The crisis rocking the Port Harcourt Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) does not seem to have abated, even as observers note that today’s monthly meeting of the branch may be a feisty affair.

CITY LAWYER gathered that a group of young lawyers known as “CONCERNED LAWYERS” had filed a Motion for Suspension of the Branch Chairman and Secretary for alleged abuse of office.

It is recalled that the Branch Chairman, Mr. Viktor Benibo has been under the searchlight for allegedly under-declaring a donation received from the Rivers State Government. He denies the allegation.

CITY LAWYER gathered that the motion was filed within 21 days prescribed by the NBA Uniform Byelaw for Branches and Sections, indicating that the motion is ripe for hearing at today’s meeting.

The branch leadership has issued a notice that henceforth attendance at meetings and other branch events would be on presentation of the branch identity card. In a notice obtained by CITY LAWYER and signed by Assistant Secretary Barbara Abayomi, the branch stated that “in light of the current circumstances, and in order to ensure full participation in branch activities, members will now be required to present their valid branch identity cards to gain access to and participate in all branch events and meetings.” It warned that “this requirement takes effect immediately and will be strictly enforced.”

CITY LAWYER gathered that the Branch Welfare Secretary Godwin Odimabo has allegedly warned that the branch leadership would invite Armed Forces personnel to enforce the requirement.

The alleged invitation has raised dust within the branch, with a member saying: “This is my problem with the overzealous in our Branch. This threat, in my opinion, is condemnable and I condemn it with every fibre in me. What is it in aid of really? Why do we have to see threats of violence to members in the run up to our elections? Seems some people have not outgrown the cult infested/aluta Students Union/Campus politics. So we’ll involve soldiers in our affairs and when they manhandle lawyers tomorrow, we’ll wonder why it happened.”

When CITY LAWYER contacted Odimabo on the alleged invitation of soldiers, he said: “I am asking you where you see (sic) the information or who gave you, you have not answered me. I am not aware of what you are talking about. Let the person who gave you the information confirm what you want.”

But some branch members allege that the latest requirement is a ploy to allow only pro-Benibo members into today’s crucial meeting.

At least one Bar Leader and chairmanship candidate for the forthcoming branch elections, Cordelia Eke has challenged the requirement, raising several posers. She wondered why members are being restricted from attending branch meetings “just before Branch elections when they should be encouraged to participate in the activities?”

Asking whether a Branch Chairman and Secretary can “take such an arbitrary decision without recourse to the House,” Eke wondered whether the notice is “not setting the stage for confusion before Branch elections.” She also alleged that there are reports of financial members who applied for ID card since January “and the cards are not ready as at today. What happens to such persons?

“One would have thought that this EXCO would concern itself more about putting its reports together and providing ID cards for all members who applied for same, before the elections, rather than taking such steps as contained in the published notice. I am therefore appealing to elders of the Bar to intervene on this issue so that we can avoid confusion during this transition period in the Branch.”

Meanwhile, the branch leadership has petitioned some arrowheads of Transparency Lawyers Initiative to the NBA Ethics and Disciplinary Committee, alleging infamous conduct, cyber bullying and “mutilation of branch attendance register” among others. The group has been in the forefront of the quest for a probe of the branch chairman over allegation of corruption.

But the leader of the group, one Comrade Chetam Thierry Nwala, vowed not to back down, saying the petition is designed to intimidate him and his members. In a post obtained by CITY LAWYER and titled “WHY THE STRUGGLE WITH NBA PH BRANCH CHAIRMAN AND SECRETARY?” Nwala wrote: “All I and my team have demanded from the NBA Chairman Mr. Viktor Benibo and Chinwe Omodu is transparency and accountability.

“This is a picture of the newly deroofed and reroof NBA PH House, that the Chairman claimed to have spent over 28 Million.

“A closer look at the picture shows that a part of the roof was reroofed with old roofing sheets and the rest with substandard materials. Without the help of an expert even a layman could tell the difference.

“This is the reason we have called for an Independent Investigative Panel of Enquiry but rather than set up one, they have resorted to all means of grandstanding and intimidation.

“They wrote petitions to the LPDC against us, now they have written to the Police to arrest me. The truth is, by the grace of God, I am not easily intimidated.

“Mr. Viktor Benibo and Chinwe Omodu should recuse themselves and allow for an investigation, that has been our simple call. These measures will not help them.

“It is time well-meaning leaders of the Bar speak up.”

CITY LAWYER gathered that the crisis rocking the branch may not be unconnected with the forthcoming Branch Elections scheduled for Thursday, June 27, 2024.

To join our CITY LAWYER Channel on WhatsApp, click here

To join our Telegram platform, click here 

COPYRIGHT 2022 CITY LAWYER. Please send emails to Join us on Facebook at and on “X” (TWITTER) at To ADVERTISE in CITY LAWYER or for Special Features, please email or call 08138380083.

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 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.