Tax Exemptions, Duty Waivers and Zero Awareness on Taxation; A Great Disservice/Fraud to the Nigerian Economy

It was reported on several news media on and around the 19th of September 2022 that the Federal Government of Nigeria had foregone a mind-boggling sum totaling N16.76tn in revenue to tax reliefs and concessions to large companies doing business in Nigeria between 2019 and 2021 according to an analysis by the PUNCH. The tax exemptions and duty waivers were given to 46 companies currently doing business in Nigeria. It was also reported that another 186 companies currently doing business in Nigeria have also applied for tax exemption reliefs and duty waivers. These reports were contained in the tax expenditure statement (TES) reports in the Medium-Term Expenditure and Fiscal Strategy documents posted on the website of the Budget Office of the Federation. According to the report, most of these tax incentives were administered via Company Income Tax (CIT), Value Added

Tax (VAT), Petroleum Production Tax (PPT), and Customs Duty
It was further reported that during this period covering from 2019 to 2021, tax exemptions included imported goods covered by diplomatic privileges, military hardware, fuels and lubricants, hospital and surgical equipment, aircraft (their parts and ancillary equipment), plant and machinery imported for use by companies in export processing zones, health and medical supplies to abate the spread of COVID, reliefs on the presidential initiative on COVID-19 supplies, Import Duty and VAT on commercial airlines.

The Economic Free Trade Zone in Nigeria also falls under this category of exemptions. It is a geographic area where goods may be landed, stored, handled, manufactured, or reconfigured and re-exported under specific customs regulations. Generally, such goods are not subject to customs duty. Free trade zones are usually organized around major seaports, international airports, and national frontiers—areas with many geographic advantages for trade. This License is granted by the Federal Government of Nigeria, through the required authority to an export-oriented manufacturing enterprise of over 75% of its production. The concept of these free trade zones is to ensure that at least 75% of the products of these companies operating in the free trade zones are being exported so as to boost the country’s exportation drive and to improve the value of the Nigerian currency through these trading.

It must be noted that Nigeria operates a decentralized tax system where each level of government is independently responsible for the administration of a particular class of tax within its jurisdiction. Collection of taxes in Nigeria falls under the concurrent list which gives access to both State and Federal Governments on issues bordering on taxes. However, the government at all levels has prioritized the allocations coming from the national purse as its only or major source of income at the expense and detriment of internally generated funds. it is believed that if Nigeria has a viable working tax regime, the funds pooled together at all tiers of government is enough to fund Nigeria’s budget and allow government at all levels to operate fairly independently.

Objectives of granting tax waivers
Over the years, the essence of granting tax exemptions and waivers is to help grow local companies, stimulate economic growth, and earn investors’ confidence. It is also aimed at building and strengthening bilateral relationships between Nigeria and other countries where Nigerian companies are also doing business. In a way, it reciprocates the gesture Nigerian companies are receiving from those other companies.

As part of the procedure to encourage investments, the Nigerian Government introduced the Economic Free Trade Zone, which was established for companies to do business within a confined area in the free trade zone and to export their product upon compilation in a bid to strengthen the exportation mechanism of Nigeria and to improve the value of the Nigerian currency through trading.

The disservice of tax exemption reliefs and duty waivers to Nigeria
It was reported by an online news media, Investors King that about five countries accounted for about 86 percent of total customs relief, with China accounting for nearly two-thirds of total relief granted. Netherlands, Togo, Benin, and India were the other top sources of supplies benefitting from the reliefs. It is not surprising that China accounted for nearly two third of the total relief that was granted. Both Nigeria and China have trade relations which had increased by 157 percent to N1.49 trillion in the first half (H1) of 2022 according to reports.

However, the mention of Nigerian companies like Dangote, Lafarge and Honeywell as well as some hotels on the list of companies that are already on the exemption list drew a lot of irk from Nigerians. Why would big companies making good profit refuse or request not to pay anything to the government? Worst still, it is shocking to know that we have as many as 186 companies doing business in Nigeria and probably making a good profit, yet they have applied for tax exemption reliefs and duty waivers. In other words, they are here to make money and not give anything in return to Nigeria. Meanwhile, 46 companies in Nigeria are already enjoying this privilege.

What are these companies offering to Nigeria in exchange for these exemptions? How is the government or Nigerian people benefitting from these waivers? Is it the constant gridlock caused by trailers on the Lokoja-Okene-Obajana expressway or the various ports in Nigeria caused by the zero-tax-paying companies that the country has benefitted from? Is it the constant damage to our roads by the heavy duties machines on our roads? How much community services have we enjoyed from these companies to compensate for the exemption? For the country to waive as much as 16 Trillion Naira for just 46 companies in 3 years shows the volume of net profits these companies are generating in Nigeria. What is the percentage of these taxes on the net profit of these companies that they cannot afford to “close eyes” and pay to Nigeria? Is this package not a daylight robbery on Nigeria?

