Peter Awa, Esq., the Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ihiala Branch, Anambra State. This cowardly act, carried out by unknown gunmen, is a grave assault on the legal profession and the society at large.

Awa Peter Awa was a dedicated legal practitioner who tirelessly served his community with integrity and commitment. His senseless killing is not just a personal loss to his family and colleagues, but also a significant blow to the entire legal profession and the society that he devoted his life to serving.

We vehemently condemn this heinous act of violence and call on the relevant authorities to leave no stone unturned in their quest to bring the perpetrators to justice. This is a critical moment for law enforcement agencies to demonstrate their commitment to the safety and security of all citizens, particularly those in the legal profession who often face significant risks due to the nature of their work.

We demand a swift and thorough investigation into this despicable act. We urge the Anambra State Police Command and other relevant security agencies to expedite their efforts in apprehending the culprits and ensuring they face the full weight of the law. Justice must be served, not only to honor the memory of Awa Peter Awa but also to send a strong message that such acts of violence will not be tolerated.

We also call on the government to enhance security measures to protect legal practitioners who, by their profession, are increasingly becoming targets of violent attacks. Ensuring the safety of those who uphold justice is paramount to maintaining the rule of law and public confidence in our judicial system.

In this time of grief, our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Awa Peter Awa, his friends, and his colleagues in the NBA Ihiala Branch. We stand in solidarity with them and offer our deepest condolences. The legacy of Awa Peter Awa’s dedication to justice will forever remain in our hearts and inspire us to continue the fight for a just and equitable society.

Rest in Peace, Awa Peter Awa, Esq.

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FIDA UYO CELEBRATES BOY CHILD ON INTERNATIONAL DAY

NEWS RELEASE

– CHAIRPERSON URGES MORAL EXCELLENCE AMONG STUDENTS

The year 2024 International Day of the Boy Child was marked at Queen of Apostles Seminary and Holy Family College, all in Abak Local Government Area, with a call on the boy child to shun violence and live peaceably with their peers, classmates, siblings, teachers, neighbours as well as other members of the society irrespective of age, gender and social status.

The above call was made last Thursday, May 16, 2024 by the Chairperson of International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) Uyo Branch, Iquo Abia, Esq. while addressing the students of Queen of Apostles Seminary and Holy Family College to mark this year’s anniversary of International Day of the Boy Child.

The FIDA chairperson sensitized students on the negative effects of violence which she noted, have often resulted in injury, maiming, depression and death.

She exposed the students to extant laws in the State prohibiting violence against persons, with appropriate penalties in event of violation and conviction.

Harping on youth capacity development and empowerment, the Chairperson assured the students of FIDA’s stance on the critical issue of the boy child empowerment, noting that its position runs in tandem with the Akwa Ibom State Government’s youth empowerment policy as entrenched in the ARISE Agenda. She appealed to the students to maximize the sensitization and advocacy initiative availed them by FIDA, for their brighter future.

The celebration of the International Day of the Boy Child also comprised in its repertoire, sessions of pep talks, advocacy, and sensitization on wide-ranging subjects bordering on the development of the boy child; anchored by high- profile resource persons drawn from government circle, male advocates and FIDA.

Mr. Aniekeme Finbar, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor of Akwa Ibom State on Social Re-orientation, sensitized the students on Career Choice; Barr. Anietie Bassey, an advocate of social engineering, advised the students to shun cultism and imbibe good Relational Skills.

Barr. Arit Udokang spoke extensively on Drug Abuse, its effects on the mental health of the boy child, as well as remediation. The critical topic was later extended to embrace other nuances by Barr. Love Bassey.

In her goodwill message, the Hon. Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Welfare, Dr. Ini Adiakpan, who was represented by Mrs. Unyime Umoh, commended FIDA for empowering the students with the values and potentials inherent in the boy child, and expressed confidence that the awareness to which the students were exposed, would enhance their future. She also gave a talk on personal hygiene.

In his reaction, the Rector of Queen of Apostles Seminary, Afaha Obong, Rev. Father John Ekanem, thanked the women lawyers for granting his students such opportunity of gaining from their wealth of knowledge. Rev. Father Ekanem expressed fulfilment at the morals imparted to the students, noting with excitement that those teachings were in sync with the daily lessons to which the students have already been exposed.

Expression of gratitude was not different at Holy Family College, Oku Abak, where the school principal, Rev. Fr. Columbus Archibong who was represented by the vice principal, Mr. Charles Umoh, accorded FIDA delegation a rousing welcome.

In his expression of gratitude, the senior prefect of the college, Udoidem Richard Raphael, extolled the lofty initiative of FIDA for organizing such inspiring intellectual advocacy for them, and pledged the students’ commitment to maximizing the enormous benefits of the programme for a better future.

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BREAKING: ODUAH, BISHOP, 6 OTHERS LOSE APPEALS, MBAMALA, ANYIA WIN

  • ‘WE ARE HEADING TO COURT,’ SAYS ODUAH’S TOP AIDE

The Usman Ogwu Sule SAN-led National Officers’ Election Appeal Committee (NOEAC) has resolved all appeals sent in by aspirants disqualified by the Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (ECNBA), CITY LAWYER can authoritatively report.

Confirming the conclusion of the appeals, the Chairman of the Appeal Committee, Mr. Usman Ogwu Sule SAN told CITY LAWYER that “The Committee received 10 Appeals and considered same. The Appeal committee resolutions are sent to all Candidates emails. Candidates are to check their emails.”

CITY LAWYER can also confirm that aside from about two appeals, all the others were dismissed by the Appeal Committee which sat in marathon meetings.

Among the appeals dismissed are those of former NBA General Secretary Joyce Oduah, embattled NBA Treasurer Caroline Anze-Bishop, fiery blogger Felix Ashimole, and returnee aspirant Ede Asenoguan.

Others are Dhikrullah Balogun, Jovita Ibekwe and Adejorin Abiona who are gunning for positions as NBA Representatives at the General Council of the Bar (GCB).

Among the lucky duo are Sabastine Anyia who is gunning for the post of NBA First Vice President and Chukwuemeka Mbamala who is vying for the post of Treasurer.

Dismissing Bishop’s appeal, the committee held that “The Appeal Committee finds that the Candidate being a Civil Servant is not into full time private legal practice not minding the letter from NSCDC attached as Annexure 4. The annexure does not cure the defect that she is still a Civil Servant in the employment of NSCDC.

“The Appeal Committee therefore affirms the decision of the ECNBA and this appeal is hereby dismissed for lacking in merit. On the whole, the appeal lacks merit and is accordingly dismissed.”

Though Oduah did not respond to enquiries on the outcome of her appeal, a top aide of the former National Officer told CITY LAWYER that “We are heading to court,” indicating that she would appeal the rule to the court.

CITY LAWYER investigation showed that the appellants were meant to scale different hurdles.

Oduah, an NBA presidential aspirant, was to answer to having held elective offices for two terms while her seconder omitted to include evidence of payment of 2024 BPF. Anze-Bishop (General Secretary) was confronted with the charge that she is not in private practice.

Ashimole was said to have paid his 2024 BPF on 24th December, 2023 while his second nominator submitted a teller dated 29/01/24 in lieu of 2024 BPF.

On his part, Sabastine Anyia, who is gunning for the position of NBA First Vice President, was to answer to the charge that the proof of BPF payment for one of the nominators did not carry the name of the nominator.

Asenoguan, who ran for the position of General Secretary in the 2022 Elections, asked the Appeal Committee to reverse the decision that he failed to add to his nomination, evidence of payment of 2024 BPF.

Mbamala, a returnee aspirant for the position of Treasurer, has cried foul over the decision that his nominator and seconder’s receipts of payment for BPF had no names on the receipts. Balogun is said not to have attached 2022 branch dues receipt while the nominator did not also attach 2022 branch dues.

For Ibekwe, the ECNBA had resolved that her nominator paid his 2023 branch dues in April and did not submit his evidence of payment of 2024 BPF while the seconder’s receipt of payment of BPF has no name or email address.

Abiona, also an aspirant for the position of GCB Representative, battled to surmount the charge that his Seconder’s state of origin does not align with his own for the GCB slot.

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NBA ELECTIONS: ‘WE NEED NOT EXHAUST OUR N123M BUDGET,’ SAYS ECNBA CHAIR

The Chairman of the Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (ECNBA), Mr. Oluseun Abimbola SAN has said that the committee may not exhaust its N123 million budget as approved by the NBA National Executive Council.

Responding to concerns by stakeholders that the budget may be bloated, Abimbola told CITY LAWYER to “recognize that this is just a budget, an estimation of costs, so we do not have to necessarily exhaust it,” adding that “We are accountable people.”

Documents made available to CITY LAWYER show that the forthcoming elections may gulp about N123 million, being the amount approved by NBA-NEC at its recent emergency meeting in Yola. The amount is over N88 million higher than the N34.878 approved for the elections two years ago.

Aside from N102,704,040 which is the Naira component of the budget, another $15,000 slated for the “ICT Service Provider” completes the approved budget. With a conservative Naira exchange rate of N1,380 to the dollar, this component stands at N20.7 million, bringing the total expenditure to N123,404,040.

CITY LAWYER analysis shows that while “ECNBA Office/Admin” jumped from N8.044 million in 2022 to over N15.8 million this year, ECNBA Voters’ Education/Sensitization Outreach for the three zones will gulp about N6.3 million, up from N2.76 million two years ago.

It was observed that the three zones had a flat rate of N2.1 million this year unlike in 2022 when the Northern and Eastern zones cost N960,000 while the Western Zone cost about one-third of that figure, standing at N340,000.

Return tickets for ECNBA members, airport taxi, accommodation, lunch and contingency will gulp N36.8 million while “Technical/ICT” jumped from N17,978,000 to N30,550,000 including N25,000,000 for the Technical Support Consultant (TSC). The TSC fee was N15 million in 2022.

An additional component of this budget head is the “ICT Service Provider, E-voting Platform with Multiaccess Functionality (Email, SMS, etc)” for which $15,000,000 (sic) has been provided. The service cost the association $15,000 in 2022.

The sum of N9.2 million has been set aside for “Aspirants’ Debate” while N500,000 is billed to be spent on “Social Media (dissemination of ECNBA Notices).”

