ESCHEW JUDGMENT WITHOUT JUSTICE, AFAM OSIGWE URGES JUDGES

In this piece to herald the 2022/2023 Legal Year of Rivers State Judiciary, senior lawyer and former Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) General Secretary, MAZI AFAM OSIGWE SAN urges the nation’s Judiciary to reverse public perception that judges deliver judgments that do not give justice, even as he called on the Bar to be ready to defend the Judiciary when necessary

IT IS IMPERATIVE TO ONLY APPOINT JUDGES WHO GIVE JUST JUDGMENTS

The imperativeness of appointing judicial officers who shall judge rightly, give just judgments and not pervert justice was at the center stage today (23/11/2022) during the opening of the 2022/2023 Legal Year and Re-dedication service of the Rivers State Judiciary. To underscore this, the first lesson was taken from Deuteronomy 16: 18-20. It was read by the Governor of Rivers State, His Excellency Nyesom Ezenwo Wike.

The passage reads:
“You shall appoint judges and officers in all your gates, which the Lord your God gives you, according to your tribes , and they shall judge the people with just judgement. You shall not pervert justice; you shall not show partiality, nor take a bribe, for a bribe binds the eyes of the wise and twists the words of the righteous. You shall follow what is altogether just, that you may live and inherit the land which the Lord your God is giving you”.

As I wish the Rivers State Judiciary, lawyers , judiciary workers and all court users a productive and result-driven Legal Year, may I remind all members of the legal community in Nigeria of the truth of the statement made by one-time Chief Justice of Nigeria, Honourable Justice Dahiru Musdapher, on Monday, the 19th day of September, 2011, that the society is not entirely satisfied with the judiciary (I dare say lawyers too). According to His Lordship, “Hard as it may be to accept, we feel it is less important to focus on whether this assessment is fair or not. The important thing is for us to transparently come to terms with the prevailing realities accept the gap in expectations, and do our utmost to bridge it”.

More Nigerians readily agree that many of our courts do not give justice I.e. they deliver judgments that do not give justice, waste a lot of time, are corrupt, are places where judicial power is easily abused and the poor oppressed. Many believe the judiciary does not protect the indigent, as the rights and interests of the citizens are no longer perceived to be a priority for the courts. Many believe the delays and increasing cost of litigation have cost the judiciary of its description as the “last hope of the common man”. Many will readily point at many things that are wrong with the justice delivery system while acknowledging their successes. Lawyers, judges, law enforcement officers and court staff are routinely blamed for these problems. The people lament the penchant of the legislature in amending the constitution and electoral laws to give pre-eminence to electoral matters at the expense of commercial disputes, human rights violation and criminal cases. There is therefore a huge gap between peoples’ view of the type of justice to expect in the country and what obtains in our very courts.

“More Nigerians readily agree that many of our courts do not give justice i.e. they deliver judgments that do not give justice, waste a lot of time, are corrupt”

The expectation of a justice delivery system that is efficient, effective, even-handed and cost-effective is not baseless, as the effectiveness or otherwise of the justice system of any social order and reflects the confidence the public has in it. It also shows the extent to which state and authorities are able to achieve regulative capability among the citizens. Sadly for Nigeria, the common man, the rich and the state do not have confidence in the justice system.

It is a commonly agreed position that Nigeria can only attain the much desired socio-economic and political development, stability and sustainability if it has an effective and efficient justice system. Such justice system will guarantee the maintenance of laws and regulation of the state, citizens behaviours and relations. Nigerians are groaning under the weight of depleted public revenue occasioned by profligacy, waste in governance, misplaced priority, terrorism and insecurity, lack of transparency in the management of public funds, corrupt practices, gross violation of human rights, prolonged detention without trial, disobedience of court orders, intimidation of judicial officers etc. Accordingly, Nigerians expect that the only thing that could guarantee them some degree of enjoyment of their fundamental rights as well as accountability in government is effective administration of justice. We hope that all of us will join hands to ensure we enjoy effective justice delivery in Nigeria.

This piece is not to suggest that the judiciary has not done well or acted in the overall best interest of Nigeria, but to show that more remains to be done. Indeed, the effects of interference, intimidation, insufficient funding /lack of financial autonomy among others on administration of justice are not lost on one. Intimidation and lawlessness by members of the executive especially law enforcement agencies abound. They show contempt to court orders when they are not in their favour or do not please them. The legislature is not left out in this trend.

The judiciary, in a democratic polity like Nigeria must be properly insulated from undue political pressures and the attendant political manipulation or executive interferences. Access to judges outside official channels has been one of the greatest problems that further threaten the independence of the judiciary in Nigeria.

We can get it right only if we choose. Right persons must be appointed as judicial officers. There should be an objective of assessing them without undue reliance on the number of judgments they deliver. They should be insulated from all forms of interference and intimidation. The Bar must of course be there to speak on their behalf when they cannot. The constitutionally enshrined financial autonomy must be respected. Lawyers have a pivotal role to play in all this.

#fortheloveoftheprofession #dedicatedtojustice
#lawyers
#nigerianbarassociation

MAZI AFAM OSIGWE, SAN
23/11/2022, Port Harcourt

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MAIKYAU VISITS MALAMI, VOWS OVERSIGHT OF JUDGES’ SALARY REVIEW

PRESS RELEASE

NBA-AGF EFFORTS YIELD RESULTS: RMFAC TO IMMEDIATELY IMPLEMENT ENHANCED PAY FOR JUDICIAL OFFICERS, CALLS FOR MEMORANDUM FROM THE NBA

The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN yesterday, 21 November, 2022 reiterated the approval of President Muhammad Buhari for the immediate implementation of enhanced salaries and allowances for Nigerian judicial officers. The Minister of Justice who had earlier announced the president’s approval at the commissioning of the Graham-Douglas campus of the Nigerian Law School in Port Harcourt last Friday, restated this during a courtesy call on him by the National Executive Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association(NBA) led by the NBA President, Yakubu Chonoko Maikyau, OON, SAN.

Recall that since the inception of the Maikyau-led administration of the NBA, the NBA has stepped up her campaign for the improvement in the welfare of Nigerian judicial officers. The NBA President had committed to working with the office of the Attorney General of the Federation to ensure that this is achieved immediately.

