NBA LAGOS ELECTIONS POSTPONED

  • ELECTORAL C’TE CITES VOTERS’ REGISTER ISSUES

  • COMMITTEE HIRES VOTE-NOW, USA VOTING FIRM

The eagerly awaited Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Lagos Branch Election has been postponed due to challenges encountered by the Electoral Committee in producing a valid voters’ register. The influential branch has by far the largest voting bloc in NBA.

Announcing the postponement of the election during the “NBA Lagos Manifesto Day” held last Friday, Chairman of the Electoral Committee, Mr. Wale Akoni SAN said the postponement was to avoid breaching the NBA Uniform Bye Laws which provides that the register must be published 14 days to the election. The election will now hold on June 30, 2021 as against the earlier date of June 28 fixed by the committee.

Akoni bemoaned the state of the branch database, saying that it was “really, really difficult” validating eligible voters for the poll. Noting that “We shouldn’t be here in 2021,” the leading litigator observed that “there is so much technology available” to deal with database challenges, adding that there should be a platform where information on members’ payments and attendance at meetings among others should be readily available.

The Electoral Committee also said that it is “still attending to questions and complaints” from branch members, notwithstanding that it had released the “Final list of eligible voters” containing 885 names, up from 832 provisional voters’ list. Some members have complained that they may be unduly disenfranchised due to the absence of their names on the voters’ register. The final voters’ list has 111 more eligible voters than the 2019 register with 774 voters.

The committee had in a rare email to members stated that “Elections are by electronic voting,” adding that “The link to the secret ballot will be sent electronically to all eligible voters. Eligible voters can vote online from their computers or mobile devices anywhere in the world.” The committee also plans to provide computers in yet-to-be-disclosed designated centres for eligible voters who may wish to cast their ballots there. The candidates’ manifestos have been published on the dysfunctional election website.

Meanwhile, barring any last-minute change of mind, CITY LAWYER can authoritatively reveal that the Electoral Committee has opted for Vote-Now.com LLC as the voting platform for the election. Vote-Now.com was the platform adopted for the 2019 rancour-free poll conducted by the Richard Akintunde-led Electoral Committee. The company prides itself as providing balloting services that “reduce the time, expense, and environmental impact of your election process, while increasing voter turnout and member participation in governance.”

According to the Jacksonville, USA based company, “The VTNW balloting system was specifically designed by University Scientists for use in Professional organization elections. With 23+ years of experience conducting web-based elections, we have assisted hundreds of business and academic professional organizations, HOA’s, non-profit groups, and universities with their balloting needs.” The branch paid about $2300 for the deployment of the platform, Akintunde told CITY LAWYER in an interview to herald the 2019 Elections.

Meanwhile, only two posts will be contested during the elections, as the other positions are unopposed. While Messrs Anthony Atata, Seth Amaefule and Ikechukwu Uwanna will slug it out for the coveted post of Branch Chairman, the race for who becomes the next Branch Secretary is between Miss Nta Ekpiken, Mr. Shola Abiloye and incumbent Publicity Secretary, Mr. James Sonde.

CITY LAWYER recalls that leading corporate lawyer and outgoing Branch Chairman, Mr. Yemi Akangbe had  during the 2019 Elections polled 440 (56.8%) of the 774 votes to beat his closest rival, Mr. Adebola Lema who garnered 311 votes or 40.2%. 

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BREAKING NEWS: AT LAST, CJ HOSTS NBA LAGOS

  • JOKES ABOUT ‘FROSTY RELATIONS’
  • ROLLS OUT JUDICIAL REFORMS 
  • PROMISES GOOD BAR-BENCH RELATIONS

The Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Kazeem Alogba today hosted the leadership of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Lagos Branch. The courtesy visit by the branch is coming after several unsuccessful attempts by the branch leadership to have an interface with the Chief Judge and exactly three weeks after a CITY LAWYER report on the issue. Both the Chief Judge and Branch leadership had however denied any frosty relations between them.

In fact, Justice Alogba reportedly joked about the alleged frosty relations between him and the branch when he observed that the temperature at the meeting was very cool, with the air-conditioning in full blast.