Analysts have queried some aspects of the budget, especially the “ECNBA Office/Admin” component which shot up by about 100 per cent from N8.044 million in 2022 to over N15.8 million this year, notwithstanding that the electoral committee may have inherited a functional office from its predecessor. 

While the fee for the Technical Support Consultant (TSC) was N135 million in 2022, the amount jumped by N10 million to N25 million.

It was also observed that the three (NBA) zones had a flat rate of N2.1 million this year unlike in 2022 when the Northern and Eastern zones cost N960,000 while the Western Zone cost about one-third of that figure, standing at N340,000.

Responding to these concerns, Abimbola told CITY LAWYER that the budgetary figure is a mere estimate, saying: “What we have is merely a budget, not an invoice of cost as you seem to infer.”

On whether no facilities were handed over by the 2022 electoral committee, the ECNBA helmsman said: “Contrary to your indication, we did not inherit any functional office as the last ECNBA operated from Abuja ICC borrowed facilities.”

Speaking to the issue of the N10 million jump in the TSC fee, the senior lawyer said: “Note also the astronomical inflation that has occurred since 2022 and prices of all components that have more than tripled since then, and put your thoughts and comments in perspective.”

The NBA Election is scheduled to hold on July 20, 2024.

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MUSAWA VERDICT: EX NBA VP HEADS TO APPEAL COURT

Former Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) First Vice President, Mr. John Aikpokpo-Martins and Bar Leader Funmi Adeogun have headed to the Court of Appeal to challenge the verdict of the Federal High Court which dismissed their lawsuit against the Minister of Art, Culture and Creative Economy Hannatu Musawa and media personality Kenny Ogungbe.

CITY LAWYER recalls that the duo had dragged Musawa to court for allegedly violating the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Act. The lawsuit led to a discord between the duo and NBA leadership. Analysts believe that it is not unconnected with the dissolution of the Executive Committee of NBA Section on public Interest and Development Law (NBA-SPIDEL) led by Aikpokpo-Martins.

They also asked the court to compel the NYSC to nullify the certificates given to Musawa and Ogungbe, alleging that the issuance of the certificate was contrary to the provisions of NYSC Act Cap N84.

In the Notice of Appeal made available to CITY LAWYER, the duo asked the Appeal Court to set aside the judgment of Justice J. K. Omotosho on the ground that the NBA was not a party to the case and that “NBA did not apply to join in the case as a party or interested party.”

The appellants also argued that the judge misdirected himself in law when he held that “the plaintiffs in this suit have commenced this action not in their personal capacity as natural persons but in their official capacities as chairman and secretary of NBA Section on public interest and development law”.

They contended that “There is nowhere in the entire affidavit in support of the originating summons that the appellants deposed that they bring the action as the chairman and secretary of NBA-SPIDEL.”

The appellants also stated that the trial judge misdirected himself in law and in fact when he held that “the said NBA-SPIDEL being an incorporated body and without the authority of the National Executive Council of the Nigerian Bar Association before this suit was instituted” when the same section 17(4) of the NBA constitution relied upon by the Honourable Court did not give only the National Executive Council of the NBA the exclusive power to grant authority sections to institute actions in court in the name of the Association and when also there was no evidence that the National Executive Council did not authorize the institution of this case.

The appellants had sought a declaration at the lower court that Musawa and Ogungbe are not entitled to be engaged as employees by any employer of labour or services (including the Federal Government of Nigeria) without first possessing and presenting their certificates of national youth service.

They also sought a declaration that the Musawa is not entitled to continue to hold the exalted office of Honourable Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria or any public office in Nigeria after allegedly violating the provisions of Sections 2(1), 12(1), and 13(1) of the National Youth Service Corps Act, Cap. N84, LFN 2004.

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BREAKING: ‘WE’LL GIVE ALL DISQUALIFIED NBA ASPIRANTS FAIR HEARING,’ SAYS APPEALS C’TE CHAIR

The Chairman of the the National Officers’ Election Appeal Committee (NOEAC), Mr. Usman Ogwu Sule SAN has allayed fears of disqualified aspirants that they may be shut out of the appeals process.

Responding to an enquiry by CITY LAWYER over allegations that the appeals committee published a “wrong” email address to which disqualified aspirants are to send their appeals, Sule told CITY LAWYER in a telephone conversation that he had received similar complaints.

He however assured all disqualified aspirants that the committee was not eager to shut out anyone from the appeals process, saying: “I am aware of such complaints. We are dealing with it. Aspirants are free to send in their appeals through as many channels as possible. They may even send copies to NBA Secretariat.

“One of the disqualified aspirants even sent to my WhatsApp number. My number is available. If they send it, we will receive it and treat it. If we receive hard copy from the NBA Secretariat, we will treat it. We are very flexible about it.

“It is our Bar; we must get it right. We will accept and treat all appeals. I think today or tomorrow is the deadline. If any aspirant fails to meet the deadline, that we cannot help.”

Some aspirants told CITY LAWYER that they were having challenges accessing the advertised email for receipt of the appeals.

The NOEAC had in its Guidelines for the appeals dated 6th May, 2024 stated that “All Appeals shall be sent to the NBA NOEAC via email to stellaohiozokai@nigerianbar.ng, and must be sent within 7 ( seven) days of receipt of Notice of the Disqualification.”

But some disqualified aspirants who attempted to send their appeal to the email address got an error message which read: “Message blocked. Your message to stellaohiozokai@nigerianbar.ng has been blocked.”

CITY LAWYER gathered that some aspirants had to resort to the email address displayed on top of the NOEAC letterheaded paper, even as some said they have received acknowledgement to their emails.

There are strong indications that the correct email is stellaohiozokhai@nigerianbar.ng, while at least one aspirant told CITY LAWYER that he had to send to both emails to ensure delivery of his appeal.

However, incumbent NBA Treasurer Caroline Ladidi Anze-Bishop was at press time still having grey hair trying to obtain an acknowledgement to her email, even as a source close to the embattled National Officer told CITY LAWYER that she had sent several emails and reminders on the issue without any positive feedback.

Part IX of the Second Schedule to the NBA Constitution provides as follows:

1) “Any candidate who is disqualified by the ECNBA in respect of his nomination or candidature, may within seven days of the communication of the decision, appeal to the Election Appeal Committee.

2) “The Election Appeal Committee, shall upon receipt of an appeal lodged by a Candidate in the manner stated above, hear the appeal, and make a decision thereon within fourteen (14) days thereof. Such hearing may be based on documents only, or by physical hearing or hearing via electronic medium.

3) “The decision of the Election Appeal Committee on any appeal lodged by a Candidate shall be final and binding on the parties.”

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SANNI LAUDS MAIKYAU ON ETI-OSA BRANCH CARETAKER C’TE

The Founding Chairman of Eti-Osa Lawyers Forum (ELF), Mr. Adewale Sanni has heaped praise on the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) President, Mr. Yakubu Maikyau SAN for speedily empaneling the Eti-Osa Branch Caretaker Committee.

CITY LAWYER recalls that Maikyau had in a statement named a five-member caretaker committee to formally midwife the branch into existence, following the ground-work done by the forum.

Speaking on the development, Sanni commended the NBA President for the gesture, saying it spotlights Maikyau as a consummate Bar-man whose entire focus is on the well-being of the profession.

His words: “We commend the commitment, dedication and unflinching support of the NBA President, Mr. Y. C. Maikyau SAN and his team towards the eventual actualisation of the much desired NBA Eti-Osa Branch.

“The recent appointment of the five-man Caretaker Committee by the President, especially at this critical moment in the twilight of his regime when other leaders would have been focused on winding down, is most commendable.

“It clearly portrays his continued commitment to the growth of the Bar and the opening of more vistas for the development and welfare of lawyers.

“Notwithstanding that the President did not give any commitment to the creation of the branch nor did he make it a campaign issue to us, we are delighted that he since assumption of office has been clear in his unwavering desire towards the establishment of the Branch – provided all conditions precedent were met. The constitution of the Caretaker committee is the icing on the cake! We are grateful for this commitment.

“We must also express our profound gratitude and appreciation to the President for his careful consideration and choice of very experienced colleagues and administrators as well as his preference for diversity as reflected in the committee’s membership.

“May I on behalf of all our colleagues here at Eti-Osa, assure the President and his team that maximum support and cooperation shall be extended to the committee to ensure a hitch-free launch of the Branch as envisaged by the President.

“We welcome the caretaker committee members and promise to assist them with all necessary wherewithal to ensure that they succeed in this all-important task. I note that the committee has already swung into action and we shall be meeting almost immediately as requested, to facilitate expeditious performance of their mandate.”

“Ours in Eti-Osa has always been a professional family affair, and this is what shall be demonstrated to the delight of all members of the NBA generally.

“This Executive Committee, especially Mr. President, the General Secretary as well as other National officers and NBA-NEC representatives shall remain our heroes forever.”

It is recalled that NBA-NEC had on February 29, 2024 given its final nod to the establishment of NBA Eti-Osa Branch. Following the approval, Maikyau constituted a Caretaker Committee for the branch.

The committee, appointed by the National Executive Committee (NEC), is tasked with administering the affairs of the branch for a period of three months and conducting elections for the branch’s pioneer executive committee.

The Caretaker Committee is chaired by Olawale Ajia, with Chinyere Akuwueze Nwaogu serving as the Secretary. Other members of the committee include Clifford Orighomisan Atakere, Hauwa Halidu, and Ganiyu Adebowale Johnson.

Maikyau directed the committee to plan and hold the Annual General Meeting of the branch within the stipulated three-month period, during which the election of the executive committee will be conducted. The committee is expected to complete the election process and hand over to the elected Branch Executive Committee on or before August 7, 2024.

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TOBENNA EROJIKWE SECURES FREE ENERGY SECTOR TRAINING FOR LAWYERS

NBA-ICLE ANNOUNCES KICK-OFF OF ITS FULLY FUNDED PARTNERSHIP WITH NIGERIAN CONTENT DEVELOPMENT AND MONITORING BOARD (NCMBD)

The Nigerian Bar Association Institute of Continuing Legal Education (NBA-ICLE) under the leadership of Tobenna Erojikwe in partnership with the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCMBD) has concluded arrangements for the commencement of an all-expense-paid in-person energy sector training for shortlisted Nigerian lawyers.