In his Inaugural Address on 26 August 2022, the NBA President laid down the marker for this mission when he decried the fact that “an action had to be filed in court to compel the government to look into and improve the welfare of Judges and Justices…” Also, while delivering his address at the annual legal year ceremony of the Court of Appeal on 12 September 2022, Mr. Maikyau stated that “one demonstrable way by which the Government will show sincerity in the bid to recover and develop this nation, is to deliberately invest in the welfare of Judges and Justices by strengthening the human capital within the justice sector and meeting all infrastructural needs of the judiciary.” Furthermore, the Mr Maikyau reiterated in his address at the valedictory court session held on 15 September 2022 at the Supreme Court in honour of Hon. Justice Abdu Aboki (retired) , the unequivocal commitment of the Bar “to support all efforts necessary to ensure that adequate measures are put in place to guarantee the welfare of judges and justices while in service and for their comfort upon retirement.”

This consistent campaign by the NBA leadership has evidently complemented the efforts of the office of Attorney General of the Federation. In his remark during the courtesy call, the NBA President lauded the AGF for his sense of service and disclosed that the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) has recently communicated to him that it has commenced the process of reviewing the remuneration of judicial office holders to reflect the present socio-economic realities in the country. The commission had accordingly requested a memorandum from the NBA in this respect.

The salaries of judicial officers have remained the same for over 14 years. This present review by RMFAC is the first since 2008 and it is not unconnected to the vigorous campaign by the Maikyau-led NBA. The NBA President emphasised that “the NBA would keenly monitor the ongoing process for the enhanced review of salaries of judicial officers while also ensuring that the judiciary remain accountable to the Nigerian people for whom justice is being dispensed by the courts.”

Akorede Habeeb Lawal
National Publicity Secretary

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BOSAN MOURNS, AS AKANBI IS BURIED TODAY

PRESS RELEASE

NOTICE OF DEMISE – PROF. MUHAMMED MUSTAPHA AKANBI, SAN

The BOSAN Secretariat sadly announces the demise of Professor Muhammed Mustapha Akanbi, SAN, who died yesterday, Sunday, 20th November, 2022.

Late Prof. Akanbi was born on the 24th of January 1971 (51 years), to the family of late Hon. Justice Muhammed Mustapha Adebayo Ajao Akanbi. He hails from the Ile Magaji Kemberi, Awodi, Gambari Quarters, Ilorin East, Kwara State.

He attended the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife where he obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in Law in 1993 and was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1995.

Prof. Akanbi served as a Legal Assistant in the Legal Unit of the Central Bank of Nigeria in Lagos. He practiced in the Law Firms of Wole Bamgbala & Co, Lagos, Olawoyin and Olawoyin, Lagos and Ayodele, ‘Gafar & Co, Ilorin between 1996 and 1998.

In 1998, Prof. Akanbi proceeded to the University of Lagos, Akoka where he bagged a Masters Degree in Law (LLM) and obtained a Doctorate Degree in Law (Ph.D.) from the King’s College, University, London in 2006.

In August 1998, Prof. Akanbi joined the service of University of Ilorin as the Lecturer 2 in the Department of Business Law at the University’s Faculty of Law. In his over two decades career period at the University Prof. Akanbi held several administrative positions, chief of which were; Sub-Dean, Head of Business Law Department, Postgraduate Representative, Senate Member, Dean of Law, Deputy Director of the Centre for Research Development and In-House Training (CREDIT) and Director, School of Preliminary Studies, Fufu Campus, University of Ilorin, he rose through the ranks and was appointed a Professor of Law in the Department of Business Law in October, 2012.

Prof. Akanbi also served as the Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association, Ilorin Branch between 2007 and 2009. He was elevated to the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria in 2018.

Prof. Akanbi has over 60 national and international publications in reputable peer reviewed Journals with a bias in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and Arbitration Law. Until his death, Late Akanbi was the Vice Chancellor, Kwara State University (KWASU).

He will be buried in Ilorin today, Monday, November 21, 2022 in his country home according to Islamic rites.

May the soul of Prof. Akanbi and the souls of our departed members Rest in Peace. Amen

Signed:

Mr. Olumide Sofowora, SAN
Secretary

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NBA AND CHALLENGE OF LAW SOCIETY OF NIGERIA

LSN : IS NBA’S MONOPOLY UNDER THREAT?

By Abdulrasheed Ibrahim

This is another interesting period for the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) as recently a group of lawyers released a press statement saying they have founded a new lawyer association to be known as Law Society of Nigeria (LSN) and rolled out the names of their protem National Executive. In their own very words in a letter said to have been sent to the Chairman of the Body of Benchers: “The Law Society of Nigeria (LSN) was founded and registered as a national organization of Lawyers admitted to practice law in Nigeria. The LSN, with membership , spread all over Nigeria, exists to empower the legal profession with quality member service (high standards of learning , competence , and profession conduct) ; facilitates access to justice , maintain and advance the cause of justice ;and promote the rule of law…”

What came to mind immediately I saw the press release was the nature of politics in Nigeria which I once referred to as a “big comedy” .When I said that, not many people particularly the lawyers took me very serious. In stating what was in my mind after reading the LSN’s press release, I said “This reminds me of the nPDP when some PDP politicians fell out with GEJ, they ran to APC but today most of them are back in the PDP trying to send APC packing. In the wake of NBA Vs. El-Rufai’s disinvitation to the NBA conference, some lawyers threatened to form NNBA .Is their threat now coming to reality? The other day when Chief Akintola SAN talked about some lawyers that don’t know the geography of the court, I saw the handwriting on the wall that there is every likelihood of split in the NBA but I kept quite because I don’t want to be tagged “a prophet of doom”. Now, who says a writer is not a soothsayer!”

In all honesty, I may not belong to the same school of thought with Chief Niyi Akinola (SAN), but I always admire him for one thing. He is a very bold and fearless lawyer that does not hide his feelings. Not many lawyers today know that Chief Akintola has been a lawyer activist as far back as 70s when as a young lawyer, he was involved in what has become to be known as ‘AKINTOLA AFFAIRS” in the history of conflict between the Bar and the Bench, when he had a brush with a prominent member of the bench that later led to the NBA’s emergency NEC meeting of 6th November 1971 where the NBA protested the conviction of its member who was lawfully discharging his duty as counsel to his client. You can read the details in my article titled: HAS THE FRATERNITY BETWEEN THE BAR AND THE BENCH GONE ON FLIGHT? That was just to illustrate how bold and fearless Chief Akintola has been. Sometime in 2020, Chief Akintola expressed the view that Nigerian lawyers were free to break away from the NBA which generated a lot of controversies among lawyers the same way his recent view generated controversies when he referred to a former NBA President as a “boy”. Is LSN heeding the call of the Learned Silk?