Justice Alogba, who led a high-powered team to the meeting, regretted that he had been unable to receive the branch leadership due to his pressing official engagements but assured that the interface would become more regular henceforth.

Below is a report of the meeting as posted by the Branch Secretary, Mr. Moshood Abiola.

The NBA Lagos Branch today met with the leadership of the the Lagos State Judiciary.

The delegation from the branch led by the branch Chairman, Yemi Akangbe along with members of the Exco and the Judiciary Relations Committee met with Chief Judge of Lagos State-Hon. Justice K. O. Alogba and the top echelon of the state judiciary at the Chief Judge’s conference room at the Ikeja High Court.

The Chief Judge opened the meeting with a jocular reference to the “alleged frosty relationship between the bar and the bench” when he observed that the temperature at the meeting was very cool with the air conditioning in full blast.

The CJ expressed his regrets that the meeting had not held earlier as had been expected. He stated that this was due to a plethora of official and circumstancial reasons. He said he was personally pained that it took this long for the meeting to hold and apologized for it. He promised that it would become a regular meeting.

By way of report, the CJ gave an update on the work done so far to ensure that the dispensation of justice resumes fully. He said the renovation work in the building at Osborne would soon be completed and it would house at least eight court rooms of the high court. He added that there were now two new court rooms at the eti Osa court house to take two more magistrates, one more court room at the Magistrate Court in Sabo Yaba.

The Honorable Chief Judge also said there will be four court rooms at the High Court level at the old juvenile court building in Sabi. He said all these courtrooms are expected to be ready for use by the end of March 2021.

In his remarks, the branch chairman thanked the Chief Judge for the warm reception. He stated clearly that there was no frosty relationship between the bar and the bench and the Lagos bar was happy to work with the judiciary. He again commiserated with the Lagos Judiciary on the destruction of several courthouse. He said the branch was pained by the devastating loss and was open to working with the judiciary. He reported that in the aftermath of the destruction the NBA held an emergency meeting and several measures and protocols were agreed on the way forward.

The Vice Chair of the Judiciary Relations Committee, Dr. Wale Olawoyin SAN in his submissions urged the Chief Judge to set up a committee with members from the bar and bench to serve as an avenue of feed back of issues as they arise. He highlighted some of the problems been faced by members in accessing the courts which included problems associated with filing and assignment of cases, scheduling of hearings and many more.

In his response the Hon. Chief Justice promised to look into the creation of the committee in a week’s time. He reiterated the work been done on E-Filing but said the problem was majorly from lawyers who sometimes cannot upload their documents and this causes a lot of delay. On late assignment of cases, he said he was actively looking into it and recently had to sanction some staff who were found wanting. He said he was also looking at many other measures to ease the system. He said he was happy these issues were being raised and he promised it would be looked into.

On scheduling of hearings, he said whilst there are guidelines laid down to be followed members of the bar were also not adhering to the guidelines as some would want to even be in court when their cases were not ready for hearing. He urged for patience and cooperation from the bar. He reiterated his directive that registrars must give 48 hours notice if the court was not going to sit. He urged that members of the bar should write if any registrar fails to do so.

On the issue of technology, he said it was a matter of finance. He commended the governor of the state for his support and understanding so far. He said even before the pandemic some courts have been sitting virtually. He said although there are still some impediments, the governor has been doing a lot to support the judiciary.

The Chief Judge however observed that even with the best efforts of the Judiciary, the reality of the pandemic is still a barrier to the full operation of the judiciary.

He thanked the Lagos Branch for the visit and hoped for many more of such. He urged cooperation from everyone and stated that all hands must be on deck.

The branch chairman in his final remarks suggested that there should be specific time allotted to cases each day so that lawyers don’t have to wait. The Chief Judge said this was already been done especially in his case, he promised that he would encourage other judges to do same as it is even in the interest of the judges to do so.

Mrs. Boma Alabi SAN gave the vote of thanks on behalf of the Lagos branch.