Applications for the training open today, 7th May 2024, and close on 27th May 2024. The training is expected to equip Nigerian lawyers with the knowledge and skills required to advise on transactions and engagements in all facets of the energy sector. The application link is https://bit.ly/3JN1tpH.

The NCMDB and NBA-ICLE have noted that the training is of strategic importance to both institutions as a means of growing local advisory capacity in the energy sector and expanding the knowledge base and income-earning ability of Nigerian lawyers.

According to the Chairman of the NBA-ICLE, Tobenna Erojikwe, “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”.

He continued “This training is the first in the series of such trainings under the NCMDB partnership and is open to only lawyers who are based, or are practising, in any of the six states in the South-South zone of Nigeria. Similar trainings covering lawyers in other zones will be announced in due course”.

The trainings will take place in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State from 16th to 18th June 2024 and will be facilitated by experts drawn from the Energy Law and Policy Faculty of the NBA-ICLE. Under the terms of the partnership as negotiated by NBA-ICLE, all expenses of the shortlisted in-person applicants will be fully borne by NCDMB.

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AT LAST, NBA APPEALS C’TE ISSUES GUIDELINES ON DISQUALIFIED ASPIRANTS

The National Officers’ Election Appeal Committee (NOEAC) has finally issued guidelines on how disqualified aspirants may appeal their disqualification by the Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (ECNBA).

CITY LAWYER had noted that many disqualified aspirants were left in a quandary as the NOEAC did not release guidelines for appeals more than 48 hours after publication of the final list of candidates by the electoral body.

While the ECNBA publication is dated 3rd May, 2024 the NOEAC publication on the guidelines is dated 6th May, 2024. All the aspirants may have received their notifications on 3rd May, 2024.

Consistent with Part IX of the Second Schedule to the NBA Constitution 2015 (as amended), the appellate body wrote: “Any candidate who is disqualified by the ECNBA in respect of his nomination or Candidature, may within seven days of the communication of the decision, appeal to the NBA-NOEAC.”

The electoral committee had in a notice on its “final” list of candidates stated that “Disqualified candidates may wish to exercise their right of appeal against the decision under Part IX, 2nd Schedule of the NBA Constitution 2015 (As amended in 2021).”

Among those disqualified by the electoral body for sundry reasons are Joyce Oduah, Caroline Anze-Bishop, Sabastine Anyia, Osamuede Asenoguan, Mohammed Tsav, Chukwuemeka Mbamala, Felix Ashimole, Henry Chiduabo, Adejorin Abiona, Wahab Muhammed, Dhikrullah Balogun and Ibekwe Nkiru.

Investigation by CITY LAWYER showed that while most of the aspirants are eager to file appeals against the decisions of the electoral committee, the delay in release of the guidelines left them with no clue on how to file their appeals.

The situation was compounded by the fact that the NOEAC, which was appointed last April by NBA President, Mr. Yakubu Maikyau SAN, did not publicize any physical or email address through which aspirants can reach the appellate body.

Though most of the aspirants had told CITY LAWYER at the weekend that they had started processing their appeals, lack of information on the appeal guidelines had thrown them into confusion.

At least one disqualified aspirant told CITY LAWYER that he had emailed the NBA Secretariat to ask for the appeal guidelines.

While other aspirants were racking their brains on how to navigate the additional hurdle thrown on their path by the absence of appeal guidelines, one disqualified aspirant told CITY LAWYER that he had to send his appeal to the personal email of the committee’s chairman.

Another aspirant said that he would have to travel to Abuja latest on Wednesday to physically submit his appeal, in the absence of any guidance from appeals committee. His words: “There is no email to file (an appeal). It means we have to go to Abuja to file. Today is sit-at-home (in the South East). By tomorrow or Wednesday, I hope to be in Abuja (to submit the appeal).”

Yet another worried aspirant said: “Maybe I will route the hard copy through the (NBA) president in the national secretariat.

“The committee ought to have issued these guidelines well before the publication of the list of qualified and disqualified candidates.

“I also think that there is need to amend our constitution such that the process of appeal is concluded before a list of cleared and disqualified candidates are published once and for all.”

Part IX of the Second Schedule to the NBA Constitution provides as follows:

1) “Any candidate who is disqualified by the ECNBA in respect of his nomination or candidature, may within seven days of the communication of the decision, appeal to the Election Appeal Committee.

2) “The Election Appeal Committee, shall upon receipt of an appeal lodged by a Candidate in the manner stated above, hear the appeal, and make a decision thereon within fourteen (14) days thereof. Such hearing may be based on documents only, or by physical hearing or hearing via electronic medium.

3) “The decision of the Election Appeal Committee on any appeal lodged by a Candidate shall be final and binding on the parties.”

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GADZAMA LEADS CUSTOMS APPEAL TEAM AGAINST AUTO DEALERS N500M JUDGMENT

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has appealed the decision of the Federal High Court in a case brought by the Registered Trustees of Auto-Mobile Dealers Friends Association against the service.

CITY LAWYER recalls that the court sitting in Lagos had on December 27, 2023  delivered a judgment in favour of the Registered Trustees of Auto-Mobile Friends Association against the NCS in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/665/ 2021.

Dissatisfied with the judgment, the Nigeria Customs Service has now brought an Appeal No. CA/L/LAG/CV/280/2024 against the judgment of the trial court.

According to court papers sighted by CITY LAWYER, Nigeria Customs Service strongly believes that it is statutorily empowered to, upon reasonable suspicion, search for, seize or remove anything liable to forfeiture under the Customs Act.

It has urged the appellate court to consider the powers of the Nigeria Customs Service under its enabling law vis-a-vis other legal issues that have been submitted for consideration and determination by the Court of Appeal.

The Federal Government agency also filed a motion praying the Court of Appeal to grant an order staying execution of the judgment as well as an injunction restraining the automobile dealers from taking any step that is capable of rendering nugatory the decision of the appellate court in the event the appeal succeeds.

Meanwhile, the Nigeria Customs Service has hired fiery senior lawyer, Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama, SAN to lead its legal team for the impending legal fireworks.

Analysts believe that the appeal court’s decision on the matter will enrich Nigeria’s legal jurisprudence and impact the national economy.

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SHOCKER: ‘THERE ARE 2 MOLES IN ECNBA FOR HATCHET JOB,’ SAYS NBA VP

Fiery Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Second Vice President, Mr. Chukwuemeka Ugo has alleged that at least two members of the Electoral Committee of the NBA (ECNBA) have been planted to do a “hatchet job.”

In a post on his verified Facebook handle monitored by CITY LAWYER, Ugo, who is popularly called “Democrat,” also alleged that the embattled incumbent NBA Treasurer, Caroline Ladidi Anze-Bishop is a victim of a fight-back by the powers that she stepped on their toes in her quest for transparency in NBA finances. He stated that he would have suffered the same fate if he had vied for any elective position in the forthcoming elections.

The allegation raises serious concerns regarding the integrity of the forthcoming elections which the electoral body is billed to midwife.

Ugo urged lawyers to protect the fiery NBA National Officer, warning that to do otherwise would ensure that NBA members who would want to challenge the leadership for any infractions would have been intimidated from doing so.

He also disagreed with the electoral committee on its decision to disqualify some of the aspirants, saying that courts of law would have taken a different view if the same issues were litigated.

His words: “I know that if I had picked a nomination form, the present ECNBA – apart from the Chairman – could have disqualified me no matter how correct my document may have been! There are two members in the ECNBA that were given directives never to allow certain persons to go through. The NBA Elections Appeal Committee should correct same.”

He added that “Lawyers of good conscience should protect the NBA Treasurer! The power that she stepped on are fighting back.”

The full text of the post is below.

As a Democrat and a true lover in NBA, as well as for the peace and harmony of one indivisible Nigerian Bar Association, may I make a few remarks about the ‘breaking news’ of various disqualifications of aspirants to various offices of the NBA national elections.

I have a different mindset to the ECNBA findings over the disqualification of some aspirants for the NBA national elections.

If I may make this analogy, can a wrong seal affixed to a court process terminate the hearing and determination of a case in a court of law? If the answer to this is in the negative, ECNBA then should know that their decisions were wrong.

The issue remains: did those that nominated some of the aspirants pay their BPF? Did they pay within time?

ECNBA cannot claim to be a foreigner; they ought to have confirmed from the portal or from the Secretariat of NBA if same persons alleged to have submitted stamp and seal receipt and other receipts actually paid their BPF in the real sense of it. If found that they all paid, why disqualify candidates for reasons of non-submission of same?

Does it mean those who submitted, for example, ‘fake’ BPF receipts but which are not authenticated or verified by ECNBA but on which basis they are cleared are then better off than persons who actually paid their BPF but wrongly attached branch dues or stamp and seal receipts?

I expected the ECNBA to request the affected aspirants to bring forth the missing documents to ascertain whether they actually paid their BPF; that would have been fair and, in the end, justice  would have been served. This position remains the true position in law if we are confronted with  a similar issue in court proceedings – which, I know, is too elementary.

Also, disqualifying a candidate based on earning salary from government, as confirmed by ECNBA, leaves much to be desired. If the NBA Constitution provides for aspirants to the position of General Secretary and some others to be in private legal practice, all the candidate needs to show is his or her evidence that he or she is in private legal practice, not to dig through a planned and hatched petition because the said aspirant was so vocal during NBA AGM towards NBA’s management of her finances.

I know that if I had picked a nomination form, the present ECNBA – apart from the Chairman – could have disqualified me no matter how correct my document may have been! There are two members in the ECNBA that were given directives never to allow certain persons to go through. The NBA Elections Appeal Committee should correct same.

If someone paid money in 2023 and the system generated 2024 BPF receipt, what is wrong with that? Is it wrong to pay too early? As long as the purpose of payment was for 2024 BPF and the receipt of same generated, what is wrong with that?

Lawyers of good conscience should protect the NBA Treasurer! The power that she stepped on are fighting back. WE SHALL WAKE UP SOME DAY TO SEE THAT THERE IS NO VOCAL LAWYER  ANYMORE IN NBA IF WE CLOSE OUR MOUTH AND EYES TO ALLOW ENEMIES AND PERCEIVED OR ALLEGED OWNERS OF NBA SILENCE LAWYERS WHO EXPOSE THE IRREGULARITIES IN THE FINANCES OF NBA AT THE AGM OR ANY FORA. She deserves a fair trial, and I call on lawyers to say no to the sponsored petition against her. Let the writer of the petition come out to own the petition as the true author of same contents with the alleged withdrawn one.