Although the LSN is yet to be directly linked to Chief Niyi Akintola SAN, but LSN has said that: “As a Society of lawyers in Nigeria, called to the Nigerian Bar under auspices of the Body of Benchers, the Law Society and its members are subject to the authority of the Body of Benchers and other regulatory organs as established by the Legal Practitioners Act. We commit ourselves to work with the Body of Benchers to ensure quality legal service delivery.” What is yet to be cleared as at the time of writing this is my article was whether the Body of Benchers under the Chairmanship of Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, CFR, a former NBA President has endorsed or approved the emergence of LSN. Chief Akintola is a closed ally of Chief Olanipekun. Already a new twist or crack has appeared on the wall of LSN as shortly after the press release by the LSN said to be presently under the leadership of Mr. Kunle Ogunba, SAN as its protem President, another Learned Silk , Prince (Dr.) Richard Oma Ahonaruogho came up with a disclaimer that as the promoter of the LSN and founding Secretary, there was no executive appointed for the LSN. Apart from this, there is also the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC)’s angle to it that it has denied the registration of the LSN on the ground that its objectives are similar to that of the NBA.

From what looks like the mission statement of LSN, its formation is not intended to be like those other lawyer associations that go the path of regional affiliation like the Eastern Bar Forum, Arewa Lawyers Forum and the Egbe Amofin Odu’a whose impacts are always felt during the NBA national elections. LSN is also not intended to go the path of religious affiliation like National Association of Catholic Lawyers; Christian Lawyers Fellowship Association of Nigeria and Muslim Lawyers Association of Nigeria. LSN neither intends to go the path of feminist affiliation like FIDA Nigeria or AWLA Nigeria but rather wants to be on the same pedestal with the NBA. How LSN seeks to achieve this is going to be very interesting.

There is no doubt that for decades the NBA has been enjoying the great monopoly of the Nigerian Bar with all the goodies that go with it, whether the LSN will be able to pose a threat to the NBA’s existence is the question to be answered by the passage of time. There is this argument that has been raging for a very long time and that is whether by the constitutional right to Freedom of Association donated to all Nigerians including the lawyers; can a lawyer decide not to be a member of the NBA and to be bound by its rules and regulations? From the current position of law in Nigeria today, the NBA has been conferred with the title of MONOPOLY OF THE BAR by virtue of some reported cases. For instance the Court of Appeal has held in the case of NBA Vs. KEHINDE (2017) 11 NWLR 225 (Pt. 1576) that :

“The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) was established for the purpose of regulating the affairs and conduct of all legal practitioners in Nigeria and upon being called to the Nigerian Bar, there is automatic membership to the NBA on a lawyer…Hence, as long as one has elected to join and remain within the noble profession, he is a member and ought to comply with the directive of the Association”

Prior the above decision, the same Court of Appeal held in the case of CHINWO Vs. OWHONDA (2008) 3 NWLR (Pt. 1074) at 341 that :

“The Appellant was not compelled to take up the profession of law and its attendant compulsory membership of the Nigerian Bar Association. However, once he made the choice to study and practice law and thereby placing his name on the roll of honour of belonging to the profession, he stands bound by the internal rules and regulations of the Association. There would be therefore be no issue of a breach of the Constitution of the country if the rules demand of him, undivided loyalty”

One of the brick walls that will be met and contended with by the LSN is what the Court of Appeal called UNDIVIDED LOYALTY to the NBA. Honestly and I want to be proved wrong, if we WERE to be in a military set up , those Protem National Executive would by now be facing court martial or military tribunal for planning a “coup” against the “military regime” of the NBA .

For those who may want to argue basically on the provisions of the fundamental rights under the constitution, let me go a bit further on the position of the Court of Appeal in the case of CHINWO Vs. OWHONDA (supra) per DONGBAN-MENSEM, JCA (as then was) :

“I have only a few words of mine to add in declaring that this appeal is without merit. In the exercise of their constitutional rights (Sections 39 & 40) of freedom of thought, etc, and of freedom of assembly and association, individuals elect to and do subscribe to membership in associations which sometimes curtail their rights. The Appellant, while exercising his right, joined an honourable profession of formidable societal influence and relevance which of necessity has rules and regulations to guide his professional conduct and which along the line curtails some of his choices. The Appellant was not compelled to take up the profession of law and its attendant compulsory membership of the Nigerian Bar Association. However, once he made the choice to study and practice law and thereby placing his name on the roll of honour of belonging to the profession, he stands bound by the internal rules and regulations of the association. There would therefore be no issue of breach of the constitution of the country if the rules demand of him, undivided loyalty.”

Within my restricted knowledge of law, I am not aware of any decision of the Supreme Court that has tempered with this position of law. Therefore, I can say without fear of any contradiction that the new Law Society of Nigeria (LSN) cannot swim in the same swimming pool with the NBA. But I must rightly point it out here that what prompted this kind of revolt by the LSN are often cause by the arrogance of the NBA leadership. NBA leadership very often behave tyrannically, may be basically because of its belief that it has the law on its side as seen from the above decisions of the Court of Appeal that whatever it is contained in its bye law cannot be challenged in the court of law forgetting that there are limits to every act of transgression.

NBA is a replica of what is going on in Nigeria whose leaders rather than addressing the problems on the ground would prefer to complicate it and embark on misplacement of priority. Most Nigerian leaders, the moment they get into power would become tourists travelling to different countries in the world which tourism at the end of the day add no value to the development of the country; rather than first travelling around the countries meeting with the Nigerians, listening to their plights as well as their needs and to give the assurance that the Federal Government is with them and will try as much as possible to attend to their yearnings. If this kind of attitudes have been cultivated by the Nigerian leaders from the past to the present most Nigerian peoples from different parts of the country will be very happy that their existences are being recognised by those steering the affairs of the country. The only time Nigerian leaders reach out to the people is when they need their elections, thereafter the President will sit down in the Aso Rock Villa giving directives rather than going to the scene of happening to see things for the purpose of assessment and necessary action, but unfortunately most time they behave as if Aso Rock Villa and Abuja are the only places they are meant to govern.

