‘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.

Continue Reading

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.

Please email citylawyermag@gmail.com.

Copyright 2019 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.

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