Did her office release her to be in private practice? Yes, as enshrined in the constitution. Is she in private practice? Yes, as she rightly said, she practices in Jos with a private law firm. As well, NBA issued her a green stamp and seal, demonstrating that she is in private practice.

If my establishment released me to go and serve NBA in private practice capacity, what other evidence does ECNBA need to insist she is in government practice – which is not contained anywhere in our constitution?

I am very much aware of the reasons behind section 9(3)(b). This is purely to prevent government interference and or government patronage, and for an elected officer in same position to hold government accountable and confront them at every needed chance to so do. The drafters envisaged conflict between government and the NBA, and ‘whether a paid employee of government can face his/her employer?’

These notions can be described as old-fashioned, because the purpose of same has not been achieved. NBA, for the last 10 years, could not organize any activity without running to government for help. Our Secretariat was bankrolled by those in corridors of power. NBA for the past 21 months has never questioned the government on the dwindling economy and general well-being of her citizens as well as security of lives and property in Nigeria. How are the private practitioners better than those in government employment?

A true answer to the above can be found in the powers of NLC over government policies. These are a group of government employees, yet they are holding the same government accountable to the ills of the society. Who then says an NBA president or General Secretary from the public sector would not be better than some of us in private practice?

I sincerely wish to encourage all government-employed members of NBA not to give up; it is a matter of time and people of good conscience will assume power and realize that section 9(3)(b) of the NBA Constitution (as amended) actually offends the rights of lawyers in public service to vote and be voted for.

I am aware that one day shall come where sui generis Bar men shall rise to preach the true meaning of promoting the rule of law, where every lawyer paying his or her BPF will know that all lawyers are equal.

I stand today to advocate that section 9(3)(b) is so discriminatory and should be challenged in our court to give every lawyer a sense of belonging, where anyone can aspire to any position of his or her choice in NBA. If you try to lead and such obstacle persists, I advise you find yourself a place to lead yourselves where your rights will be observed and respected.

#Democrats
#Democrat2030

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NBA ELECTIONS: WHY ECNBA DISQUALIFIED ODUAH, BISHOP, ASENOGUAN, OTHERS – INVESTIGATION

Details have emerged on the reasons given by the Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (ECNBA) for disqualifying many aspirants for the forthcoming NBA Elections.

Among those who ECNBA hammer fell on are former NBA General Secretary Joyce Oduah; incumbent NBA Treasruer Caroline Anze-Bishop; former NBA Bwari Branch Chairman, Mohammed Tsav; fiery legal bogger, Felix Ashimole and returnee aspirants Ede Asenoguan, Sabastine Anyia and Chukwuemeka Mbamala among others.

CITY LAWYER investigation shows that Oduah was disqualified on the basis that she is yet to serve out the 10-year bar between holding two national offices.

CITY LAWYER had predicted last November in its Special Report on the elections that this bar may be a clog on Oduah’s march towards NBA Presidency.

A close associate of the aspirant told CITY LAWYER that ECNBA also queried Oduah for attaching an “invoice” instead of a branch receipt, even as she was said to have explained that that was how NBA Lagos Branch receipt is depicted.

For Anze-Bishop, who CITY LAWYER also predicted may be hobbled by the “private legal practice” requirement for aspirants for the position of NBA General Secretary, the ECNBA stated that she stood disqualified “as your application and nomination failed to meet the constitutional requirements to contest for the position under the NBA Constitution 2015 (As Amended in 2021) herein after referred to as the Constitution.”

The electoral committee stated that the fiery National Officer failed to convince it during a hearing on a petition by one Musa Tijjani that she was in private legal practice, saying: “Your Annexure 1 is a letter from NSCDC which confirms you as a staff of NSCDC, but granted leave of absence for 4 years to serve the NBA and practice law as a private legal practitioner among other things. It however did not terminate your status as a public servant in the employment of the NSCDC who remain your primary employer and which employment relationship defines your primary status as a public servant”

CITY LAWYER investigation shows that some aspirants were caught by the saga of attaching “receipts” from digital payment platforms – especially FLUTTERWAVE which handled the 2024 Bar Practising Fee (BPF) payment – instead of the Supreme Court receipt. Returnee aspirants Mbamala and Anyia as well as Ashimole were caught in this web. Ashimole was also said to have paid his BPF for 2024 on 24th December, 2023.

ECNBA argued that they could not verify the payee as such “receipts” do not bear the name of the payee. Efforts by aspirants to persuade the electoral committee to access the NBA database for confirmation of payment or to argue that the parameters on the Flutterwave notices tallied with the Supreme Court receipts which they later provided were unsuccessful.

Another issue was the attaching of ‘Stamp and Seal’ receipt as against the BPF receipt by some aspirants. Aspirants who fell under this hammer include Oduah whose nominator was said to have attached a Stamp receipt for the third year instead of a BPF receipt. Also caught under this umbrella were Ede Asenoguan and Mohammed Tsav. 

Multiple aspirants told CITY LAWYER that their attempts to remedy the issue were rebuffed by the electoral committee which argued that it was not permitted to “take fresh evidence” at the screening stage.

Returnee aspirant Dhikrullah Adewale Balogun, who is gunning for one of the 20 slots at the General Council of the Bar (GCB), was among the four aspirants disqualified for that race. He had his nomination rejected on the ground that he and his nominator did not attach branch due receipts for 2022.

Many of the aspirants told CITY LAWYER that they or their nominators had processed NBA stamps based on the documents presented to ECNBA, adding that the database for BPF also resides with the NBA.

They wondered why mere attachment of the receipts should be an issue against whether the aspirant or his nominator actually paid the BPF or not, adding that the screening exercise was futile if aspirants could not remedy such irregularities.

All the aspirants told CITY LAWYER that they would appeal the ECNBA decisions. It remains to be seen how the National Officers’ Election Appeal Committee will deal with the impending petitions.

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ECNBA CLEARS AFAM OSIGWE TO RUN FOR NBA PRESIDENCY

Afam Osigwe SAN Cleared to Contest for President of Nigerian Bar Association!

Afam Osigwe SAN has officially been given the green light to vie for the prestigious position of
President of the Nigerian Bar Association! The Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association has conducted a thorough review and has cleared Afam Osigwe SAN to contest in the upcoming elections.

This exciting development marks a significant milestone in the legal landscape of Nigeria. With his wealth of experience, impeccable credentials, and unwavering commitment to justice and fairness, Afam Osigwe SAN is poised to bring about positive change and transformation to the Nigerian Bar Association.

As a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Afam Osigwe has demonstrated exemplary leadership, integrity, and dedication to the legal profession. His track record speaks volumes, showcasing his passion for upholding the rule of law and advancing the rights of all citizens.

With Afam Osigwe SAN in the race for the presidency, there’s a renewed sense of hope and optimism within the legal community. His candidacy represents a beacon of light, promising a future where transparency, accountability, and inclusivity reign supreme.

As we await the directives of the electoral body on lifting the ban on campaigns, stay tuned for more updates as we witness history in the making!

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ANZE-BISHOP: FALANA DISTANCES SELF, AS LAWYER WITHDRAWS PETITION

  • SAYS MATTER IS SUB-JUDICE

  • ECNBA SHIELDS WITHDRAWAL LETTER FROM ASPIRANT

Leading law firm of Falana and Falana Chambers has distanced itself from the petition by its Head of Chambers, Mr. Samuel Ogala against the candidacy of embattled Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Treasurer and aspirant for the position of General Secretary, Caroline Ladidi Anze-Bishop.

In a letter to the Electoral Committee of the NBA (ECNBA) obtained by CITY LAWYER, Ogala claimed sole ownership of the petition.

There are strong indications that the electoral committee also did not notify the aspirant that Ogala had withdrawn his petition against her candidacy, though it received the notice on the eve of the hearing.

Sources at the hearing told CITY LAWYER that the electoral committee in fact asked Anze-Bishop to respond to the ‘petition from Falana & Falana Chambers.’

Ogala wrote: “I wish to state categorically that the said petition was authored by me in exercise of my legal right as a member of the Nigerian Bar Association and not on the instructions of my Principal, MR. FEMI FLANA SAN as being insinuated in the various section of the media.”

Curiously, the letter of withdrawal was again written on the letterhead of FALANA & FALANA’S CHAMBERS.

Dated April 24, 2024 and signed personally by the senior lawyer, the letter was received by ECNBA the same day.

Ogala stated in the letter that “My intention to withdraw the said petition is premised on the fact that it has come to my notice that one PAUL J. MAGGA has filed a suit before the Federal High Court Abuja in Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/462/2024 against the Nigerian Bar Association and the Chairman of the ECNBA on the same subject matter my petition is premised on.

“By virtue of the said suit, the said subject is now sub judice and it will not (sic) practically possible for me to appear before your committee as scheduled for Thursday the 25th of April to discuss the content of my petition.

“Kindly accept this letter as a formal notice of me withdrawing the said petition on this premise.”

CITY LAWYER gathered that the aspirant, in response to ECNBA’s query on Ogala’s petition, adopted his written answer to the petition as well as the petition by one Musa Tijjani.

It was also gathered that the electoral committee hinted that it may not be bound by the pending lawsuit by Paul Magga, arguing that Anze-Bishop is not a party to the lawsuit.

The hearing was attended by all ECNBA members, with the electoral committee chairman, Mr Oluseun Abimbola SAN; the secretary, Huwaila Muhammad and ranking member, Mr. Abdullahi Yahaya SAN physically present.

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‘WHY WE’RE AGAINST HIKE IN NBA-AGC FEES’ – LAWYERS

Many lawyers have taken to social media channels to protest the over 600 per cent hike in this year’s Nigerian Bar Association Annual General Conference (NBA-AGC) fees.

Aside from some young lawyers under the aegis of “Decent Fees” who recently launched an online petition against the fees approved by NBA National Executive Council (NBA-NEC) at its recent meeting in Yola, most lawyers who spoke on the 2024 fees have nothing but harsh words concerning the increment.

CITY LAWYER recalls that the Chairperson of the NBA Annual General Conference Planning Committee (AGCPC) Oyinkan Badejo-Okusanya had yesterday presented the proposed AGC rates to NBA-NEC for approval at its meeting in Yola.

