JUSUN STRIKE: ANXIETY, AS NBA IKEJA BOYCOTTS LAGOS BRANCHES’ PARLEY WITH SANWO-OLU TOMORROW

  • LAGOS, BADAGRY, EPE AND IKORODU BRANCHES TO ATTEND

  • CONFUSION OVER PARTICIPATION OF BRANCH MEMBERS

The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ikeja Branch has vowed to boycott a meeting of all Lagos branches with Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu scheduled for “Lagos House,” Marina tomorrow.

In a telephone interview with CITY LAWYER, NBA Ikeja Branch Chairman, Mr. Batholomew Aguegbodo said: “I can tell you for free that I will not be there. We complied with the NBA President’s directive by embarking on our protest march today in line with our tradition as Tiger Branch. I tried to move the other branches to join us today but they gave sundry reasons on why it is impossible for them to do so. I respect their position. We shall return to the streets on Monday if by then the State Governors had not complied with JUSUN’s demand.”

However, the four other branches comprising Lagos, Badagry, Epe and Ikorodu will meet with the Governor tomorrow by 10:30 am. CITY LAWYER gathered that the branch chairmen may have agreed to converge on “Lagos House” by 10 am prior to the meeting with the Sanwo-Olu. The meeting is being facilitated by former Bar Leader and Lagos State Attorney-General & Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Moyosore Onigbanjo, SAN.

While it was gathered that only three members from each branch would be permitted to go into the meeting with the Governor, it was unclear at press time whether branch members would be allowed to mass around the premises. This comes against the backdrop of conflicting signals from the branches regarding the level of participation of their members.

While Lagos Branch may have restricted participation to the official three-man delegation and very senior lawyers who may insist on attending, Epe and Ikorodu branch chairmen told CITY LAWYER that all their members who wish to attend have been fully mobilized to storm “Lagos House” in their numbers.

According to Mr. Ademola Koko, NBA Epe Branch Chairman, “Everybody is coming. We have mobilized all our members. We are coming in three buses which we have hired.”

This was echoed by NBA Ikorodu Branch Chairman, Mr. Abimbola Ojedokun who told CITY LAWYER that “We are going with our members. All those who are available will accompany us on the visit.”

The branches may have however conceded to shun display of placards so as not to “embarrass” the Governor. A source told CITY LAWYER that while Epe Branch has agreed to display its banners at the Epe High Court, Badagry Branch may have directed its members to display their banners at the Lagos High Court, Igbosere.

In a press statement personally signed by the NBA President, Mr. Olumide Akpata, the association had at the weekend asked all NBA branches “to effectively mobilize their members and pay visits to their respective State Governors at the Government Houses on Monday, 19th April 2021 to press home the demand for implementation of financial autonomy for the Judiciary. At the visit, NBA Branches in each State are to present a joint written demand to their State Governor requesting full compliance with existing legislative instruments and court judgments on the financial autonomy of the Judiciary.”

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‘OUR STAND ON JUSUN STRIKE,’ BY 5 LAGOS BRANCH CHAIRMEN

The five branches of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) in Lagos State held a virtual meeting yesterday to deliberate on the ongoing strike by Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) and the directive by NBA President, Mr. Olumide Akpata relating to the strike.

Below is the text of the communique made available to CITY LAWYER as issued by the Committee of Chairmen after the meeting.

COMMUNIQUE ON THE DIRECTIVE OF THE PRESIDENT BY THE FIVE CHAIRMEN OF NBA BRANCHES IN LAGOS STATE ON THE ONGOING JUSUN STRIKE:

AGENDA:
1. The Chairmen of NBA Lagos, Ikeja, Epe, Ikorodu and Badagry held a meeting today 18th April, 2021 to fine tune the modalities to be jointly adopted by the Branches in effectively executing the mandate of Mr. President. The following issues were discussed:

A) Execution of the joint mandate for maximum impact in line with the mandate. After the submission of the Chairman, Ikeja Branch that all arrangements have been put in place against tomorrow by the Branch for their peaceful protest. Other Chairmen pleaded for Branches to jointly carry out the mandate as dictated in the president’s directive. The Chairman of Ikeja promised to try and convince his members against Tuesday now granted by the president for Lagos State Branches.