It was reported that South Africa earned $107billion in tax revenue in 2021. In contrast, Nigeria earned $15bn, behind smaller countries like Kenya and Angola which have better tax management systems. As of 2017, Nigeria was saddled with one of the lowest tax-to-GDP ratios in the world, at 6 percent of GDP. This is while other countries of the world make a fortune from a well-organized tax regime. While Nigeria is exempting big names from paying taxes, Elon Musk, one of the richest men in the world has not been exempted from paying taxes in his country. He tweeted vide his verified Twitter account on 20th December 2021 that he’ll be paying $11bn in tax for the year early in 2022. He does not enjoy any exemption. As a matter of fact, many developed countries of the world make a larger part of their fortune from taxes.

In the current rage for relocation to other countries of the world, particularly the United Kingdom and the Canada, one of the biggest surprises that will greet Nigerians is the payment of tax on virtually everything including parking space. Taxes in these developed countries are paid in such a way that the worker is left with almost nothing, especially where such a person is involved in menial jobs. It is not wrong to conclusively state that there is obviously a conspiracy between these big companies to have their names on the exemption list while the pocket of government officers responsible are well-greased so as to have them orchestrate these negotiations in favour of these companies at the expense of a collapsing Nigerian economy.

Many of these companies particularly foreign ones dare not make this obnoxious application in their home countries. It is Nigeria that has been tagged a “Use and bribe and dump” country that these kinds of applications for exemption can be heard and granted once the persons in places of authority have been settled.

The intention of allowing companies to operate without paying tax might be good but the execution is destroying Nigeria. How do you explain a country that allows another country to do business within its borders free of charge yet the country is broke and living on borrowed resources? The calculation is erroneous. Nigeria should stop being a father Christmas to companies doing extremely well in business and other countries of the world that are ten times more economically viable and comfortable than Nigeria. Is it China recorded as the fastest-growing economies in the world that should be enjoying tax exemption?

Zero knowledge of tax payment among Nigerians
Aside from the above-stated issues of tax exemption in Nigeria, there is also the huge challenge of companies and individuals deliberately (fraudulently) plummeting accrual taxes or completely canceling the payment of taxes, (with the connivance of officers of the FIRS and States IRS), false deductions, claiming personal expenses as business expenses, as well as the absence of the knowledge and workings of a tax system among a majority of the Nigerian working class. Nigeria is one of the countries in its class of development with the worst tax monitoring and engagement system. There are Nigerians who have worked and done business in Nigeria for over 50 years and have become millionaires and some billionaires, yet have little or no knowledge of taxation, not even to talk of paying the same. Taxes are majorly paid by workers in the public service and some highly organized private sectors which form less than 30% of the workforce in Nigeria. This is a great disservice to the country.

At the “Public Presentation and Breakdown of the Highlights of the 2022 Appropriation Bill” held in October 2021, the Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Muhammad Nami, revealed that only 41 million out of 200 Million Nigerian citizens pay taxes in the country. He added that despite the 41 Million taxpayers in the country, Nigeria still generated less than what other African countries earned from Personal Income Taxes (PIT) only. He further stated thus; …“If you also compare that with South Africa where they have a total population of about 60million people, with just 4 million taxpayers, the total personal income tax paid in South Africa last year was about N13trillion. You can now see that these things are not adding up…“So if we don’t pay these taxes, there is no way the government will be able to provide the social amenities required, the critical infrastructure required for the wellbeing of the country,”…

The Current Economic Downturn in Nigeria vis a vis the Tax Exemption policy
Nigeria is broke. Our funds are not meeting our needs. Just in July 2022, the Minister of Finance reported that the debt servicing in Nigeria as of that day now exceeds the total revenue of the country. In other words, Nigeria is operating at a loss. There has also been an astronomic rise in the prices of goods and services and a galactic fall in the value of the Nigerian currency. It was reported also that the external reserves have plummeted to $15Billion contrary to the $36 Billion alleged by CBN. Based on the economic quagmire that Nigeria has found itself in the last few years, you would have expected that the government would do everything within its power to improve its finances rather than ride around with its flying sleigh and reindeers.

Recommendation on taxation
1. Every Nigerian who earns a living should be compelled to pay their Personal Income Tax (PIT). The Federal Government through the FIRS and States IRS should consider a downward review of taxes, particularly Personal Income Tax to encourage the greater and voluntary participation of Nigerians.