But as soon as news of the increment hit the social media, lawyers began to dissect the figures, arguing that the fee schedule does not align with current economic realities.

It is recalled that while the Early Bird rate for young lawyers during the 2023 AGC was as low as N7, 500 for lawyers who met the Continuing Legal Education (CLE) requirements, the rate has jumped by nearly 700% to N50,000. Lawyers of 10-19 years post-call will pay N75,000 as Early Bird rate as against N36,000 last year, indicating about 100% increase, while lawyers of 20 years and above post-call experience enjoy perhaps the most marginal increment of a mere N5,000, paying N100,000 as Early Bird rate as against N95,000 paid last year.

Senior Advocates of Nigeria, Attorneys-General and Benchers will pay N250,000 as Early Bird rate as against N190,000 paid during the 2023 AGC. Magistrates also witnessed a marginal increment of about 25% in their rates from N50,000 to N75,000 while Judges/Khadis will pay N100,000 as against N75,000 paid last year. Virtual attendance was free for young lawyers in 2023 but will cost N5,000 this year.

While the young lawyers argue that AGC committee heaped more burden on them than senior lawyers by the over 600% increase in their fee, others say the parlous economy does not justify the sharp increments.

Commenting on one of the lawyers’ WhatsApp forums, a lawyer wrote: “Wow! The AGC 2024 Registration fee for Early Bird is so high concerning the nature of things in the country.”

Responding, another lawyer wrote: “The fees should be looked into …. We all know that most young lawyers can’t cough out such amount of money, being that most of the firms do no pay or pay little… If they don’t want the young lawyers to attend they should simply say it… Then imagine fare to Lagos, Hotel accomodations (sic), other miscellaneous… It should be reviewed pls. Come to think of it, we paid Bar dues already… So why the heavy amount? 50k +130 flight (35k bus)+20k hotel (cheap one oo) lol for 4 days o.”

While another commentator quipped that “Is good when you marry two wife you will know which is best,” another lawyer noted that “They actually considered the situation of the country, then they decided the burden should be on you and not on the association. That’s exactly what the government does, they increase your taxes and bills once the going gets tough. No difference! Just a bunch of self-serving greedy leaches calling themselves leaders.”

Waxing philosophical, another commentator wrote: “What good had the YC administration done for lawyers? What value has he brought to the profession? This is how he wraps up his rule? With this grand extortion?”

Fiery blogger Felix Ashimole attempted to defend the new rates, saying, “But NEC Members approved it! So hold your NEC Members responsible. But there is over 45% inflation rate between last year and now!” 

Yet another commentator however fired back, saying: “That is why the person that proposed the budget that executed last year own (Mazi Afam Osigwe) deserves Aka (applause). It is what the committee proposed that INEC approved.”

Harping on transparency, another lawyer wrote: “NBA should declare to us all the donations from individuals, government of local, state and Federal. Also that of NGO’s, foreign bodies and companies for the conference.”

A ranking Bar Leader who spoke to CITY LAWYER on condition of anonymity said: “There is war in the platforms. In fact, if I dare defend Badejo (-Okusanya) again they will eat me raw.”

Though the AGCPC Chairperson had informed NBA-NEC that the increase was due to the current 30 % national inflation rate, many young lawyers argue that their rate should not have shot up by almost 700% as against the 30% inflation rate.

Below are reasons given by signatories for signing the online petition by young lawyers. It remains to be seen whether the NBA will effect a downward review of the rates in view of the groundswell of protests against the rates.

Asogwa Ferdinand
The amount attached for this years confrence (sic) for young lawyers is highly insensitive

Wonder Ajibobola
Most young lawyers in Nigeria earn below 50 thousand naira month, which is actually way too small considering the economic situation of the country. The least the association can do is to give young lawyers a soft landing.

Frank Eze
The Conference fees is elitist

Ekundayo Oluwafemi
The amount required to pay is too high and I don’t have the capacity

Emmanuel Nwafor
I want the NBA to look in to the conference fee and also consider the economy of Young Lawyer, so that they will have the sense of belong and share joy with our seniors, as we learn along…

Fasasi Sodiq
I’m signing this because of the outrageous amount of NBA conference fee for lawyers which I find ridiculous. In a sane clime the conference supposed to be free. Some of this lawyers are still suffering to find their footings. Now a platform designed for network turned to an extorting spree…

Leonard Abah
The fee is unreasonably Outrageous and the reasons attributed for it are not good enough

Ledua Zor-Akekue
I am a young lawyer and want attend the conference, but with this current fee I will not be able to attend. This fee is obviously high for a young lawyer.

Mmaduabuchi Okeh
The fee is harsh and beyond the reach of many young lawyers

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CORDELIA EKE URGES YOUNG LAWYERS TO BREAK OUT, NETWORK

A leading aspirant in the forthcoming Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Port Harcourt Branch Elections, Mrs. Cordelia Eke has urged young lawyers to break out of their “comfort zone” and network in order to boost their career.

Speaking recently at the monthly meeting of the NBA Young Lawyers Forum (NBA-YLF), Port Harcourt Branch, Eke, who is also a Director in the Rivers State Ministry of Justice, dwelt on the topic, “NETWORKING AS A TOOL FOR CAREER ADVANCEMENT IN THE LEGAL PROFESSION.”

She noted that “Staying in your comfort zone is not going to put food on your table; you have to break out. I had to learn to socialize; as a young lawyer, I went to law firms to ask to handle their briefs. I learnt how to relate with seniors as a young lawyer.”

Saying that she was “shy almost to the point of timidity” as a young person, she however noted that she had to “break out” by joining NBA committees. “It gave me access to a lot of people,” she said, adding that “As a young lawyer, my wedding was well attended; Chief Okey Wali SAN attended, among other Bar Leaders. Though I didn’t know so much as a young lawyer, I learnt to speak up.”

The former Secretary of the Electoral Committee of the NBA (ECNBA) urged young lawyers not to ignore peer-to-peer networking, adding that they must be trustworthy and exhibit honesty in all their dealings with professional colleagues and others.

She warned against “looking down” on court registrars or other classes, noting that they could be very helpful in some circumstances.

The Bar Leader noted that her network has helped in boosting her career and professional development as a practitioner and President of the 1995 Law School Class.

She also advised that young lawyers should break out and network with delegates outside their usual network especially during conferences, adding that this has led to new opportunities for some lawyers.

Eke urged young lawyers to “network upwards” with senior lawyers as this could lead to recommendations for committee roles or new briefs, urging them to also explore networking opportunities in churches, clubs, and through volunteering.

On virtual networking, she noted that young lawyers should be more adept at this than senior lawyers, saying that “LinkedIn is top on my list. You also have Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter among others.”

Her words: “The important thing is to look for the opportunity to break out of the norm. Make yourself known, get involved and look for opportunity to showcase your talent. There are people who have travelled abroad via LinkedIn.”

Continuing, she said: “LinkedIn is a purely professional network. It connects you to influencers, experts, prospective mentors; it gives you an opportunity to showcase yourself professionally, and allows you to join some trade groups.”

Commending the Bar Leader for her speech, the Chairman of NBA-YLF Port Harcourt Branch, Dr. Victor Enebeli decried the invasion of the venue by hired thugs, saying: “I am not here as a political chairman; I am here as a chairman to lead.”

He added that Mrs. Eke was invited in her own right, saying: “We know quality when we see one; we know experience when we see one.”

The highlight of the session was when one young lawyer Godswill Okuru attested to getting a job placement via networking with Mrs. Eke.

The speech by Eke received intermittent applause from the excited audience in the parked hall.

Among those who attended the session are former NBA Assistant General Secretary, Mr. Okey Ohagba and former NBA Port Harcourt Branch Chairman, Mr. Sylvester Adaka. Others are two former chairmen of NBA YLF Port Harcourt Branch, Messrs Chisor Kejeh and Felix Ikpo. 

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NBA-NEC MAY SUSPEND VP OVER FACE-OFF WITH MAIKYAU

Baring last-minute rapprochement, the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) National Executive Council (NBA-NEC) currently in session in Yola may suspend NBA Second Vice President, Mr. Chukwuemeka Clement Ugo over his seeming face-off with NBA President, Mr. Yakubu Maikyau SAN.

CITY LAWYER gathered that there may be a motion under “Any Other Business” to suspend the outspoken Second Vice President who has recently criticized the NBA leadership over some policy decisions.

The NBA Second Vice President had berated Maikyau for holding NBA-NEC meetings exclusively in the Northern Zone. He also lampooned the NBA President for appointing committee members without recourse to the NBA Executive Committee, saying the practice goes contrary to the NBA Constitution and that Maikyau he is running a “dictatorship.”

Ugo was said to have alluded to the impending move in a Facebook post while responding to a commentator, saying he is aware of such a move.

There are strong indications that Maikyau has not been amused by the criticisms, especially coming from a ranking National Officer. He is said to be planning to extract his pound of flesh through the NBA-NEC.

The council recently dissolved the elected Executive Committee of the NBA Section on public Interest and Development Law (NBA-SPIDEL) following a similar face-off between the NBA President and estranged Chairman of NBA-SPIDEL, Mr. John Aikpokpo-Martins.

The dissolved NBA-SPIDEL Executive Committee has since gone to court to nullify the NBA-NEC resolution.

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NEPOTISM, JUSTICE AND THE CJN’S BURDEN

Nepotism Under the Current CJN has taken a New Form.

By Bayo Akinlade 

When one considers the history of the legal profession anywhere in the world it is not unusual to have family members heavily present in the practice whether as lawyers or as judges; afterall it is a noble profession and it’s nobility and the high cost of being a member of the profession would mean one is of wealthy and influential means.

Over the years, children of lawyers have themselves become lawyers, to take over their parents’ firms or their parents’ spots in the practice. And this goes for many professions and business that have survived from generation to generations. We mostly hear the term “Family Business”, the legal profession is mostly structured this way as well, with many lawyers wanting and even ensuring that their children become lawyers to carry on the legal legacy and if not children, a brother, sister, nephew or a cousin – and even in-laws.

It is also the same if one’s parent or family member becomes a Judge or a magistrate. There is a strong leaning towards bringing one’s family into the same line of work, especially if you feel that the line of work is a prosperous and comfortable one. Wealth and influence are the key words here.