The emergence of LSN with its mission statement is a great indictment on the leadership of NBA, if the LSN is now talking about empowering “the legal profession with quality member service (high standards of learning, competence, and profession conduct); facilitates access to justice , maintain and advance the cause of justice ;and promote the rule of law…” , does that not mean that the NBA has failed in its primary responsibilities? Many lawyers are not happy with what is going on in NBA and that is why many of them are grumbling. Leadership self-centredness, unnecessary disqualification of candidates through some discriminatory provisions in the NBA constitution during elections and the winner take all syndromes are among the factors that are breeding discontent in the NBA.

The immediate past Akpata regime may have its lapses but at least he succeeded in bringing some far reaching reforms into the NBA. Forming a new bar association like Law Society of Nigeria (LSN) cannot be the solution to the problems on the ground, rather mutual engagement to a great extent will do the magic. Since NBA has already set up a Committee calling for memorandum from members on electoral reform and review of its constitution, I believe this is an opportunity for lawyers to make suggestions and recommendations on how the right things should be done. I have suggested somewhere else that the NBA should again look into the full democratization of the NEC membership through elections rather than through co-option. Certain percentage of NEC membership should be subject to elections to afford full participation of members of the NBA as this will create the high sense of being allowed to be part of the NBA system by many lawyers. When NBA Committees are being set up both members of the Inner and the Outer Bars must be considered to serve rather than pegging everything to the one side of the divides.

In the NBA elections, those that lose must be ready to accept defeat in the spirit of sportsmanship while those that win at the same time must be accommodating to those that lose rather than playing the game of arrogance and winner take all. Winning elections is not the only way members can contribute positively to the development of the NBA and the legal profession at large. We must continue to see ourselves as learned friends and colleagues rather than enemies. God bless the NBA and guide its leaders to be fair and just!

NOTE: Anyone is at liberty to disagree with my above submissions as I will surely appreciate a balanced, fair and objective rebuttal.

Ibrahim, a Notary Public, can be reached at abdulrasheedibrahim362@gmail.com

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NBA MEMBERSHIP MANDATORY FOR LAWYERS, SAYS COURT

A High Court sitting in Enugu State has ruled that membership of the NBA is mandatory for all legal practitioners and therefore automatic upon call to Bar and/or on commencement and/or continuance of the practice of the Legal profession in Nigeria.

The Court gave this decision in SUIT No. OB/27/2020: BEN OLOKO V. THE INCORPORATED TRUSTEES OF NIGERIA BAR ASSOCIATION DELIVERED ON FRIDAY, THE 29TH DAY OF JULY, 2022 BY HON. JUSTICE R. O. ODUGU, Enugu State High Court, Obollo-Afor Division.

In an originating summons, the Plaintiff claimed the following reliefs against the Defendant:
1. A declaration that the Nigerian Bar Association is not a compulsory association to which every legal practitioner becomes a member automatically upon call to the Bar or commencement and/or continuance of the practice of the legal profession in Nigeria; but a completely private and voluntary organization of legal practitioners, who are interested in the set objectives of the association and have exercised their free volition to join and or/participate in the activities of the association per time.

2. A declaration that the Nigerian Bar Association lacks the power to increase the Annual Practising Fee for legal practitioners in Nigeria, same being a function reserved for the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, hence the Annual Practising Fees remains as stipulated under the Legal Practitioners (Bar Practising Fees) Notice, 2002, viz: Senior Advocates of Nigeria (N20,000); Legal Practitioners of 15years or more standing post call (N10,000); Legal Practitioners of 10years or more standing but less than 15 years post call (N7500.00); Legal Practitioners of 5years or more standing but less than 10 years post call (N4, 000.00); Legal Practitioners of less than 5 years standing post call (N2,000. 00)

3. A declaration that the Nigerian Bar Association lacks the power to produce and/or issue stamp and seal to be used by all legal practitioners in Nigeria in a professed bid to curb the encroachment of quacks into the practice of the legal profession, same function having been conferred on the Registrar of the Supreme Court by statute.

4. An order of perpetual injunction restraining the Defendant either by itself or its agent(s) or servant(s) from imposing any form of structures and or/duties and//or obligations on the Plaintiff and indeed all other legal practitioners, who may opt not to belong to the Defendant’s association, (including payment of annual dues; mandatory acquisition and use of Nigeria Bar Association seal and stamp on processes and documents) tends in any way to constitute the Defendant as a general umpire, overseer and/or superintendent of all legal practitioners in their practice of the legal profession in Nigeria, including the Plaintiff and other legal practitioners, who may choose not to be members of the Defendant’s association.

The issues for determination as formulated by the Plaintiffs, and adopted and determined by the Court are as follows:

1. Whether the membership of the NBA is mandatory for all legal practitioners and therefore automatic upon call to Bar and/or on commencement and/or continuance of the practice of the Legal profession in Nigeria.

Resolution: This issue was resolved in favour of the NBA by the Court.

2. Whether the NBA has the power under the law to determine (increase or decrease) tax and/or collect Annual practicing fees for legal in Nigeria.

Resolution: This issue was resolved in favour of the Plaintiff. The Court held that the NBA has no business in the collection of practicing fees direct from Legal Practitioners in Nigeria because it has no lawful power to do so based on the Legal Practitioners Act which empowers the Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court to collect the practicing fees and disburse same in accordance with the law.

3. Whether the NBA has power and/or authority to produce seal and stamps that all legal practitioners, whether they belong to the NBA or not, must affix on processes they prepare for same to be cognizable under the law.

Resolution: This issue was declared to be no longer a life issue as same was withdrawn by the Plaintiff arising from the supervening action of the AG of the Federation which the Plaintiff acknowledged.

The issue of jurisdiction raised by Defendants was resolved in favour of the plaintiff as the Court held that it has the requisite jurisdiction to hear and determine the reliefs of the Plaintiff.

In conclusion, this judgment favours the NBA in that it is compulsory for every Lawyer called to the Nigerian Bar to become a member of the NBA. The NBA still has the power to increase or decrease tax/practicing fees. However, it cannot continue to engage in direct collection of the practicing fees of lawyers in Nigeria and has been restrained from doing so.

Appearances:
The Plaintiff in Person.

Ikeazor Akaraiwe, SAN with Ejikeme Oji, Esq. for Defendant

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NBA SPLITS, AS LAW SOCIETY OF NIGERIA EMERGES

Some Bar Leaders seem to have made good their threat to form a parallel lawyers’ association to assuage perceived wrongs within the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA).