2. Payment of taxes should be according to earnings. The lower your earnings, the lesser the percentage paid. The more your earnings, the higher the taxes paid.

3. The awareness of the various classes of payment of tax is at its shallowest. The government at all levels needs to create a larger level of sensitization and drive on these issues. The Nigerians who flaunt their wealth and affluence on social media should be called upon to show evidence of tax payment in the proportion of the wealth they display.

4. Tax clearance certificates should be made mandatory for political aspirants and the political class, as well as those coming in and out of the country. The duty of the FIRS and the States IRS in Nigeria is enormous, particularly in awareness creation. Standing up to this task will ease the burden of total dependence on one lean dwindling source of income.

5. Payment of annual returns with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), for companies doing business in Nigeria should be accompanied by evidence of payment of Company Income Tax (CIT) and other taxes as may be required for its specific business and not just the TIN as currently required.

6. The government should do a massive review of its tax exemption policy and investigate possible compromises in the grant of these exemptions. The exemptions should be reviewed such that every company must be liable to pay taxes.

7. There should also be a review of the companies operating in the free trade zones in Nigeria. The concept of these free trade zones is to ensure that at least 75% of the products of these companies operating in the free trade zones are being exported so as to boost the country’s exportation drive and to improve the value of the Nigerian currency through these trading. However, it has been observed that the products of these companies operating under the umbrella of the free trade zone have flooded the Nigerian market rather than being exported as contemplated in the free trade zone agreement. This marketing should be checked. If they wish to sell their products in the Nigerian market, then they should be subjected to payment of taxes.

8. There is an Appeal Tax Tribunal operational in Nigeria, whose existence is unknown to a majority of Nigerians and particularly legal practitioners. The Tax Appeal Tribunal seats in only 6 states of the federation. The government can make efforts to have these Tribunals established in every state of the federation and same must be self-sufficient as its duty is to raise funds for the government through taxes and not to put more financial burdens on the government.

9. When there is a visible improvement in the payment of taxes by Nigerians, the government should ensure the utilization of these funds for meaningful and visible projects that directly affect the taxpayers such as good roads, education, provision of social amenities, and the various projects that affects the everyday life of Nigerians.

The payment of tax in Nigeria is backed up by section 24(f) of the 1999 Constitution. It provides that:
“It shall be the duty of every citizen to- Declare his income honesty to appropriate and lawful agencies and pay his tax promptly.”

In Nigeria today, with the number of person trading either in small or large-scale businesses, as well as those in salaried employment particularly the private sector (who earned well above the minimum wage of N30,000.00) , which are largely unmonitored and considering the number of businesses registered and still being registered in Nigeria, it is safe to say that a well-organized and properly managed/documented tax regime covering every sector in Nigeria, can fund the entire Nigerian budget and still have leftovers. In my personal opinion, I am not in support of an outright tax exemption or waivers for any organization doing business in Nigeria notwithstanding the bilateral relationship with the country source of the companies or the ethnic or socio-political status of the CEOs/Chairmen of the companies. The taxable amount might be reviewed downwards but not an outright exemption.

If just 46 companies out of nearly 2 Million registered companies in Nigeria (aside from business names), can be responsible for a whopping 16 trillion Naira in the last 3 years, how much more all registered companies paying their required taxes and all working-class Nigerians paying their Personal Income Tax (PIT). The tax exemption so far in the last three years is enough to fund the entire budget of Nigeria in one year. If you add this to creating awareness and all Nigerians pay their taxes as when due, then Nigeria would on a better financial footing. Nigeria is broke and needs these funds to remain afloat. The policy of tax exemption, tax evasion, and near zero awareness of tax payment is a brutal robbery and disservice to the Nigerian economy.

* Akintayo Balogun, a lawyer and public affairs analyst, can be reached at

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One of the leading candidates in the just concluded Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Elections, Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama SAN has alleged that ElectionBuddy, the electronic voting platform deployed for the elections, “was highly vulnerable and most susceptible to electronic fraud, rigging and pre-programming of votes.”

In a statement made available to CITY LAWYER, Gadzama also stated that a report by his ICT consultant dated Monday, July 18, 2022 “also shows that there is a high likelihood that the system could be hacked and manipulated.”

He stated that “A follow-up report by my agent dated Wednesday, July 20, 2022 confirms that this occurrence was more than likely,” adding that “I have been advised that this is why the percentage score among all the three Presidential candidates remained within the same range from the commencement of voting till the end. This, as I have been advised, is not human behavior but mechanical.”