On the part of practice in a law firm, it is mostly about wealth while for the Judiciary, it’s about influence.

What then makes it a big deal regarding the current state of affairs where many have criticized the appointment of Judges with very close family relationships at the level of the National Judicial Council, the Federal and State Judicial Service Commissions which are the appointing bodies for the Judiciary.

Let me opine here that I do not think this is about whether or not family members of Heads of Court are qualified or not, it’s about the naked show of Judicial rascality at the highest level. (Pardon my bluntness). This rascality is caused by the inadequacy of our current laws regarding appointment of Judges. Did you know that at the State level, appointment of magistrates is in the hands of State Governors? These Governors also have tremendous powers in the appointment of High Court Judges and Justices of the Court of Appeal? Indirectly, every Supreme Court Justice and all Heads of Courts owe their position to one Governor or the other. But this is not my point here.

“Let me opine here that I do not think this is about whether or not family members of Heads of Court are qualified or not, it’s about the naked show of Judicial rascality at the highest level.”

The Judiciary is not a law firm or a private business where one who reaches its highest office should imagine it as a legacy platform in which to insert his family members or close friends. It is a service structure that requires people with a high moral standard, people who are not easily influenced and who will speak truth to power; people who, when they get to the position of authority, would consider the best minds and are willing to appoint an unknown, not socially or politically exposed lawyer into the Bench.

The dangers of this nepotistic trend is unquantifiable; it chips away at the independence of the Judiciary – not in a financial way but in a moral way. A judge who becomes one with the influence of a family member is already compromised, even though they may not know it. But when push comes to shove, our Nigerian traditional ethics dominate the ethics given to us by our colonial masters – respect your elders or be cursed for life

Again, one would wonder why anyone will want their family members on the Bench because it is obvious there is no money in it (wealth). Yes, judicial officers are not paid very well but the way they insert their children and other family members into the Bench may mean there is wealth to gain, since you cannot survive this economy on influence alone except that influence translates to wealth – in which case we end up having a corrupt judge to deal with.

I end this to ask, what should we do to discourage this current nepotistic practice by heads of court?

Let me reiterate here that within the profession family presence is not unusual; judges whose children are lawyers get a few pecks – they get to start off in a law firm of their choice, they have access to clients (not for their expertise most times but for who their parents, or uncle or brother or aunt etc are).

It is not unusual but it shouldn’t be obvious!

  • Bayo Akinlade is a lawyer and Convener of Fight Against Corruption in the Judiciary (FIACJ) and Citizens Support for Lower Courts

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TOBENNA EROJIKWE SEALS FREE AI TRAINING PACT FOR SENIOR LAWYERS

NEWS RELEASE

Tobenna Erojikwe, NBA-ICLE, Responds to Lawyers’ Concerns, Secures Free AI Training for Lawyers Aged Over 35 Years Old

The Nigerian Bar Association’s Institute of Continuing Legal Education (NBA-ICLE), led by Tobenna Erojikwe, has responded to concerns raised by lawyers by securing a new training opportunity for those aged 35 and above through its partnership with ALX and the Mastercard Foundation.

In late February, the NBA-ICLE announced a strategic alliance with ALX and the Mastercard Foundation to provide artificial intelligence (AI) and technology training for Nigerian lawyers. The initial phase offered a 6-week course for lawyers aged 34 and under, with each participant getting free training for a course that they ordinarily would have been charged $200 for.

However, the age restriction drew complaints from many lawyers who were ineligible but eager to take part in the AI and tech training. Demonstrating a listening approach, Erojikwe and the NBA-ICLE engaged with ALX to find an accommodation for the lawyers excluded due to the age criteria.

Their efforts paid off, as ALX has now agreed to facilitate a free 2-day training course specifically designed for lawyers over the age of 35. The training sessions will be held on Saturday, April 27th, from 12–2 p.m. and Sunday, April 28th, from 3-5 p.m.

Erojikwe, Chairman of the NBA-ICLE Board, expressed his commitment to addressing members’ concerns. “We are pleased that ALX has agreed to offer this specialised course to ensure no lawyer misses out on gaining valuable AI and technology skills,” he stated.

Lawyers interested in attending the free 2-day training can register by visiting bit.ly/ai-for-law. Further details are also available on the attached flyer circulated by the NBA-ICLE.

This expanded training initiative underscores the NBA-ICLE’s responsiveness to its members’ needs and its commitment to empowering legal professionals with cutting-edge knowledge and equipping them to navigate an increasingly tech-driven profession seamlessly.

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NAIRA ABUSE: DAVIDO, OBI CUBANA, CUBANA CHIEF PRIEST REACT TO BAIL

Reactions have continued to trail the N10 million bail granted socialite Pascal Okechukwu, aka Cubana Chief Priest after he pleaded not guilty to alleged naira abuse.

CITY LAWYER recalls that the famous socialite was today arraigned before Justice Kehinde Ogundare of the Federal High Court, Lagos. on three-count charge brought by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

After pleading “Not guilty” to the charge, the court granted him bail for N10 million with two sureties in like sum who must be gainfully employed with the federal or state government and not less than Grade Level 16.

Also known as the ‘Celebrity Barman,’ Okechukwu was alleged to have committed the offence on February 13, 2024 during a social event.

Reacting to the bail on his Instagram account, the socialite said that he is humbled by the show of love he has received so far. According to him, it is now established that he is a force to reckon with and not just a small person. He also stated that money is nothing to worry about as he has it in abundance like water.

Posting a picture of himself after the judgement, he captioned it thus: “Seeing all your messages and love, I’m so humbled. Now it’s confirmed, CP (Chief Priest) no small. Money na water.”

Reacting to his post via the comment section, musician Davido said it was not possible for Cubana Chief Priest to be jailed, stressing that he could not bear not seeing him for six months. He wrote, “I no go see u for 6 months ke… Never.”

On his part, popular entrepreneur, Mr. Obinna Iyiegbu, better known as Obi Cubana, wrote: “This must be Abidoshaker you used!!🔥🔥😂🤣”

EFCC Prosecutor, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo SAN had on April 4, 2024 filed charges against Okechukwu. Count One reads: “That you, Okechukwu Pascal on 13th Feb. 2024, at Eko Hotel, within the jurisdiction of the court, while dancing during a social event, tampered with funds in the denomination of N500 (Five Hundred Naira) issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria by spraying same for two hours, and you thereby committed an offence, contrary to and punishable under Section 21(1) of the Central Bank Act 2007”.

In count 2, it was alleged “That you Okechukwu Pascal sometime in 2020, in Lagos during a social event, tampered with funds in the denomination of N500 (Five Hundred Naira) issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria by spraying same for two hours, and you thereby committed an offence, contrary to and punishable under Section 21(1) of the Central Bank Act 2007”.

Count 3 states that “you Okechukwu Pascal sometime in January 2024, in Lagos during a social event, tampered with funds in the denomination of N500 (Five Hundred Naira) issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria by spraying same and you thereby committed an offence, contrary to and punishable under Section 21(1) of the Central Bank Act 2007”.

Okechukwu’s arraignment comes barely days after EFCC arraigned controversial cross-dresser Idris Okuneye, better known as Bobrisky, on similar charges for which he was sentenced to a six-month jail term.

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NBA PUBLICIST AJIBOYE MARKS 40TH BIRTHDAY IN GRAND STYLE

NEWS RELEASE

Grand Celebration Marks Charles Ajiboye’s 40th Birthday as Distinguished Legal luminaries, Captains of Industries, Government functionaries, Royalty gather.

In a spectacle of opulence and camaraderie, Charles Ajiboye, a renowned figure in legal circles and business celebrated his milestone 40th birthday in a grand style, attended by a constellation of luminaries from various sectors.

The lavish event held at the elegant Ball Room of the prestigious Lagos Oriental Hotel in Victoria Island, Lagos.

The celebration commenced with a Thanksgiving Mass at the Catholic Church of Divine Mercy, Lekki, with Monsignor Paschal Nwazeapu as the Chief celebrant. Other officiating clergy members were Rev. Fr. Wisdom Chikezie, Rev. Fr. Joseph Anyanwu, Rev. Fr. Michael Ajiboye and Rev. Fr. Avoseh. The celebrant himself was the Lector at the celebration.

Guests thereafter moved to The Ballroom, Oriental Hotel for the 40th Birthday Ball. Some of the notable personalities present include Prince (Dr.) Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi, OFR, mni (Former minister FRN and Chairman, MTN Foundation); Hon. Dr. Abike Dabiri, OON (Chairman/CEO Nigerians in Diaspora Commission); Mr. Tafa Aliu (Chairman, Ikoyi Club, 1938) who led the entire Executive Committee members of the Club; Mr. Bolaji Martins (Secretary Island Club, Lagos); Otunba Dr. Peter Obafemi, Engr. Ibikunle Ogunbayo (Chairman, KOA Consultants); Sir Eugene Nwaizugbe (Grand Knight, KSM), Mr. IK Omigie (GM, Legal NNPCL); Otunba Akin Oshunboye (Chairman, Lagos State House of Assembly Commission); Otunba Babajide Rogers (former Gulf Bank MD); Dr. Muiz Banire, SAN; Dr. Babatunde Ajibade, SAN; Mr. Olumide Fusika, SAN; Mr. Sina Sofola, SAN; Hon. Justice Blessing Ajileye; Dapo Olanipekun, SAN; Dapo Akinosun, SAN; Mandy Asagba (3rd Vice President, NBA); Mr. Bamidele Ibironke, SAN; Mr. Adesina Adegbite (General Secretary, NBA); Habeeb Lawal (Publicity Secretary, NBA); Daniel Kip (Assistant General Secretary, NBA), Dr. Monday Ubani (SSA to the Senate President); Bisi Makanjuola, Chairman, NBA Lagos; Seyi Olawumi (Chairman, NBA Ikeja); Mr. Taiwo Ayedun (Chairman, Credit Registry); Mr. Olubisi Shaola (CEO, FinnGrey Construction); Mrs. Carol Ibharaneafe (President, African Women Lawyers Association, Nigeria); Mrs. Florence Atuluku, (President, National Association of Catholic Lawyers) and Sola Soyele of Channels TV among many others.

Distinguished speakers took turns to eulogize Ajiboye, highlighting his exemplary contributions to the legal profession, his remarkable achievements in business, and his impactful roles in humanitarian activities.