Moshood Abiola,
Secretary,
NBA LAGOS,
3/2/2021

It is recalled that the former Financial Secretary and Treasurer Emeritus of the branch, Mr. Phillip Njeteneh had while reacting to the CITY LAWYER report on alleged frosty Bar-Bench relations said: “At the last Branch meeting the Exco, learned seniors & members generally expressed their frustration at the cold shoulders given the Branch by the Lagos CJ over the offer to help and overtures of the Premier Branch over the recent destruction of courts & court facilities.”

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NBA LAGOS WRITES CJ, DEBUNKS FROSTY RELATIONS

The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Lagos Branch has debunked claims that it has a frosty relationship with the Lagos State Judiciary.

Reacting to a CITY LAWYER report on the matter, the Branch described the report as “false and misleading,” saying it “does not represent a true record of the deliberations at our last meeting, as falsely reported.”

In an online post to branch members titled “POINT OF INFORMATION!!!” and signed by the Branch Chairman, Mr. Yemi Akangbe, he stated that the branch has written to the Chief Judge, Justice Kazeem Alogba “in reaction to the said publication.”

Former Financial Secretary and Treasurer Emeritus of the branch, Mr. Phillip Njeteneh had while reacting to the CITY LAWYER report, said: “At the last Branch meeting the Exco, learned seniors & members generally expressed their frustration at the cold shoulders given the Branch by the Lagos CJ over the offer to help and overtures of the Premier Branch over the recent destruction of courts & court facilities.”

It is recalled that the Chief Judge had also debunked any frosty relations between the judiciary and the branch, saying that he has been unable to receive the branch leadership due to overarching schedules.

Below is the full text of the chairman’s statement:

POINT OF INFORMATION!!!
Dear Seniors/ Respected Members,

I hope this note finds you well.

You must have read with concern, a recent publication of an alleged “FROSTY RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN OUR BRANCH AND THE LAGOS STATE JUDICIARY” authored by City Lawyer, a blog said to be published by Mr. Emeka Nwadioke who happens to be a member of our Branch. I believe everyone present at the last Meeting of the Branch will attest to the fact that the report was inaccurate and misleading.

It is important to mention that whilst non members are permitted by us, if considered appropriate, upon request, to attend our meetings, our Branch meetings are exclusive to our members and deliberations at our meetings are privileged. A measure of confidentiality should therefore be associated with the meetings. Further the duly adopted minutes of our meetings are the only recognized record of deliberations at our meetings. Press coverage of our meetings should only be at our instance and not otherwise. We ask that City Lawyer and all other bloggers should respect the privacy associated with our meetings.

For your information, please see below, a letter to the C.J, in reaction to the said publication.

January 20, 2021

The Hon. Justice K. O. Alogba
The Chief Judge of Lagos State,
Chief Jusge’s (sic) Chambers,
High Court Complex, Ikeja,
Lagos State.

My Lord,

RE:ALLEGED FROSTY RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN NBA, LAGOS BRANCH AND THE LAGOS STATE JUDICIARY.
We have read, with astonishment and amazement, the report of the allegedly ‘frosty relationship’ between the NBA Lagos Branch and the Bench in Lagos State, especially your good self.

We write to inform you that the report by “City Lawyer blog” is false and misleading and does not represent a true record of the deliberations at our last meeting, as falsely reported.

In reporting to the Branch on the progress of collaboration between the Branch and the Bench regarding the unfortunate incidents that occurred at the High Court complex in Igbosere, we made the point that we had made proposals to your office offering assistance and had requested a meeting, but had so far been unable to secure an appointment.

Further to the above, we find the report of the existence of a ‘frosty relationship’ between the NBA Lagos Branch and the Bench to be driven by a desire for sensationalism on the part of the authors.

We anticipate that the report may have caused unnecessary embarrassment and we consider this unfortunate and regrettable.

Do please accept the assurance of our highest regards and respect, as we continue to await an opportunity to meet with you.

Yours faithfully,
Yemi Akangbe
NBA, Lagos Chairman.

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.

LAGOS BAR-BENCH RELATIONS: TIME FOR ALUTA?