B) The directive dated 16th April, 2021 and personally signed by the president chronicled efforts made by our National Body and the negative effects on our members, hence, our involvement as critical Stakeholders.

C) The president’s directive enjoins NBA Branches”” to visit their state governors and demand compliance with the provisions of 1999 constitution…”

D) page 2 paragraph 1 of the directive enjoins Chairmen to effectively mobilize their members “and pay visits” to their respective state government houses on Monday 19th April, 2021 to press home the demand…”
“..at the visit, NBA Branches in each state are to present a joint written demand to their state governors”

E) At page 2 paragraph 2 of the directive which states ” The Chairmen of the NBA Branches are further requested to ensure that these visits are embarked upon every subsequent Monday until..”

The above premises formed the following resolutions:
A) That consequent upon the president’s approval for the visit on Tuesday and with the hope of Ikeja Branch joining, the Branches shall proceed with the visit to the Governor with Branches mobilising their members who shall be dressed in their official black and white.

B) Members shall converge at the Government house between 11 am and 12 pm with placards showing solidarity pursuant to our mandate. No abusive placards please.

C) Visits on subsequent Mondays shall follow the same pattern

Signed by the Chairmen of NBA, Lagos, Ikeja, Epe, Ikorodu and Badagry Branches.

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BREAKING: BODY OF BENCHERS OKAYS NOUN GRADUATES FOR LAW SCHOOL

BY EMEKA NWADIOKE

Nigeria’s Body of Benchers has approved admission of National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) graduates into the Nigerian Law School, CITY LAWYER can authoritatively report.

The decision by the apex regulator of the legal profession in Nigeria was taken at its meeting held today.

There has been a cat-and-mouse tussle between the Benchers and the NOUN graduates, as the body had insisted that NOUN graduates did not meet the requirements for admission to the Law School.

Before now, all pleas to the Body of Benchers to resolve the impasse met a brickwall until today’s breakthrough.

More details shortly.

#ENDSARS: AKPATA STORMS PROBE PANEL, VOWS CLOSE MONITORING

  • PROMISES FREE LEGAL HELP FOR VICTIMS

Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) President, Mr. Olumide Akpata yesterday stormed the inaugural sitting of the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry for Restitution for victims of #EndSARS-related abuses and the October 20 Lekki Tollgate shootings.

Briefing NBA Lagos Branch members after the visit, Akpata vowed that NBA will closely monitor the activities of the panel to ensure that justice is done to all victims of the crisis.

Akpata, who was addressing the lawyers during their monthly general meeting, said that NBA would also set up free legal assistance teams to help victims pursue their cases before the panel, even as he called for “sober reflection and positive action.”

He stated that he visited the Lagos State panel of enquiry to represent the association, adding: “My Lord Justice (Doris) Okuwobi gave me the opportunity to let the panel know that the NBA intends to be actively involved in this panel in Lagos and similar panels set up all over the country.”

Speaking specifically on NBA’s roadmap for the enquiry panels, Akpata said: “And just to latch on to the point made by my brother Emeka Nwadioke, our intervention will be two-pronged: firstly, as we have already indicated, we want to provide through our members pro bono service to victims – so that we can help them at all these panels, the 36 States and the National Human Rights Commission Panel set up in Abuja, help these victims articulate their petitions and also present their petitions.

“We are going to set up teams. We already have the Public Interest Team that we are putting together and a database of lawyers who have already indicated that they would like to be part of this process. He stated that the process is ongoing and urged the branch leadership to seek out more volunteers for the pro bono project.

Continuing, Akpata said: “The second leg of our intervention would be serving as independent observers in all of these panels, serving as friends of the court – or friends of the panel, as it were – to ensure that the panels are proceeding unimpeded.”

He stated that the Lagos State Panel of Inquiry leadership was “very delighted that the NBA is ready to play these roles, and has assured me that we would be given due recognition, and that our members who come in to play the independent observer role would be duly accorded recognition and audience as at when necessary.