This comes against the backdrop of the re-emergence of erstwhile Lawyers Society of Nigeria (LSN), originally registered by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) on 28th December, 1994.

With leading insolvency practitioner, Mr. Kunle Ogunba SAN as President, the new association has former NBA General Secretary, Hon. Nimi Walson-Jack as Vice President and Abdulqadir Alhaji Sani as Secretary.

A key promoter of the new association had told CITY LAWYER about a fortnight ago that there was no going back on the move, noting that accountants and other professionals have multiple unions to choose from.

He vowed that while LSN would not antagonize NBA, “it will aggressively pitch its programmes with lawyers and vigorously canvass membership.”

Meanwhile, the new body has written to the Body of Benchers intimating the Benchers of its existence.

CITY LAWYER recalls that a similar move to break the NBA on the heels of the 2020 NBA Elections was doused by the Olumide Akpata Administration.

The NBA leadership is yet to respond to the re-emergence of the lawyers’ association at press time.

A copy of the letter made available to CITY LAWYER reads:

LSN/BOB/C/2022/Vol. 1/001.

Monday, October 24, 2022

The Chairman,
The Body of Benchers, Plot 688,
Institute & Research District FCC, Phase 111,
Federal Capital Territory,
Abuja.

Attention: Mr. Daniel Tela
(Secretary, Body of Benchers)

Dear Sir,

LAW SOCIETY OF NIGERIA: NOTICE OF EXISTENCE AND NATIONAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE.

The pro tem National Executive Committee of the Law Society of Nigeria presents its compliments to the Chairman and distinguished members of the Body of Benchers as we write to formally notify our revered Body of Benchers of the existence of the Law Society of Nigeria, and its protem National Officers.
The Law Society of Nigeria (LSN) was founded and registered as a national organization of Lawyers admitted to practice law in Nigeria. The LSN, with membership, spread all over Nigeria, exists to empower the legal profession with quality member services (high standards of learning, competence, and professional conduct); facilitate access to justice; maintain and advance the cause of justice; and promote the rule of law, through advocacy and good governance. Please find attached a copy of the Certificate of Registration of the LSN by the Corporate Affairs Commission.

The following are protem National Officers of the Law Society of Nigeria:

a. Kunle Ogunba, SAN – President
b. Hon. Nimi Walson-Jack – Vice President
c. Abdulqadir Alhaji Sani – Secretary
d. Olasupo Ojo – Welfare Secretary
e. Chioma Ferguson – Treasurer
f. Douglas Ogbankwa – Publicity Secretary
g. Zara Umar Yakub – Financial Secretary
h. Alice Ogaku Awonugba – Assistant Secretary
i. Hassan Sherif – Assistant Publicity Secretary

As a Society of lawyers in Nigeria, called to the Nigerian Bar under the auspices of the Body of Benchers, the Law Society and its members are subject to the authority of the Body of Benchers and other regulatory organs as established by the Legal Practitioners Act. We commit ourselves to work with the Body of Benchers to ensure quality legal service delivery.

We would like to use this medium to express our appreciation and congratulate the Body of Benchers on the industry of the BOB and the remarkable progress you have made to strengthen the regulation of the Bar and the activities of our members. Of particular mention is the recent commissioning of the BOB Hall, which is a milestone in the history of both the BOB and the legal profession. In the same vein, the LSN heartily congratulates the Chairman of the Body of Benchers, Chief Oluwole Olanipekun, SAN, CFR as well as several other distinguished members of the Body of Benchers that were recently deservedly conferred with National Honours by his Excellency, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari GCFR.

May we also extend the warm felicitations of the LSN to this foremost august body whose advanced efforts at a harmonized Bill proposing reforms to the Legal Practitioners’ Act must be taken into cognizance and firmly applauded. It is on the verge of these uncommon and necessary reforms in our legal annals and the ageless egalitarian posture on freedom to lawfully associate, that the LSN also writes your distinguished body introducing herself.

We count on the Body of Benchers, as the sole statutory body responsible for the admission of persons to the legal profession in Nigeria, to provide a level playing field for all Lawyers in Nigeria, irrespective of the national organization we decide to operate in the exercise of our constitutional right to freely associate and assemble.

We use this opportunity to convey to Mr. Chairman and the distinguished members of the BOB, the warm assurances of our high consideration.

Thank you.

Yours faithfully,
PP: LAW SOCIETY OF NIGERIA

Kunle Ogunba, SAN.                                      Abdulqadir Alhaji Sani, Esq.
President                                                                  Secretary

The Law Society of Nigeria (LSN) promises to up the ante , in matters that have been ignored in the Legal Profession in Nigeria , prominent of which are premium on Members’ Welfare and an open and transparent system in choosing leaders of the Legal Profession at the National Level , which have been indicated by the New Association of Lawyers , as the fulcrum of their activities.

Already Members of the Legal Profession in Nigeria have been following the twitter handle of the Law Society of Nigeria (LSN) , @ lawsocietyofnig, in a frenzy that indicates the general acceptance of the new Professional Association of Lawyers called to the Nigerian Bar , that will take the Legal Profession in Nigeria , to greater heights in the new mellieu of an ever changing world.

Statement Issued by:

Douglas Ogbankwa Esq.,
Publicity Secretary ,
Law Society of Nigeria (LSN),
WhatsApp:08065193188, twitter:lawsocietyofnig

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* Alleged fake lawyer, Mr. David Adesanya aka "Davido"

CONVICTED FAKE LAWYER RESURFACES, RESTARTS ‘LAW PRACTICE’

There are concerns in legal circles that a convicted fake lawyer, one David Adesanya may have gone back to carrying on the illegal practice of law.

In a “Notice to Divorce” sighted by CITY LAWYER and dated 11th October, 2022 Adesanya had given one Mr. Seun Ayantunde, husband to Mrs. Omobake Ayantunde, “another 7 days to comply or apologise to your wife or if any complain (sic), the case of Divorce will take action and file (sic) to Court.”

Signed by “DAVID ADESANYA, ESQ” the letterhead also bore “DAVID ADESANYA ESQ.” with office address at Suite 26A, Omorilewa Office Complex, Iwo Road, Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria.

CITY LAWYER recalls that one David Adesanya aka Davido was arrested at the Magistrate Court 2, Iyaganku, Ibadan in March 2017 after announcing his appearance as a lawyer on a watching brief. He was reportedly nabbed by then Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association, Ibadan Branch and Chairman of its Anti-touting Committee, Mr. Adekola Kareem.