The presence of royalty added a touch of regal splendor to the occasion with the presence of HRH Oba Adedoyin Salisu (Oba Ijebu Isiwo) who graced the occasion with his wife, underscoring Ajiboye’s widespread influence and respect across diverse societal strata.

The celebration was further embellished with captivating musical and comic performances, sumptuous feasting, and convivial interactions, creating an ambiance of joy and conviviality that resonated throughout the event.

Later in the evening an energetic group of guests comprising ex-navy boys, young lawyers, youths of various bodies where Charles had served and those he served as Patron gathered for a White Gig. The electrifying All White Party lasted well after midnight. Guests were treated to memorable moments, reminiscing on shared experiences and forging new bonds of friendship and collaboration.

In his response, an overwhelmed Ajiboye expressed heartfelt appreciation to all who had graced the occasion, acknowledging the role of family, friends, colleagues, and well-wishers in shaping his journey thus far. He pledged to redouble his efforts in service to humanity and to continue striving for excellence in all his endeavors.

The celebration of Charles Ajiboye’s 40th birthday will undoubtedly be remembered as a testament to his sterling character, remarkable achievements, and the profound impact he has made in various spheres of society.

It was indeed a blast.

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AFAM OSIGWE X-RAYS REMUNERATION ORDER AND PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT

NEWS RELEASE

Afam Osigwe, SAN Explores Ethical Dimensions of the Remuneration Order at NBA Uyo Branch Law Week

At the opening ceremony of the Nigerian Bar Association Uyo Branch Law Week, Afam Osigwe, SAN, took part as a discussant in the panel session focused on the critical theme: “Professional Conduct vis-a-vis the Remuneration Order.”

During the panel session, Osigwe delved into the ethical implications of the Remuneration Order for legal practitioners, emphasizing the importance of upholding professional standards while navigating issues related to compensation. The Remuneration Order governs the fees that legal practitioners can levy for their services, aiming to ensure fairness and transparency in billing practices.

Osigwe explored how adherence to the order intersects with broader ethical considerations, such as integrity, fairness, and client trust.

He also examined the impact of the Remuneration Order on the legal profession’s reputation and public perception, highlighting the importance of striking a balance between professional ethics and financial considerations.

By addressing these issues, Osigwe contributed to a nuanced understanding of the complexities surrounding professional conduct and remuneration within the legal profession.

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EX JUDGE WANTS JUDGES TO BE ACTIVE CASE MANAGERS

  • ADVOCATES SHIFT TO NEW ADJUDICATORY MODEL

A retired High Court judge, Prof. (Justice) Alaba Omolaye-Ajileye has advocated a new approach to administering justice in Nigeria that departs from the current orthodox adversarial model to a modern approach rooted in transformative justice.

In a Keynote Address titled “Tomorrow’s Legal Profession Today: Today’s Legal Profession Tomorrow” delivered at the annual Law Week of the Warri Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association, Justice Omolaye-Ajileye called for an approach that is collaborative between lawyers, parties and the court.

According to Justice Omolaye-Ajileye who now serves as a Visiting Professor at the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), the new approach will isolate the real issue in dispute early enough in the proceedings for settlement where the role of a judge will be transformed from the traditional umpire to that of active case manager.

His words: “I want to comment on a change of culture we can bring about in the way justice is administered. Administration of justice must shift from the orthodox adversarial approach to more collaboration between lawyers, parties and the court with the focus being an earnest effort to isolate the real issues in a dispute from a maze of ill-digested causes of action and defences.

“The judge’s role must be transformed from the traditional umpire role to that of the active case manager. By this, I mean we must introduce in our Rules of Court situations where judges must take an active part together with learned counsel in identifying at an early stage of the proceedings what is the real dispute between the parties and, working together with the parties, charting a course that will result in the adjudication of the dispute as speedily as possible and at minimum costs.

“That is now the system of judicial case management that is taking hold in many jurisdictions across the world. We must move with the world in this regard. The days of over-pleading, raising as many issues that you can muster in the hope that one might just stick, should be something of the past.

“Courts should decide only the real disputes between the parties. In that way, the court’s time is saved, and judges can dispose of more cases. Litigation should be limited to what is truly in dispute between the parties and not to obfuscate and terrorize the other side.”

Click here to access the full text of the Keynote Address.

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SUPREME COURT TO RULE ON DELTA PENSION LAW JULY 12

  • FALANA WADES IN, FILES AMICUS BRIEF

The Supreme Court of Nigeria has adjourned for judgment in the suit filed by a human rights activist and former Nigeria Bar Association Publicity Secretary, Mr. Olukunle Edun. The suit is Olukunle Ogheneovo Edun v. Governor of Delta State & Anor. Appeal No. SC/961/2019.

Edun is challenging the judgments of the lower courts which refused to hear on the merit the suit he filed challenging the constitutionality of some of provisions of the Pension Law of Governor of Delta State. The law was passed by the State House of Assembly awarding alleged bogus entitlements and benefits to former Governors and Deputy Governors of the State.

Among the entitlements set out in the controversial Pension Law are residential buildings, several vehicles to be renewed every 4 years, personal staff, security aides, and state-sponsored foreign vacations, all at the expense of the State.

Edun argues that the entitlements are not a product of assessment by the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission as required by law.

Both the trial court and the Court of Appeal held that the plaintiff lacked the locus standi to challenge the Pension Law of Delta State as unconstitutional and that the case would not therefore be determined on the merit.

At the hearing of the appeal by the Supreme Court, foremost human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana, SAN sought leave of the court to appear as an amicus curia and accordingly filed an amicus brief in the appeal. However, the appeal was heard only on the basis of the briefs filed by parties in the appeal.

Human rights watchers believe that the decision of the apex court on the vexed issue of locus standi in public interest litigation will be a watershed, noting that many courts still refuse to entertain public interest cases filed by human rights activists to challenge obnoxious laws and impunity among various government agencies and officials.

The judgment has been reserved by the Supreme Court for July 12, 2024.

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‘MAIKYAU IS RUNNING A DICTATORSHIP,’ SAYS NBA VP

  • HE DOES NOT CONSULT EXCO MEMBERS, IT’S UNCONSTITUTIONAL

  • NOMINEES TO NBA ELECTION APPEAL COMMITTEE SHOULD REJECT IT

These are not the best of times for Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) President, Mr. Yakubu Maikyau SAN as the NBA Second Vice President, Mr. Chukwuemeka Clement Ugo has again taken a swipe at him, accusing him of running a “dictatorship.”

In a post on his verified Facebook handle, Ugo alleged that Maikyau has never consulted the NBA National Executive Committee or tabled his nominations for sundry NBA committees before the committee.

CITY LAWYER recalls that Ugo had recently accused Maikyau of “Northernisation” of the venue NBA National Executive Council (NBA-NEC) meetings, noting that the meetings have held exclusively in the Northern zone during the almost tw0-year tenure of Maikyau notwithstanding its security challenges.

In the latest post, Ugo argues that this practice of not bringing nominees for NBA committees to the notice of the Executive Committee comprising National Officers verges on “dictatorship” aside from breaching the NBA Constitution.

Speaking on the recent appointment of NBA Electoral Appeal Committee members, Ugo wrote: “Let them know that accepting the position without proper thing to be done is indirectly supporting dictatorship in NBA.”

Continuing, he said: “Names of every committee ought to be brought before those elected by the association to appraise and approve same thereafter send to the NEC for ratification or take the appointment directly to NEC for nomination and appointment, what ever NEC is to be ratified ordinarily ought to have been appraised by the excos under emergency.

“It is even a convention, practiced by past presidents of the Bar to bring issues of concern to its excos for deliberation despite the president always will still have his ways but it makes sense to be a team player in the administration of the Bar.

“I sincerely wish to urge as well as plead with the appeal committee leadership and members solely selected, appointed, nominated and recommended by the president without the input of the national officers to reject same to set an example as good and loyal bar men.”

Below is the full text of the post as obtained by CITY LAWYER.

It is very unfortunate that senior members of the profession will be appointed by the president of NBA alone without the proper consultation and discussion by the national officers of NBA to occupy sensitive positions like appeal committee for the national officers election 2024, and they will gladly accept same.

Let it be known to the appeal committee led by one of the best Bar friendly and ever cheerful Bar man and a sui generis learned silk with his members and many other committees that their likely ratification by the NEC did not comply with the provision of section 9 sub 6 B of the 2015 NBA constitution as amended in 2021.

Let them know that accepting the position without proper thing to be done is indirectly supporting dictatorship in NBA.

Names of every committee ought to be brought before those elected by the association to appraise and approve same thereafter send to the NEC for ratification or take the appointment directly to NEC for nomination and appointment, what ever NEC is to be ratified ordinarily ought to have been appraised by the excos under emergency.

It is even a convention, practiced by past presidents of the Bar to bring issues of concern to its excos for deliberation despite the president always will still have his ways but it makes sense to be a team player in the administration of the Bar.

I sincerely wish to urge as well as plead with the appeal committee leadership and members solely selected, appointed, nominated and recommended by the president without the input of the national officers to reject same to set an example as good and loyal bar men.

The era of dictatorship in NBA should stop forthwith and my respected and distinguished NEC members made up of majorly branch chairmen and secretaries should request that The president of the Bar go back and do the needful so that the pride of the association and its brand name promoting the rule of law will be properly understood and assimilated.

This Bar is for all, our tenure ends in few months, let the correction and rule of law begins today.

#2ndvicepresidentnba
#democrat2030

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ANAMBRA LAWYERS BLAST WIKE FOR ASOKORO PROPERTY DEMOLITION

Anambra State Indigenous Lawyers Forum (ASILF) has called on the federal government to quickly look into the matter of property demolition in Abuja, noting that the way and manner some properties are destroyed is worrisome and has adverse effects on the economy.

The group at a press conference held in Lagos bemoaned the approach used by the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mr. Nyesom Wike in some property demolition in the FCT.

Having deliberated over what they called violation of the judicial process, ASILF stated that some properties which were acquired legitimately by some individuals are being demolished, citing the case of Chief Nicholas Ukachukwu, a businessman and property developer in Abuja whose properties worth millions of dollars were destroyed.