In this article, PHILLIP NJETENEH, former Financial Secretary and Treasurer of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Lagos Branch goes down memory lane on the controversy surrounding relations between the Lagos State Judiciary and the branch

IS NBA LAGOS WIRED TO BE PERPETUALLY IN OPPOSITION IN LAGOS?

I am forced to ask this question due to recent developments which are recurrent decimal in our branch history.

At the last Branch meeting the Exco, learned seniors & members generally expressed their frustration at the cold shoulders given the Branch by the Lagos CJ over the offer to help and overtures of the Premier Branch over the recent destruction of courts & court facilities.

A few days ago the CJ of Lagos during the visit to the CJ by Exco of NBA Ikeja Branch the CJ warmly welcomed the Exco and openly refuted the allegation that he shunned NBA Lagos Branch or that he was having any grudge with NBA Lagos Branch.

Such frosty relationship between the Bar & Bench relationship (Premier Branch & the Bench in Lagos) is not new. During the winding down days of Bola Tinubu tenure as Governor the state govt gave out coaster buses to NBA Branches in Lagos State and the Premier Branch was effectively excluded from that largesse.

During the tenure of Fashola (a lawyer & a branch member) half hearted efforts were made at correcting this but it yielded no result. I say ‘half hearted’ because I recall as the Branch Fin Sec under the Chairmanship of Milord Taiwo Taiwo I was among the few vocal ones insisting we give this matter a more serious push than we gave it then & what we got was the result if our half hearted effort – no bus.

During the tenure of Mr. Okoli SAN the Branch was denied use of the Foyer for our meetings which gave rise to further denials. That same period the Branch was ejected from the small office space it occupied at the Court of Appeal Lagos Division.

It’s on record today that Lagos Judiciary gave a piece of land to NBA Ikeja Branch to build its Bar Center & I equally recall that when Ikeja Branch were about to commence work on the building project the then Lagos CJ gave NBA Ikeja Branch N10,000,000 (that’s the highest amount Lagos CJ has given any Branch that I know of).

If at all, Ikeja Branch either as a Branch or it’s officers have given Lagos State Judiciary or past CJs more headache than NBA Lagos Branch will ever give it, yet we suffer more from the actions and inactions of various CJs of Lagos.

Again, the Premier Branch has been more docile about the actions & inactions of the Lagos CJs than Ikeja Branch with Lagos choosing to engage or dialogue which often enough leads to nowhere. Take for instance the last increase in fees by the Lagos Judiciary. Our Branch chose to engage and at the end of the day while we were waiting for engagement the increase had taken effect. We all know what happened in Osun State under similar circumstances.

We have been enjoying the Big Boys status and it’s time we ask ourselves ‘is this big boy status hurting our profession/practice or promoting it’?

Yes we host the grandest dinners, we host the loudest parties, we engage rather than ruffling feathers, we call the shots but how has this helped us in the long run?

Are we better off?

Could we be better off?

Should we do things differently?

It calls for deeper reflections.

Copyright 2020 CITY LAWYER. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the blog. 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.

‘I HAVE NO GROUSE WITH NBA LAGOS’ – JUSTICE ALOGBA

  • CJ TO HOST LAGOS BRANCH SOON

The Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Kazeem Alogba has said that his relationship with the Bar is cordial. Justice Alogba disclosed this yesterday during a courtesy visit by the newly elected Executive Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ikeja Branch led by its Chairman, Mr. Bartholomew Aguegbodo.

An unimpeachable source who attended the meeting told CITY LAWYER that though the chief judge stated that he had read the report on alleged frosty relations between him and NBA Lagos Branch, he initially declined to speak on the matter, saying that the judiciary does not respond to social media reports.

Our source said that the chief judge was however persuaded to respond to the allegation by former NBA Vice President, Mr. Monday Ubani who emphasized the significant role of social media as a contemporary source of information, adding that the CITY LAWYER blog is credible and reliable.

Turning to the allegation, Justice Alogba flatly debunked any frosty relations with NBA Lagos Branch, saying that he is merely a hostage to his tight schedule. Noting that he is always shuttling between Lagos and Abuja to attend to official matters and summons, the respected jurist stated that there is no deliberate plot to shut out the Lagos Bar.