“For Lagos, for example, by my calculation there would be 72 days of sitting for the next 6 months. So it will be important for us to set up committees. The volunteers can take turns to participate in the proceedings of the panel so that we can be the watchdog, play the watchdog role that is ours to play. We intend to be very involved.”

Turning to the protests, the NBA president noted that many lawyers bore the brunt of the destruction of properties. Noting that standing aloof is not an option, Akpata stated that there are “wider issues” involved. He said that beyond the #ENDSARS protests and the Lekki Toll Plaza killings, “there are root causes that we must address.”

He noted that “the masses are protesting,” adding that “we must attack the root issues, we must intervene in this process as the NBA, we must mediate in this process.”

On the efforts earlier made by the NBA, Akpata stated that in the days leading to October 20 when the crisis peaked with the killing of some protesters at Lekki Toll Plaza, NBA led efforts along with its branches and States Attorneys-General to free all detained protesters, adding that he is “very proud of the work our members did facilitating the release of members of the public who were arrested around the country.

“Beyond that, we very quickly collaborated with the National Human Rights Commission. As you know, we are working closely with the NHRC on the independent panel of enquiry that has been set up by the commission to look into the SARS protest. Our First Vice President is a member of that panel which is led by the Honourable Justice Suleiman Galadima.

“We are also working closely with the National Assembly. Working closely with the Speaker of the House of Representatives, we set up a 7-man Committee on tweaking the Police Service Commission Act to ensure that the new iteration of that law will cater for a transparency and accountability framework that will deal with erring police officers.

“As soon as the unfortunate event of 20th of October happened, we issued a statement where we made it categorically clear on behalf of the association that the event of that night was totally unacceptable – shooting at unarmed harmless protesters – totally unacceptable, and would not be entertained by the Nigerian Bar Association; that we would rise up in defence of any Nigerian so assaulted, which is what we are doing.

“Immediately, we called for a meeting of the NBA and at that meeting we discussed the issue extensively and came out with a communiqué which had since been issued. Essentially, the association has given us the mandate not only to do that which we are already doing – which is to support Nigerians who have come under attack from the security forces – but also to intervene in what has become an impasse, to intervene in a situation that is degenerating by the day because the society is looking up to us as the NBA to intervene in this process.

“Of course, you know that it has come close to home – uncomfortably so. We inspected the High Court at Igbosere and what we saw left us speechless. It is one thing to hear about the destruction, but to see it first-hand leaves you numb as it did to us yesterday (Sunday).”

He urged NBA Lagos Branch to “lead the way” in working with the judiciary “to see how we can come back to where we were before the unfortunate incident, and taking the opportunity to improve on the facilities that existed previously.”

Akpata also commiserated with members of the branch whose offices were vandalized during the carnage at City Hall.

In his response, NBA Lagos Branch Chairman, Mr. Yemi Akangbe applauded Akpata intiitives taken by his administration to tackle the crisis, saying: “You have stepped in an.d taken leadership. We are proud of you as an esteemed member of this branch.”

Among many senior lawyers who attended the virtual meeting are former NBA presidential candidates, Chief Emeka Ngige, SAN and Dr. Babatunde Ajibade, SAN; Chief Bolaji Ayorinde, SAN; Mr. Tunde Busari, SAN; Mrs. Olufunke Agbor, SAN; Mr. George Etomi, NPOM; NBA General Secretary, Mrs. Joyce Oduah and fiery Nigerian Law School teacher, Mr. Sylvester Udemezue.

The panel is made up of the retired Justice Okuwobi as chairman; Mr. Ebun Adegboruwa, SAN; Mr. Taiwo Lakanu, a retired Deputy Inspector-General of Police and a founding member of SARS; Mrs. Oluwatoyin Odusanya, Director, Lagos State Directorate of Citizens Rights; Ms. Patience Udoh, Mr. Segun Awosanya (segalink) and two representatives of the youth.