Gadzama stated that though one Mr. Mohammed Mustapha, an ICT specialist, had applied to act as the Technical Support Consultant (TSC) to the Electoral Committee of the NBA (ECNBA), “the ECNBA did not list his company as one that had applied; rather only two companies were listed before one was selected to provide the consultancy.”

The full text of the statement is below.


As you may recall, the National Election of the Nigerian Bar Association (‘NBA’) was concluded on Saturday, July 16, 2022.

My utmost appreciation goes to the members of the Electoral Committee of the NBA (‘ECNBA’) who conducted our election. I respect each of them and commend their efforts. I equally salute all the contestants who vied for various positions.

It is pertinent to state that before the conduct of the election, my agent – Mr Andrew Madaki tested the vulnerability of the website to conduct the election – The report, which is attached to this release, shows that the website was susceptible to manipulation.

Thereafter, my agent and other agents present raised some of these concerns during the press briefing conducted by the ECNBA on the eve of the election.

During the conduct of the election, my agent discovered numerous irregularities and expressed same by a letter sent via email to the ECNBA at 2:00 pm. The same is attached to this release. In the email, he reported the frequent timeouts experienced by the site, lack of access to the backend of the server, lack of graphical representation of the results and ultimately requested to audit the election, which the ECNBA promised to provide immediately.

After the conduct of the election, my agent sent a reminder to the ECNBA on Sunday, July 17, 2022 to audit the election and discover if there were more irregularities but same has not been provided by the ECNBA.

After the conduct of the election, my agent engaged another IT specialist to test the server. The report of the specialist which was dated Monday, July 18, 2022 also shows that there is a high likelihood that the system could be hacked and manipulated. A follow-up report by my agent dated Wednesday, July 20, 2022 confirms that this occurrence was more than likely. I have been advised that this is why the percentage score among all the three Presidential candidates remained within the same range from the commencement of voting till the end. This, as I have been advised, is not human behavior but mechanical.

It is important to re-iterate that auditing the election will permit independent parties and agents to discover if there were any technical interferences to usurp the will of the electorate. This access is expected to have been provided immediately after the conclusion of the poll to prevent any party from tampering with the system.

Pre-Qualification of Technical Consultant to ECNBA
On Friday, June 24, 2022, I invited numerous IT specialists to advise me. One of them was Mr Mohammed Mustapha who I asked to provide information security and communication strategy in the just-concluded NBA Election; however, on Monday, June 27, 2022, Mr Mustapha declined my offer as a result of conflict of interest because he had earlier applied to the ECNBA to act as a consultant. After declining my request, Mr Mustapha informed me that although he had applied to be a consultant to the ECNBA before the deadline, the ECNBA did not list his company as one that had applied; rather only two companies were listed before one was selected to provide the consultancy. The two referenced letters are attached.

Also attached to this release are: (i) the notice released by the ECNBA asking for proposals for a technical consultant titled ‘Request for Proposal for Technical Support Consultant to the ECNBA – Submission Reminder Notice’, (ii) acknowledged copy of the bid by Mr Mustapha titled ‘Re: Request for Proposal for Technical Support Consultant to the ECNBA’ received by the ECNBA at 3:35 pm on 22/4/22, and (iii) the notice displaying companies that applied titled ‘Respondents to Request for Proposal for Technical Support Consultant’.

On the whole, and in view of the above facts and attached documents, it is clear that the technology adopted was highly vulnerable and most susceptible to electronic fraud, rigging and pre-programming of votes. I hereby call upon the ECNBA to allow an immediate audit of the election and server.

Dated this Wednesday, the 20th day of July, 2022

Joe-Kyari Gadzama OFR, MFR, SAN
Presidential Candidate

1. Vulnerability report dated Sunday, July 10, 2022;
2. Complaint letter dated Saturday, July 16, 2022;
3. Email reminder to the ECNBA on Sunday, July 17, 2022;
4. Vulnerability report dated Monday, July 18, 2022;
5. NBA National Elections 2022: Report dated Wednesday, July 20, 2022;
6. Provision of information security and communication strategy for the forthcoming NBA election dated Friday, June 24, 2022;
7. Re: Provision of information security and communication strategy for the forthcoming NBA National Elections dated Monday, June 27, 2022;
8. Request for proposal for technical support consultant to the ECNBA – Submission Reminder Notice dated April 21, 2022;
9. Re: Request for Proposal for Technical Support Consultant to the ECNBA dated April 22, 2022; and
10. Respondents to Request for Proposal for Technical Support Consultant dated April 25, 2022.

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By Jonathan Gunu Taidi

The proposed amendment to the timeworn Legal Practitioners Act came as soothing news to progressive minds within the bar; finally we were going to do away with those inhibiting provisions which have outlived their usefulness.