According to our source, Justice Alogba emphasized that there is no reason for frosty relations between him and the Bar, given that both the Bar and Bench are working towards speedy and effective justice delivery. Justice Alogba noted that since the Bar and the Bench are working towards a common goal, it is expedient for them to ensure a conflict-free relationship in the interest of the masses.

He used the courtesy visit to pledge more support for Ikeja branch. While asking the branch to remain focused, Alogba admonished lawyers to work towards salvaging the image of the profession.

He noted that since misunderstanding is inevitable in every organisation, NBA inclusive, it is honourable for the association to be professional and mature in handling any internal misunderstanding whenever such occurs in order to save the profession.

Speaking on the enormous amount of records lost at the Igbosere High Court during the ENDSARS crisis, the Chief Judge informed members of the Bar of the several efforts by the Judiciary in securing temporary court premises.

He appealed to lawyers to plead with their clients with pending cases to exercise patience until the commencement or the completion of the temporary sites, adding that criminal cases are given priority due to the current coronavirus pandemic.

Meanwhile, there are strong indications that the chief judge may soon meet with the leadership of the Lagos Branch. A source who is familiar with the impending meeting told CITY LAWYER that plans are at an advanced stage for a courtesy visit by the Lagos Bar.

It is recalled that CITY LAWYER had in a report stated that there were anxieties within legal circles on the alleged frosty relations between the chief judge and NBA Lagos Branch. This was a major issue on the agenda during the last monthly meeting of the branch. The current leadership of the branch will bow out on June 30, 2021.

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.

ANXIETY OVER FROSTY BAR-BENCH TIES IN LAGOS

There are strong indications that relations between the Bar and Bench in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital, may have taken a nose-dive.

CITY LAWYER can authoritatively report that this state of affairs is causing serious anxiety within Lagos Bar circles, and was a major topic at yesterday’s monthly meeting of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Lagos Branch.

In particular, there is a seeming frosty relationship between the branch and the leadership of the Bench in the state. CITY LAWYER reliably gathered that several efforts by the branch leadership to pay a courtesy visit to the Lagos State Chief Judge, Hon. Justice Kazeem Alogba have so far proved abortive. In fact, there are strong indications that letters to this effect received no response till date. It was unclear at press time whether the Chief Judge is aware of the requests.

CITY LAWYER gathered that similar efforts by the branch Judiciary Relations Committee led by the respected former NBA presidential candidate, Dr. Babatunde Ajibade SAN to broker a visit have also met a brick wall. There are indications that though the committee developed protocols to assist the judiciary in the aftermath of the #ENDSARS protests, its inability to meet with the Chief Judge truncated plans to convey the protocols to the state judiciary.

In fact, the branch had at its October 26, 2020 meeting resolved as follows: “That the Judicial Relations Committee of the Branch (“the Committee”) should communicate with the President of the Court of Appeal, the Presiding Justice of the Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal and the Chief Judge of Lagos State to commiserate with them on these events and seek audience with them to discuss short and long term measures that can be put in place to address the challenges presented to the administration of justice as a result of these unfortunate occurrences at the premises of the courts.”

CITY LAWYER gathered that an atmosphere of despair has enveloped the branch which is by far the largest NBA branch, even as there are concerns in legal circles that the inability of the Bar and Bench to collaborate may hamper justice delivery in Nigeria’s most populous city.

The situation is apparently giving the branch leadership and the Judiciary Relations Committee grey hairs, as CITY LAWYER reliably gathered that they are now soliciting help from all quarters to enable the branch interface with the Chief Judge to convey lawyers’ concerns and challenges to the respected jurist.

Efforts by CITY LAWYER to speak with Mrs. Ololade Ige, the Public Affairs Officer for Lagos State Judiciary, have so far proved abortive.

It is however recalled that last July the Chief Judge was Chairman of the Branch virtual conference on “COVID-19, Access to Justice and Human Rights Violations” where he had relentless exchanges with fiery human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana SAN. CITY LAWYER also gathered that the no-nonsense jurist had hosted the Ikeja Branch of the Bar.