CITY LAWYER investigation showed that the branch began to beam its searchlight on “Davido” after one Akpan Osagie Hope, a detainee at Agodi Prisons, petitioned the branch on how Adesanya received “appearance” and sundry payments from him and allegedly fleeced his bank accounts without delivering the agreed ‘legal’ services.

When CITY LAWYER contacted Kareem, he stated that Adesanya was sentenced to three years imprisonment “with hard labour” for illegal practice of law, adding that he confessed in court that he never trained as a lawyer.

“He was arraigned in the same court where he had appeared to hold ‘watching brief.’ As a result, he had no room to maneuvre,” said Kareem. “He was unable to process bail and was tried speedily. He must have completed his prison term, given the prison calendar.”

CITY LAWYER gathered that Adesanya was sentenced by Magistrate F. Richards (now deceased), and was originally attached to one Mr. Attach, a lawyer, as a Litigation Clerk.

There has been heightened concern in legal circles that the legal market is increasingly shrinking due to the unchecked activities of quacks and liberalisation of the market by regulatory agencies.

Adesanya could not be reached for comments at press time.

Below is the full text of Akpan’s petition.

The Chairman,
Nigeria Bar Association
Ibadan Branch.

Dear sir,

Criminal Breach of Trust and stealing

Greetings to you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
I came to draw your attention over the professional misconduct, breach of trust, stealing and abuse of office of Barr. David ADESANYA aka DAVIDO.

Sir, I came to court on the 15th of March, 2017. My bail was cut short by my surety and I was approached by Barr David for his service. I was charged N35,000.00 as legal fees and appearance. I gave him the cash instantly inside the courtroom. And he further demanded another money for surety to be produced. Nothing was done by him before I was remanded in prison at Agodi, Ibadan. He came to the prison and demanded for money which he told me was N50,000. He signed for the collection of my 5 ATM cards with (Access Bank, Zenith Bank, First Bank, Skye Bank and GT Bank) and my mobile phone with balance of N1,800 on my mobile line. I gave him the pin to my Access Bank account (0040235646) which I told him to withdraw the sum of N55,000 only, that he should bring the additional N5000 to me at Agodi prison, Ibadan for my upkeep and feeding which he did not. I gave him my phone to contact Mr. Muhammed to hand over my properties, so Mr. Mohammed can help me contact my family and friends as I do not have anybody close at Ibadan. He used my mobile phone for his own purpose by contacting (08071584034, 09057588552,09061143316, ) and many more. He used my mobile balance to N0.22k. He further demanded N30,000 from my elder brother that the given amount with him could not perfect my bail condition, while I was still at Agodi Prison, Ibadan. From the 16th of March Barr David Adesoyan performed various debit transaction on my account unknowingly to me and reduced my Access balance to N528. The total balance on my Access Bank Account 0040235646 as at when I handed the ATM card to him was N175,185 and from my account statement a family friend sent me N37,500 in two different days 16th and 17th of March 2017= #75000, totaling my new account balance to N250,185. He later went ahead and withdrew N3000 from my Zenith Bank on the 25th of March 2017 at Mokola Branch ATM, which I never authorised him to use. I spent 12 days at Agodi prison, Ibadan because of this dubious act he carried out on my accounts. I attach the statement of my Zenith and Access Bank accounts which shows all my transaction history until 27th March 2017 when I was released from Agodi prison, Ibadan. At the time of this writing Barr David Adesonyan is still in possession of my ATM cards.

Yours faithfully,
Akpan Osagie Hope
07037853865

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NBA SEEKS COMMENTS ON CCA PRESIDENTIAL ASPIRANTS

PRESS RELEASE

NOTICE OF APPOINTMENT OF PRESIDENT, CUSTOMARY COURT OF APPEAL OF THE FCT: REQUEST FOR COMMENTS

Distinguished Colleagues,

Kindly find attached the statement of the President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Mr. Yakubu Chonoko Maikyau, OON, SAN requesting for comments of members on the suitability for appointment as President, Customary Court of Appeal of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja the following judges:

i. Hon. Justice Stanley Adekunle Lawal;

ii. Hon. Justice (Dr) Ngozika Uwazunrunonye Okaisabor and;

iii. Hon. Justice Istifanus Gandu.

Further attached for your consideration is a short profile of the judges.

Thanks and have a great day.

Akorede Habeeb Lawal
National Publicity Secretary

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OGUNWUMIJU, IBIDAPO-OBE, OTHERS FOR NBA LAW AND RELIGION CONFAB OCT. 31

Supreme Court jurist, Justice Helen Ogunwumiju and former Dean of Law, University of Lagos, Prof. Ibidapo-Obe are among the top jurists billed to speak at the 2022 ACLARS/WARCLARS CLE conference on Law and Religion.

The conference is organized by the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Lagos and Ikeja Branches in collaboration with the West African Regional Centre for Law and Religion Studies (WARCLARS), Nigeria; African Consortium for Law and Religion Studies (ACLARS), South Africa, and International Centre for Law and Religion Studies (ICLRS), USA.

Billed to hold at the J. F. Ade Ajayi Auditorium, University of Lagos on October 31 and November 1, 2022, the conference has as its theme, “Law and religion: The role of the state.”

Among the 13-member faculty of international scholars are Prof. Ayodele Atsenuwa, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Development Services), University of Lagos; Prof. Wahab Egbewole SAN, Vice-Chancellor, University of Ilorin; Prof. Rosalind Hackett (USA); Prof. David Moore (USA); Prof. Mark Hill, Kings Counsel; Prof. Kofi Quashigah (Ghana); Prof. Adeniyi Olatunbosun, Vice-Chancellor, Kola Daisi University; Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi (UNILAG); Dr. Habibat Oladosu-Uthman (Dept. of Religion, University of Ibadan).

To register for the in-person conference, click on https://www.aclars.org/2022-aclars-warclars-cle-program-registration/ to complete the form by October 30, 2022. Registered conferees will qualify for course materials, certificate and souvenir.

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FLOODS: NBA TO OFFER PALLIATIVES TO AFFECETD LAWYERS

                                                                                                   PRESS RELEASE

NBA TO INTERVENE IN FLOOD DISASTER

The President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Yakubu Chonoko Maikyau, SAN, OON has sympathised with Nigerians and members of the NBA who were affected by floods in numerous towns and villages of Nigeria.