Our joy was however cut short by the shocking revelation that the pristine bill intended for the National Assembly’s passage into law had been doctored with a view to circumventing, clandestinely, the sacrosanct powers and authority of the NBA. Some powers that be within the Body of Benchers had surreptitiously inserted a clause in the said bill, manifestly tampering with the descriptive standpoint of the NBA. The smuggled provision describes the NBA as follows:

“The Registered Trustees of the Nigerian Bar Association, and any other body incorporated for the governance and management of the Legal Profession”

Meanwhile, in the original bill the “NBA” was simply defined as the “Nigerian Bar Association”. The way it has always been.

This attempt by the Body of Benchers to hoodwink the NBA and forcefully take control of the NBA by doctoring the letters of the law is to say the least evil, by every standard. I make bold to state that this attempted coup is not unconnected to the emergence of a non- SAN as president of the NBA. Apparently, many oxen that were gored as a result, as well as sundry deflated bloated egos, remain wounded and unforgiving. This is an attempt to hold lawyers to ransom so that whenever certain powers-that-be are dissatisfied with the outcome of any NBA election, they can easily invoke this very divisive provision.

It is a recipe for anarchy, a foundation for complete uncertainty and distortion of established practices within the bar. It is mind-boggling trying to imagine a scenario where the doctored bill is passed into law and a furious NBA protests that same does not represent what was sent to the National Assembly even as the overlords within the Body of Benchers insists on the flawed bill – effectively dragging the legal profession to utter disrepute.

My question is; where would such an imbroglio leave young lawyers who are still trying to gain their footing in the profession, if they get caught up in such a web of authority tussle between the NBA and the Body of Benchers? Indeed, the possible number of bizarre eventualities that will confront us, where this evil provision to sail through, are endless. It is a good thing that the fraud was discovered and nipped in the bud.

May we never see the day where the collective will and progress of a collection of learned and noble minds are sacrificed on the altar of selfish and egoistic practices.

Long live the NBA.

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A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos State has discharged and acquitted the immediate past President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr. Paul Usoro SAN.

Usoro had been standing trial on 10 counts of fraud and money laundering made against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

He had pleaded not guilty to the offence and made a no-case submission, insisting that the anti-graft agency had made no case against him to warrant him to enter a defence.

In his decision on the no-case submission today, trial judge, Justice Rilwan Aikawa held that the anti-graft agency failed to establish any prima facie case against Usoro.

Justice Aikawa noted that the penal code, under which the former NBA President was charged, is not applicable to the southern states of Lagos and Akwa Ibom, which were said to be the locations of the alleged offences.

“On the whole, I hold that the prosecution has failed to establish any prima facie case. Accordingly, the defendant is hereby discharged and acquitted,” Justice Aikawa held.

The EFCC had arraigned Usoro on December 18, 2018, before Justice Muslim Hassan on 10 counts, all of which he pleaded not guilty to.

He was subsequently re-arraigned before Justice Aikawa on charges which alleged that he committed the offence on May 14, 2016.

He was alleged to have conspired to convert the sum of N1.4 billion, property of Akwa Ibom State Government, which the court says he ought to have known was part of the proceeds of an unlawful activity

In his testimony before the court, an EFCC investigating officer Abdulrahman Arabo, said that the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel, hired Usoro who, in turn, invited other SANs to join him at the Election Tribunal where his victory was being challenged in 2015.

The EFFC witness also testified that the sum of N1.4 billion legal fee paid to the SANs was drawn from the treasury of the Akwa Ibom State’s account.

Usoro vigorously denied the allegations. On February 25, the former NBA President had filed a no case submission where his counsel, Effiong O. Effiong SAN submitted that the EFCC called only two witnesses and closed its case because, according to him, it knew it didn’t have any case against the defendants. He asked the court to allow the no-case submission.

But the EFCC opposed his application and asked the court to dismiss the no-case submission, citing the “overwhelming evidence” it said it had adduced and exhibits admitted in evidence. It also asked the court to order the defendant to enter his defence.

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A United States based electronic voting company will conduct the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Elections, CITY LAWYER can authoritatively report.

This puts to rest all speculations regarding whether the Electoral Committee of the NBA (ECNBA) will deploy the controversial NBA Election Portal for the election. The NBA portal is alleged to be fraught with many gaps that can be exploited to rig the election.

CITY LAWYER gathered that though there were pressures on the electoral committee to deploy the NBA Portal, the members opted for a vendor with proven track record in e-voting, emphasizing that their reputations were at stake.