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.

#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.

N5M COVID-19 PALLIATIVE: SANs, OTHERS CARPET, HAIL AKPATA

A N5 million relief package funded by Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) presidential aspirant, Mr. Olumide Akpata and “his friends” and administered by the NBA Lagos Branch has raised a firestorm within the Bar, pitching many lawyers against their colleagues.

The fiery debate on the propriety of the palliatives was set off by a notice by NBA Lagos Branch Chairman, Mr. Yemi Akangbe when he urged “members of the Branch that genuinely need this support” to email him and other named branch Executive Committee members.

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JURISTS STORM LAGOS JUNE 20 FOR LAW WEEK

Leading jurists are set to storm City Hall, Lagos from June 20, 2019 as the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Lagos Branch holds its hugely popular Annual Law Week. The week-long event is scheduled to kick-off on Saturday, June 15, 2019 with a health work sponsored by telecom giant, MTN Nigeria Plc. The theme of this year’s Law Week is “Law and Development in an Emerging Economy.”

Aside from firebrand economist, Mr. Bismarck Rewane who will tackle the sub-theme, “The Nigerian economy: 2019 outlook and opportunities for lawyers,” eminent jurists that have confirmed attendance as part of the stellar faculty are Justice Habeeb Abiru of the Court of Appeal; NBA President, Mr. Paul Usoro SAN; former Lagos State Attorney-General & Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Supo Shasore SAN; Mr. Gbenga Oyebode MFR, Mr. Asue Ighodalo as well as leading environmental law expert and Lagos State University Vice Chancellor, Prof. Lanre Fagbohun SAN.

Other confirmed faculty members are Delta State Chief Judge, Justice Marshal Umukoro; Mr. Tunde Fagbohunlu SAN; former Lagos State Solicitor-General, Mr. Fola Arthur-Worrey, renowned activist and law teacher, Dr. Sam Amadi; Mr. Peter Derey; reputed international lawyer, Mr. Charles Adeogun-Phillip and Ms. Yimika Adesola of “Legally Engaged.”

Expected at the popular Young Lawyers’ Forum are billionaire blogger, Ms. Linda Ikeji; popular TV host and lawyer, Mr. Ebuka Obi-Uchendu, Prince Joel and Deji Olomojobi among others.

At a press conference to herald the Law Week, NBA Lagos Branch Chairman, Mr. Chukwuka Ikwuazom noted that the law week would be the last for his regime which has been adjudged by many lawyers as highly innovative and successful, adding that no effort would be spared to ensure that it leaves a lasting impression on the minds of participants.

On his part, Chairman of the 2019 Law Week Planning Committee, Mr. Tola Oshobi SAN assured prospective participants that the technical sessions in particular have been fashioned to add immense value to every lawyer’s practice. According to Oshobi, who is leading the committee for the second consecutive time, among the topics lined up for the sessions holding on June 20 and 21 at City Hall, Lagos are “Emerging trends in technology and innovation;” “Smart response of the legal profession to technological advancements;” “The 21st century workplace in context: law firm focus;” “Administration of justice and the courts: A dialogue between the Bench and the Bar;” “Rain making and management of client expectations;” “The young lawyers’ forum: Entertainment, sports and media,” and “Sustainable development and the environment.”

Other activities earmarked for the week are health check, visit to prisons and Pacelli School for the Blind, Elders’ Night to be hosted by leading commercial lawyer, Mr. George Etomi and a closing party on June 21.

Alternate Chairman for the Law Week Planning Committee, Mr. Andrew Malgwi noted that registration for the week has since commenced and can be done online at www.nbalagos.org or at the Branch Secretariat among other channels. Non-lawyers can also register to benefit from the intellectual feast, he noted.

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NBA Lagos Holds AGM Today

The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Lagos Branch will today hold its first Annual General Meeting (AGM) under the chairmanship of Mr. Chukwuka Ikwuazom. The meeting is coming against the backdrop of the demise of Pa Tunji Gomez, a consummate Bar-man who was a constant feature at virtually all the branch’s meetings even in the twilight of his life. Continue Reading