* A cross section of ASILF Executive Committee members after the Press Conference 

ASILF President, Mr. Joe Nwokedi, in a statement to the media, noted that the demolition of Ukachukwu’s property by Wike was against a pending court order, adding that the judicial process should have prevailed in that circumstance.

His words: “We call this press conference primarily to bring to public knowledge the illegality, intimidation and humiliation on some individuals going on in the country.

“When we began to see things like this happen, we presume that it is all that which is associated with the tensions generated by the last general election. Unfortunately, we also saw it transcend, culminating in the Honourable Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nyesom Wike carrying out a demolition exercise on a lawfully acquired property of one Nicholas Ukachukwu in Abuja.

“To the best of our knowledge, there was a court order to stay execution. And the FCT Minister, being privy of that, stated that it was purchased. We believe that it is uncalled for, and could be termed as a gross violation of section 42 of chapter 4 of the Nigeria constitution as amended; which says that nobody should be discriminated upon by the virtue of his place of birth, religion, colour and tribe.”

Nwokedi stated that it was included in the constitution with the knowledge that Nigeria is an amalgamation of many entities, and therefore, people should be freely allowed to exercise their rights in the acquisition of property, religion, right of movement and other things within the territory that made up Nigeria.

He also stated that if there was an order of the court, all the Minister needed to do is to verify, adding that there are rules and processes to it.

“We want the federal government to intervene on the matter and as well, call the Honourable Minister to order,” said Nwokedi. “We believe that the best thing to do is to follow due process, go to court and get a valid order of demolition. If there is a contention, an arbiter should not be the decider of a matter. This is why we have that arm of government for proper resolution.

“We, the Anambra Indigenous Lawyers Forum urge him to rescind his actions and to correct the wrongs under which we will deem it necessary to join issues and go to court to challenge such anomalies.”

Also speaking, ASILF executive members consisting of Messrs Chuks Nnalugha and Anene Nwadukwe as well as Nkechi Iloegbunam and Malize Iwudoh unanimously lent their voices to what they call a ‘gross violation of the rule of law and court orders’ in the demolition of legally acquired properties under FCT and elsewhere in the country.

The group decried the alleged impunity, stating that private individuals who are helping to develop the country’s infrastructure should not be hounded like common criminals.

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MENTAL HEALTH: NBA GWAGWALADA, NATIONAL HOSPITAL HOST WEBINAR THURSDAY

NEWS RELEASE

NBA GWAGWALADA BRANCH PARTNERS NATIONAL HOSPITAL ABUJA TO PRESENT A MUST ATTEND WEBINAR ON MENTAL HEALTH.

In an unprecedented collaborative initiative to address the critical issue of mental health in the legal profession and in the society in generally, the Nigerian Bar Association, Gwagwalada Branch (Eagle Bar) in strategic partnership with the National Hospital, Abuja is proud to announce a transformative and compelling webinar titled “Developments in Mental Health Issues and Law in Nigeria”, with a special focus on Mental Health and Wellbeing of Legal Professionals in Nigeria.

Mental health is fundamental to individual, professional, organizational, and national well-being. The increasing number of reported and unreported mental health cases, even among legal professionals, has become a worrisome concern. The exacerbated challenges in recent times is majorly due to the psycho-social problems brought on by economic meltdown, political crises, unemployment, insecurity, and social unrest.

The predicament of people suffering mental health related issues is largely compounded owing to denials, mysteries, stigmatization, discrimination, and lack or improper appreciation of relevant law. Until January 2023 when former President Muhammadu Buhari signed the Mental Health Bill into law, apart from the dynamic effort of Lagos State Government, Nigeria only had an obsolete law which dated to 1920 and reviewed in 1964.

The legal profession in Nigeria, much like in the larger society, is characterized by high levels of stress and pressure. The pressures associated with the demands of the legal profession can lead to a range of mental health issues, from anxiety, to burnout, and to more severe conditions. Recent revelations have shed light on the urgent need to address this issue head-on to ensure collective wellbeing, safety, and the sanctity.

This Webinar themed, ‘ Developments in Mental Health Issues and Law in Nigeria’ comes up online this Thursday 18th April, 2024 by 2:00pm via Zoom platform. It’s a free webinar, but immediate registration is strongly advised in order to reserve your participation, please click – https://www.bit.ly/EAGLEBAR.

The webinar will feature a distinguished panel of speakers who will share their insights and experiences. Speakers are Dr. Olusegun Shoyombo; Mr. Kehinde Ogunwumiju, SAN, OFR; Dr. Tunde Ojo; Mr. Ededem Ani (AG Cross River; and Dr. Mojisola Akerele. The President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Mr. Yakubu C. Maikyau SAN, OON, and the President of the Association of Psychiatrists in Nigeria, Prof. Taiwo Obindo, are the Special Guests. The Moderator is the firebrand Abuja-based human rights lawyer, Mr. Pelumi Olajengbesi. The Hosts are Prof. Mahmud Raji, CMD, National Hospital Abuja, and Emmanuel Tayo Ogunjide, Chairman NBA Gwagwalada Branch. See attached fliers for details.

This is a must-attend Webinar for Judicial Officers, Legal Practitioners, Law Students, stakeholders within the legal profession, and those in the larger society who wishes to gain a deeper understanding of mental health and how to navigate it in a high-pressured environment. Topics include: Mental Health & Society: Myths, Manifestations & Management; The Mental Health Act 2023: Overview, Prospects, Challenges, & Opportunities for Legal Practitioners; Analyzing Mental Health & Wellbeing in the Society; Prioritizing Mental Health and Well-Being in the Workplace; Law and Wellness: Navigating Mental Health & Wellbeing in the Legal Industry.

The National Hospital, a frontline healthcare provider and a flagship medical institution in Nigeria, is endowed with sophistication in human and material resources and dedicated to quality services towards the wellbeing and wellness of Nigerians. The NBA Gwagwalada Branch, on the other hand, is a vibrant high-flying Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association, covering 4 Area Councils of the FCT, and highly committed to the promotion of the objectives of the Nigerian Bar Association towards better society. This webinar aims to break the silence on mental health and provide valuable insights into this often-overlooked issue, therefore, underscoring the commitment of both the National Hospital and the NBA Gwagwalada to the mental wellbeing of Nigerians.

Please join us for this pivotal event as we take the bold and best step towards a healthier, safer, and better life. To secure your spot in a very limited space, please register now by clicking – https://www.bit.ly/EAGLEBAR. For more information or inquiry, please call or send SMS to Mr. Hassan Luqman – +2347066573618 or Dr. Olusegun Shoyombo – +2348028155900.

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NBA ELECTIONS: WILL ISAH ALIYU ENDORSE ANOTHER GENSEC ASPIRANT?

  • ‘MY NEXT MOVE’ – BY ALIYU

Influential former Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Gwagwalada Branch, Mr. Isah Abubakar Aliyu has set tongues wagging as to his next political move following his sensational withdrawal from the race for NBA General Secretary.

Abubakar had in a statement made available to CITY LAWYER informed the legal community of his withdrawal from the impending race, saying: “I seize this auspicious time to officially inform you about my withdrawal from the race for the position of the General Secretary of the NBA due to the fact that I will be few months short of the required 15 years post-call qualification requirement for the position at the close of nomination.”

Aliyu argued that “in computing post-call, the first year of call should be included. This is clearly supported by a Federal High Court decision. I was called on the 3rd of November, 2009. I have paid my practicing fees for 15 years twice. I paid Twenty-five Thousand Naira (25,000.00) in the year 2023 and 2024.”

He however admitted that his bid ran foul of the NBA Constitution, saying it was a “grave oversight on our part.” His words: “But, the amended 2021 Constitution of the NBA clearly provides that I will only become Fifteen years post-call at the anniversary of my call for the purposes of election. That was a grave oversight on our part and it is only honorable that we withdraw from this race having realized this.”

His withdrawal has thrown up all manner of permutations for the fierce race for the influential post of NBA General Secretary.

It is recalled that CITY LAWYER had in its Special Report identified Aliyu among the five aspirants gunning for the position. Aside from Aliyu, the four other aspirants who had expressed interest in the position as at late last year were Dr. Mobolaji Ojibara of Ilorin Branch; fiery incumbent NBA Treasurer, Caroline Ladidi Anze-Bishop of Bukuru Branch; former NBA Bwari Chairman, Mr. Abubakar Tsav, and Mr. Idris Doko of NBA Lagos Branch.

Speculations are rife that following his withdrawal, Aliyu may throw his weight behind one of the other aspirants. Some political watchers claim that some aspirants have been hobnobbing with Aliyu in order to be in his good books.

Giving vent to this thinking, a trending post, which came on the heels of Aliyu’s withdrawal from the race, however warned other aspirants not to misrepresent the former NBA Gwagwalada chairman, saying: “Truth is, our friend Aliyu, has not pledged support to any of the Prospective GS Candidates.”

Issued by an amorphous group called “CONCERNED FRIENDS OF Isah A. Aliyu,” they however assured that “In due time, he will speak and direct us, his loyal supporters, where to go!”

The full text of the post reads:

Isah Abubakar Aliyu is now, the golden bride!
Everyone is posting pictures they took with him on social media, with one aim in mind.
USE YOUR TONGUE TO COUNT YOUR TEETH.

We kindly call on Aliyu, to come out and…

Truth is, our friend Aliyu, has not pledged support to any of the Prospective GS Candidates.

In due time, he will speak and direct us, his loyal supporters, where to go!

Let pictures with innuendos and double padded adjectives deceive you not!

*CONCERNED FRIENDS OF Isah A. Aliyu.*

However, at least one of the leading aspirants for the General Secretary position (name withheld) did not let the post go unnoticed, saying: “@⁨(name withheld), I hope you are not carrying another person’s matter on your head while dragging your own behind….. Because I now begin to wonder when you have suddenly become a member of ‘Concerned Friends of Isah A. Aliyu.”

Speaking to CITY LAWYER, Aliyu however said he was not contemplating endorsing any of the aspirants for the post of General Secretary, saying: “Will it make any sense for me to endorse any aspirant? I don’t think so.” According to him, that role should be reserved for regional associations to which the posts have been zoned.

Continuing, he however said that he would “support” any aspirant whose manifesto appeals to him.

The Electoral Committee of the NBA (ECNBA) will on Monday unveil the aspirants who have filed nominations for the forthcoming elections.

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