Meanwhile, it is not yet uhuru for the final list of verified voters released today by the electoral committee, as cases of missing names and padding still ravage the latest list. This is notwithstanding that 9, 686 names were purged from the “final list” of 39, 321 eligible voters to bring the current verified figure to 29, 635.

A case in point is Obollo Afor Branch which jumped from a meager 39 members on the previous list to a whopping 662 on the latest list. An amorphous branch called “International Diaspora” has no less than 87 names on the voters’ list, while over 4, 500 names had no branches listed against them.

Commenting on the current crisis, former NBA presidential candidate, Prof. Ernest Ojukwu said: “Nigerian Bar Association 2020 – The Electoral Committee’s final list of accredited voters is a fraud! Names have been included in Branches where such names don’t exist as members. We are ready to vote on a platform of fraud again!!!”

But in its latest statement on the complaints, the ECNBA said: 

On this 29/7/2020, the ECNBA circulated the list of accredited voters for the NBA National Officers election 2020 slated to commence at 11:00PM of Wednesday, 29/7/2020.

Members are assured that the unique identifier of each voter to be able to vote remains the enrollment number which is peculiar to each voter.

The ECNBA received complaints of members being placed in branches other than their own. This situation is regretted, but arose because members in the course of verification did not fully update information on their current branches and or sex and consequently were assigned the default positions (place holder) on the verification platform.

Members are advised to proceed to vote and disregard any such branches and or sex assigned to them as these do not bear on eligibility, convenience or result of the elections.

Members may wish to update their details on the membership portal of the NBA after the elections. In respect of omitted names, please see the ECNBA previous statements, more particularly ECNBA Statement No.018

Remember ballot opens at 11.00pm today, happy voting.

One Odufa itemized some of the issues that bedevil the voters list as follows:
1. Uromi Branch which had 45 eligible voters on the final lost after the verification only 20 names were released out of which only 9 are actual members while the other 11 are unknown Yoruba names.

2. A branch Called “International Diaspora ” has 87 fictitious names. From number 12182 – number 12268 on the just released Verified List.

3. One Mr. Iredia Osifo who didn’t pay his practicing fees or Branch dues found his name on the just released Verified List. See No 5793.

4. Miss. Yat Ulan Amos didn’t pay her branch dues but her name appeared on the Verified List. See Number 3535.
5. The Aba branch had 435 names on the final list but now have over 471 names on the Verified List.

6. Members of the Isiokpo Branch discovered only 48 names of their members were released on the Verified List as against the 84 names that were previously published on the Final voter’s list.

7. Ikorodu Branch which had about 233 names on the previously released voter’s list now has only 132 names. Leaving over 100 members disenfranchised.

8. Sapele branch was formerly 100 names now 70 names out of which 20 are not branch members.

My attention has been drawn to the last and most recent provisional list of eligible voters published this afternoon by the ECNBA 2020 in preparation for voting which will commence by 11:00pm today. As expected, it behooves on me to check and confirm that my name and that of my colleagues in the Uyo Branch are included.

To my greatest chagrin, my name was not found in the list, and some of my colleagues who also did not find their names have called me to question why their names are omitted when they conspicuously made it to the first and second provisional list earlier published by the ECNBA 2020.

This unfortunate development raises a very serious requisition as to the competence and credibility of the ECNBA 2020 in conducting a free and fair election in the face of abundant malpractices and omissions observed by some members of our Association.

My observations are as follows:

1. Majority of members of Uyo Branch of NBA who were conspicuously listed in the first and second provisional list earlier published, who also ensured they were verified in preparation to participate in the election today, are not found in the third but last provisional list published this afternoon.

2. The names of colleagues and members who did not make it to the first or second provisional list, who as at the 31st day of March, 2020, did not pay their BPF and Branch dues, talk more of being verified, are rather miraculously included in the third but last provisional list published this afternoon.

3. As the Assistant Secretary of Uyo Branch of NBA who has knowledge of members of the Branch, it is also very shocking that some of the names allotted by the ECNBA to form the list of eligible voters from Uyo Branch are strange and unknown to our secretariat.

4. Finally, the names and branches of eligible voters in the first and second provisional list earlier published by the ECNBA were arranged alphabetically for easy readability and identification of members, compared to the third but last provisional list published this afternoon, wherein names are scattered randomly with no orderly compilation, and thousands of other names are just mentioned on the list without alloting them to their various registered Branches for easy identification and confirmation.

In the face of these unfortunate and worrisome observations, more so in consideration of voting which will commence by 11:00pm today, one will ponder on the kind of hanky-panky the ECNBA 2020 is displaying. It is unfortunate that the would be eligible voters have been disenfranchised and non-eligible and strange names have been enfranchised to vote today starting from 11:00pm.