Copyright 2020 CITY LAWYER. Please send emails to citylawyermag@gmail.com. Join us on Facebook at https://web.facebook.com/City-Lawyer-Magazine-434937936684320 and on TWITTER at https://twitter.com/CityLawyerMag. 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.

NBA LAGOS ELECTIONS: COMMITTEE DISPELS FEARS

  • SUMMONS STAKEHOLDERSMEETING
  • RELEASES GUIDELINES ON E-VOTING PROCEDURE

The leadership of the Election Committee for the forthcoming Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Lagos Branch Elections has dispelled concerns over the elections, saying there is no cause for worry.

In a notice seen by CITY LAWYER, the Committee Chairman, Mr. Richard Akintunde SAN noted that it had always kept stakeholders in the picture as regards its activities, adding that nothing would be done to imperil the elections.

In a separate post by Akintunde, a longstanding chairman of the committee, the electoral body also summoned a meeting of all candidates in the election. The meeting is scheduled to hold tomorrow 12 noon at the NBA Conference Room. Candidates were directed to come along with not more than two agents each.

The committee has also released an elaborate 12-step voting manual titled “Electronic voting procedure: From start to finish.”

Below are the notices:

RE: NBA LAGOS ELECTIONS CONCERNS MOUNT ON E-VOTING SYSTEM

*The NBA Election Committee’s response to the concerns raised in the publication by CITY LAWYER.

Postponement of the Manifesto Day:

The Committee in its notice postponing the Manifesto Day to Tuesday, 25th June, 2019 explained the reason for the postponement. The schedule of the event in honour of the Chief Judge of Lagos State, Hon. Justice Opeyemi Oke (Rtd) was not brought to the attention of the Election Committee when the relevant arrangements were made for the Manifesto Day. The postponement is regrettable but could not be helped in the circumstances.

Explanation of the e-voting process:

The Committee at the Branch meeting held on Monday, 10th June, 2019 went through step by step the e-voting process and thereafter conducted a demo of the e-voting process for the forthcoming elections. All questions asked by the lawyers in attendance were addressed by the Chairman of the Election Committee, Mr. Ayodele Akintunde, SAN.

In addition, the Committee has constantly published online materials on the step by step process for the e-voting. Members should please take time to read the materials to familiarise themselves with the process.

Please note that the Committee has complied with all publications required under the Uniform bye laws to the letter. In addition the Committee has published several online materials to explain the e-voting process.

The Committee appreciates the need to give the candidates, stakeholders and their agents an opportunity to raise any queries in respect of the elections. A meeting between the candidates and members of the Election Committee has been scheduled at which the candidates are required to attend along with their agents. The Committee intends to further explain the e-voting process to them and address any queries and concerns raised at the meeting.

List of eligible voters:

We are attending to all complaints by members whose names did not appear on the list of eligible voters published by the Committee. A supplementary list will soon be published of the names of members whose complaints were successful. The complaint process allows the Committee to address any omissions or mistakes. This has been the practice in the past.

We want to assure all candidates and branch members that the Election Committee is working tirelessly to ensure a free, fair and credible election. All concerns will be addressed as best as possible

We continue to solicit your support and cooperation and enjoin all eligible voters to contact the secretariat to ensure that there e-mails and phone numbers on record are correct.

Thank you.

Dear Sirs, NOTICE OF MEETING OF THE CANDIDATES AND MEMBERS OF THE NBA LAGOS BRANCH ELECTION COMMITTEE

Notice is hereby given that there will be a meeting of all candidates participating in the 2019 NBA Lagos Branch elections and members of the NBA Lagos Branch Election Committee as follows:

Date: Tuesday, 25th 2019
Venue: NBA Conference Room
Time: 12.00 pm

Candidates are to come along with their agents (not more than 2 each).

Agenda:

  1. To provide a further explanation of the e-voting election process.
  2. To address any queries/concerns.
  3. Any other business.

Signed: NBA Lagos Branch Election Committee

Please send emails to citylawyermag@gmail.com. Copyright 2018 CITY LAWYER. 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.