In a letter dated 24th October 2022 addressed to the chairmen of the 125 branches of the NBA, Mr Mr Maikyau SAN OON acknowledged that many Nigerians, including lawyers have been affected by the floods and directed the chairmen of the 125 branches to compile the list of NBA members directly affected by the flood so that NBA can offer some help and bring succour to them and their families.

In his words, “Nothing will ever replace the lives that have been lost, but we can help by joining hands with the relevant authorities to see that some form of material aid is made to alleviate the sufferings of the people, most especially our colleagues.”

As the government, aid agencies and well-meaning Nigerians continue to find ways to bring relief to affected persons, the NBA calls on the relevant authorities to look into the planning of all Nigerian towns and cities with a view to creating or implementing the plan for natural waterways which serve as precautionary measures against flooding. We also implore all Nigerians to keep following the weather updates and flood alerts published by NEMA and other agencies while ensuring compliance with recommended safety precautions provided therein.

Akorede Habeeb Lawal
National Publicity Secretary, NBA

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‘NIGERIAN JUDICIARY IS NOT CORRUPT,’ SAYS MAIKYAU

PRESS RELEASE

NBA PRESIDENT DECRIES THE NARRATIVE THAT THE NIGERIAN JUDICIARY IS CORRUPT, URGES IMPROVED WELFARE OF JUDICIAL OFFICERS

The President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Mr. Yakubu Chonoko Maikyau SAN OON has declared that the Nigerian judiciary is not corrupt and that the legal profession in Nigeria cannot be compromised. In his address at the valedictory court session held on 20th October, 2022 in honour of Hon. Justice Mojeed Adekunle Owoade, retired Justice of the Court of Appeal at the Court of Appeal, Ibadan, the NBA President decried the narratives that Nigerian judges are corrupt and can be compromised.

In his words, “The fact that there may be some bad eggs amongst us, and this I say for both the Bench and the Bar, does not justify the characterization of the entire judiciary and the legal profession as generally corrupt. The judiciary and indeed the legal profession in Nigeria consist of distinguished men and women that have worked and are still working honestly, sincerely and with integrity to contribute their quota to the development of this nation.”

He also stated that, “the fact that the toe in a body has turned gangrenous does not make the entire body rotten. And if the toe is so infected, the way to save the body is to amputate the toe. That is what we must do as members of the legal profession; either on the Bench or Bar and we must speak loudly to the nation about who we truly are, to correct that negative perception. If we do not do so, it will be an abdication of duty on our part, and if we completely lose the confidence of the public, resort to self-help and the attendant chaos will be inevitable. We must break the silence!”

While acknowledging that the challenges faced in the system of administration of justice in Nigeria include the issue of manpower at the Bench, the NBA President also urged for better Conditions of Service for judicial officers.

Mr. Maikyau described Hon. Justice Owoade (rtd) as one of the numerous examples of integrity, honesty and excellence in the legal profession and congratulated the jurist on the excellent service record and glorious exit from the Bench.

Akorede Habeeb Lawal
National Publicity Secretary

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AKPATA CLOCKS 50, WEDS HEARTTHROB IN FAR-AWAY MAURITIUS (EXCLUSIVE PHOTOS)

The immediate past Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) President, Mr. Olumide Akpata is 50 years today. This is coming exactly five days after the senior corporate lawyer wed his heartthrob, Osayamon Michelle May Ogbebor at a lavish and exclusive nuptial on the beautiful island of Belle Mare in Mauritius.

The wedding was held at the Trou D’Eau Douce Catholic Church while the A-List guests were feted at the luxurious Longbeach Resort.

Akpata was born on 7 October, 1972. He had his early education in Warri, Delta State and thereafter attended King’s College, Lagos from where he proceeded to study Law at the University of Benin (UNIBEN). He graduated from UNIBEN in 1992, and was admitted to the Nigerian Bar on 15 December, 1993.

After his National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) in Kano State, he joined the law firm of Dr. Mudiaga Odje & Co. in Warri, Delta State where cut his teeth in legal practice under the tutelage of the late sage, Dr. Mudiaga Odje, SAN, OFR, who he describes as “the most seasoned litigator of his time.”

In 1996, he relocated to Lagos and teamed up with his cousin, Oghogho Akpata, who had in 1995 set up the law firm, TEMPLARS, after honing his skills in the firm of F. O. Akinrele & Co. under the leadership of the legendary Chief Frank Odunayo Akinrele, SAN.

In his words, “From 1996 to date (2020), I have worked with Oghogho, and our colleagues at Templars, in building and sustaining a world class, multi-sectoral and full-service law firm which is now in the 25th year of its existence and consists of over 100 fee-earners, including two Senior Advocates of Nigeria.”

Prior to ascending the coveted NBA Presidency, Akpata was the Senior Partner and Head of Corporate & Commercial Practice Group of TEMPLARS. The Group comprises Mergers & Acquisitions; Capital Markets; Corporate Law; Labour & Employment; Immigration; Telecommunications, Media, Entertainment and Technology; and Regulatory Compliance.

As a measure of his expansive scope, he notes that “in my over two decades at Templars, I have practised across the diverse areas in which we operate, and I have been privileged to lead or participate in some of the major groundbreaking transactions that have shaped commercial law practice in Nigeria and indeed the Nigerian economy.”

Reputed as a consummate Bar-man, Akpata began participating in NBA activities as a member of the NBA Warri Branch upon joining the law firm of Dr. Mudiaga Odje & Co. Upon relocating to Lagos in 1996, he joined NBA Lagos Branch.

He was a foundation member of the NBA Section on Business Law, and worked closely with the pioneer Chairman of the Section, Mr. George Etomi, and his team to operationalise the Section after its inauguration in December 2004 by then NBA President, Chief Bayo Ojo, SAN.

His words: “I was also a member of the Planning Committee which organised the very first NBA-SBL Conference that was held in Abuja in March 2006 and which proved to be a transformational conference that set the NBA-SBL on its current trajectory.

In his 2020 NBA Manifesto, he stated that “My active participation in the NBA-SBL led to my election, in January 2012, as Secretary of the NBA-SBL Council. I was subsequently elected as Vice-Chairman in August 2014 and then as Chairman in August 2016, after which I handed over to the current Chairman, Seni Adio, SAN, in August 2018 albeit I remain a member of the Council. My two-year tenure as Chairman of the NBA-SBL was eventful and impactful.”