My confidence in the ECNBA 2020 is bleak.

Udeme Rivers
Assistant Secretary
NBA, Uyo

Which one is “international diaspora “. I thought to be eligible to vote, a person must belong to a Bar Branch in Nigeria.


Dear All,

The ECNBA has just released a list of Accredited Voters of 29,635 names, which is attached below for ease of reference.

Kindly go through the list and ascertain that you name is contained therein. If your name had previously been on the Fnal Voters List as released by the ECNBA and now omitted from this newly released one, kindly send me an email urgently at:

Please note that by the newly released statement from the ECNBA, campaigns are hereby suspended forthwith. Therefore, all members are urged not further post any campaign material on the platforms.

Kind regards
Yemi Akangbe
Chairman, NBA Lagos.

U. Emiri

This list is riddled with errors, most oleh branch lawyers are listed under ughelli branch. This is so disheartening, that ECNBA is not able to get it right this time again.

Caleb Adebayo

Just like we suspected, the ECNBA has repeatedly revealed its incompetence. And to think they kept acting like they had everything under control. So many errors in the list!

Good evening, Tawo Tawo (SAN), Chairman, ECNBA.

I am Samuel Chukwuemeka Odoh Esq, chairman of Sapele Branch, and I am writing you, for and on behalf of the entire members of the Sapele Branch of the NBA.

We hereby, unequivocally register the *PROTEST of the entire members of our branch on the monumental travesty done to our branch. Our members have just gone through the so-called final list of voters published by you a few hours ago.

After a very thorough perusal of the list of indicated for Sapele Branch, we were shocked to find that only 70 (seventy) names were published out over 100 (one hundred) names published in the provisional names! Our members who successfully verified are over 100 (one hundred)!

To make matters doubly worse, the 70 (seventy) names published this evening contains 20 (twenty) names who are neither known to us nor our members! We believe they are fictitious names added under our column to perpetrate fraud in this elections!

We therefore protest vehemently and demand that the situation be resolved immediately.

If our above demand cannot be granted, we hereby call for an outright CANCELATION or POSTPONEMENT of the election to a future date, as it is obvious that you are ill prepared to carry out this sacred for which you were appointed!


S. C. Odoh Esq.
Chairman, NBA Sapele Branch.

I am OKE ODINDE, ESQ, the YLF Chairman, Ex-Publicity Secretary of NBA, Sapele Branch and the “I.T Man” of NBA, Sapele Branch. I worked with the immediate past Chairman of the Branch to prepare eligible names of Branch Members and same was sent to ECNBA.

When the ECNBA released the provisional list containing the names of our eligible voters, we had 115 eligible voters from our Branch.

It is very unfortunate to state that the numbers of eligible voters of our Branch has been reduced in the just published ACCREDITED LIST.

On the said accredited list are 70 supposed names of Sapele Branch Members but the reality is that 20 names stated on the list are not members of the Sapele Branch.

Names of Persons stated to be Sapele Baranch Members on the ECNBA ACCREDITED LIST (but in actual sense are not Members); are listed hereunder.

This is a ploy to disenfranchise our Branch Members.
Our questions are
1. What happened to the Provisional List that contains the complete names of eligible voters.
2. Why would the ECNBA add names not in the Sapele Branch to the Sapele Branch List?
3. Why would the ECNBA reduce the Sapele Branch Members from 115 to 52 Members?
This is unacceptable…


“My name is Nwabaa Clinton O. I’m a lawyer and an active member of NBA Ikorodu branch and also the present chairman young lawyers forum, Ikorodu branch.

The NBA Ikorodu falls within 11507-11639 that means that the only accredited voters of my branch are 132 leaving well over 100 active voters disenfranchised.

I hereby raised objection to this election and as well put NBA on notice to show cause why the election should be held as I’m disenfranchised.

Shola Abiloye

Something to keep us busy until 11pm tonight. Collating the list of accredited voters in alphabetical order should be the simplest of things for the ECNBA. Why punish people because they want to vote?

Uche Ogwo

I have zoomed and zoomed and peered into and around this list, i have checked for my name and maiden name and both are not there!!!!!. I did all including the verification and got a mail saying I was verified and I CAN’T SEE MY NAME!!!. Let me not be hasty please if anyone sees Uchenna Chinyere Ogwo or Uchenna Chinyere Nweke, kindly notify me because I MUST VOTE!!!. Why my name must always be omitted is totally beyond my understanding 🤷♀️🤦

Raqeebah Oloko

Thank you so much. I have seen it. They didn’t put it under Lagos Branch and when you type search it wont come up.

Thank you yinka for saving me the trouble as I have started writing to ecnba. No time to waste when election is just less than 3hrs away


Good evening Sir.

I have gone through the Isiokpo Branch list and discovered that out of the original about 84 names published in all the previous lists, we now have only 48 names published.

I suspect serious mischief in the exercise because many of those whose names were omitted did their verification in my presence.

For example one IZEOMA ORLU-AKWU did her verification in my presence. Now she could not find her name in this present list despite her name had appeared in all the previous lists.

Please urgent attention is needed.




The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has filed a N1.4 billion fraud charge against the President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Mr Paul Usoro (SAN), at the the Federal High Court in Lagos.

Justice Muslim Hassan fixed December 10, 2018 for the EFCC to arraign Usoro, THE NATION reports.

The anti-graft agency, in a charge marked FHC/418c/18, alleged that Usoro, from Akwa Ibom, converted and laundered the money in connivance with the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel.

The charge sheet, signed by EFCC Counsel, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, did not list Emmanuel as a defendant.

The EFCC indicated that he is “currently constitutionally immuned against criminal prosecution”. It did, however, mention four other defendants.

They are: Nsikan Nkan, described as Commissioner for Finance, Akwa Ibom State; Mfon Udomah, described as the Accountant-General of Akwa Ibom State; Uwemedimo Nwoko, described as the Akwa Ibom State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice; and Margaret Ukpe, all of whom are said to be at large.

The commission alleged that Usoro, in connivance with the others mentioned, conspired to commit the offence “sometime in 2015 within the jurisdiction of this honourable court”.

The anti-graft agency claimed that the N1.4bn belonged to the Akwa Ibom State Government.

According to Oyedepo, the offences were contrary to Section 18 (a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act.

Though SAHARA REPORTERS wrote that Usoro was picked up yesterday and released on bail by the anti-graft body, this was disparaged by NBA Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kunle Edun who said Usoro was busy preparing to chair the NBA National Executive Committee (NBA-NEC) meeting holding tomorrow.

Reacting to a rebroadcast of the Sahara Reporters story by a legal blog, Edun said: “Pls, where did you get this information from. I have been in Abuja for the past two days. I was in Port Harcourt for SLP Conference on Monday. From Sunday till this moment I have been in contact with the NBA President.

“National officers had a meeting with him yesterday evening and left about few minutes past 12 am. I have seen Mr. President this morning. Presently he is in the office working hard preparing for NEC meeting.

“Pls, let us stop spreading false news. Away (sic) verify your facts before publishing. You could have easily reached me.
Your report is therefore false and should be retracted immediately. I hope you will also publish this refutal.”

Corroborating Edun’s account, another source who seemed abreast with Usoro’s itinerary wrote: “This is absolutely false. I was with the NBA President, Mr. Paul Usoro, SAN throughout yesterday, Tuesday, 05 December 2018 and at no point whatsoever was he arrested by the EFCC.

“The President left Abuja to Lagos on Monday, 03 December 2018, with Airpeace 1:20pm and returned to Abuja on Tuesday, 04 December 2018, with Azman 8am, for a workshop organised by the Nigerian Law Reform Commission.

“After the workshop, he was in the office (NBA National Secretariat) till about 12:03am where he had a long meeting with other National Officers of the NBA.

“Please see below, pictures of the NBA President, Mr. Paul Usoro, SAN chairing a session at the Workshop on Reform of the Value Added Tax Act, organised by the Nigerian Law Reform Commission yesterday, 04 December 2018, at Reiz Continental Hotel, Abuja.”

Former NBA Welfare Secretary, Mr. Adesina Adegbite was forced to intervene when his attention was called to the concerns generated on his whatsapp platform by the report.

He wrote: “My attention was just drawn to this by a senior lawyer and past General Secretary of the NBA.

“However, by the response of the National Publicity Secretary and as the Chief Administrator of this platform, I hereby demand an immediate retraction of this post right here on this platform.

“Pls let’s get our facts right before rushing to press with false/fake news. It does us as lawyers and our noble Association no good to tarnish its image with undignified posts like this.”

However, when a learned silk classified the report as “fake news,” fiery Bar activist, Dame Carol Ajie who recently fell out with the NBA President retorted: “You know I called owner of the link (blog) they picked my call and after listening to my question ref to confirm they said to me they have confirmed.

“You know it’s not been posted to but when I see the charge sheet then I can share it. Response from Carol Ajie to my comment of ‘fake news.’ ”

As at the time of this report, the NBA is yet to issue any official statement rebutting the alleged arrest.