Akpata sits in non-executive capacity on the Boards of a number of private companies, some of which he chairs. He is a member of several think-tanks, including the Nigeria Economic Summit Group (NESG) and the United Nations Nigerian Humanitarian Fund (UN-NHF), of which he was a pioneer member.

Increasingly popular for his trademark dance steps, Akpata describes himself as “a gregarious person and when I am not advising on a transaction or attending a client meeting, I love to be in the company of my friends and family or attending social events. I also love travelling and reading the biographies of distinguished personalities. I am a devout Christian and a member of the Redeemed Christian Church of God.”

His tenure as NBA President was reckoned as one of the most proactive in tackling human rights and rule of law issues that confronted the Nigerian Bar as well as in pushing the frontiers of welfarism at the Bar.

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COURT OF APPEAL SET TO APPOINT 16 NEW JUSTICES

PRESS RELEASE

RE:APPOINTMENT OF 16 JUSTICES FOR THE COURT OF APPEAL: CALL FOR EXPRESSIONS OF INTEREST

Distinguished Colleagues,

Kindly find attached the Notice by the NBA President calling for expression of interest by our qualified members to the Bench of the Court of Appeal.

Thank you and do have a great night.

Akorede Habeeb Lawal
National Publicity Secretary

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NBA ELECTORAL REFORM C’TE SETS DEADLINE FOR MEMORANDA

PRESS RELEASE

Distinguished Colleagues,

ELECTORAL REFORM COMMITTEE – CALL FOR MEMORANDA

You will recall that the President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Yakubu Maikyau, SAN in a bid to further improve electoral practices in the NBA, had earlier constituted the NBA
Electoral Reform Committee.

In furtherance of its mandates, the Electoral Reform Committee of the NBA hereby calls for Memoranda from NBA Branches (through their chairmen), members of the NBA, stakeholders and interest groups in the legal profession.

Memoranda to be submitted should focus on the underlisted matters and any other matters connected thereto, namely:

1. Identify forms and avenues for incurring excessive expenditure by Aspirants/Candidates in NBA elections;

2. Identify unethical and unprofessional electoral practices by Aspirants/Candidates and members of the Bar during electioneering campaigns;

3. Make suggestions/recommendations on ways and means of eradicating excessive expenditure, inducements and/or other unwholesome practices during NBA electioneering campaigns;

4. Make any further representations relevant to the terms of reference (TOR) of this Committee.

Memoranda should be concise and straight to the point, in 14-point font size format with double line spacing and a maximum of five (5) pages.

All Memoranda should be addressed to the Secretary of the committee and submitted only by e-mail to: electoralreform22@nigerianbar.org.ng within 14 days from the date of this publication.

Members are encouraged to participate actively and support the committee in this all important task.

Best regards,
Charles Olawale Ajiboye, FICMC, FCAI, ACIS
National Assistant Publicity Secretary

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ODUAH WAS INCOMPETENT, LABELLED AKPATA AS ‘WICKED,’ SAYS FORMER AIDE

Mr. Ndifreke Aquaisua, a lawyer and former Executive Assistant to the immediate past Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) General Secretary, Mrs. Joyce Oduah, has described his former boss as high-handed and “schizophrenic,” saying she also called immediate past NBA President, Mr. Olumide Akpata “a wicked person.”

In a response to Oduah’s letter to NBA President, Mr. Yakubu Maikyau SAN which was made available to CITY LAWYER, Aquaisua said Oduah’s letter was a “potpourri of lies,” even as he said that “I had to resign having gotten fed up with her high-handedness, over bloated ego, schizophrenic nature of believing that everybody at the Secretariat is after her life.”

Below is the full text of his rebuttal.

Facts Are Sacred: Ndifreke Aquaisua Esq. Reacts To Allegations Levelled Against Him By Former General Secretary Of NBA, Mrs. Joyce Oduah (Part 1)

It is surprising and laughable that it took the former suspended General Secretary of NBA, Mrs. Joyce Oduah more than one month to react to facts contained in my Affidavit of Facts. Obviously, she needed time to concoct her potpourri of lies.

I did not want to join issues with the former suspended General Secretary based on advice and plea from friends, senior and junior colleagues I hold in high respect.

However, since the sacked General Secretary has decided to embark on a macabre dance in the market square, I am left with no other option than to set the records straight because facts are sacred and must not be skewed for personal gains.

My meeting Mrs. Oduah was facilitated by Sammy Etuk, Esq., a senior colleague I hold in high esteem at SPIDEL Conference in Aba, Abia state in 2019, who was able to convince me to work with him and others to ensure she emerged the second female General Secretary of NBA.

Within the period of her campaign, I acted as her media assistant by writing and syndicating materials to market her candidature at no cost or pecuniary interest.

That within the period of working with her, just like others, I noticed her over bloated ego, penchant for branding her opponents and anybody not in support of her ambition as diabolic and after her life.

That because Mrs. Oduah by birth is from my State of origin (Akwa Ibom) and the need to avoid being branded a person who works against the interest of people from my State, I stomached her excesses to ensure that we worked to actualize her victory at the polls.

After her victory at the polls, I was invited to work with her as an Executive Assistant, an offer I refused, I rejected at first, because of her erratic and cantercorous (sic) nature, but was prevailed upon to join her.

My first day as the Executive Assistant to Mrs. Oduah started with a lengthy briefing, where she told me that everyone in the Secretariat hated her and are diabolically trying to harm her. She mentioned some of her colleagues in the Exco as people targeting her downfall and ended up warning me not to talk or mix with any person at the NBA Secretariat.

The allegation that Mrs. Oduah physically assaulted me is true, this is evident in her admission that the only physical contact she had with Mr. Aquaisua was “a tap on his left shoulder to get his attention”. Her attempt to misrepresent facts as to her assault of my person falls flat on its face because she did not need to attract my attention when we were talking.

Her grouse with me was basically because Mrs. Kemi Beatrice (Head of Branding Department), an innocent lady she claims is also after her life offered me a lift at about 10:30pm which I ordinarily accepted her kind gesture as Mrs. Oduah never gave a hoot about how I go back to my residence when I close late at night.

On the issue of application letter, Mrs. Oduah instructed me to draft an application letter and backdate it to August, 2020 and that the said application letter should reflect “General Secretary-Elect”. I did exactly as she instructed me and the said application letter was forwarded to the President.

Immediately the President received the application letter, he drew her attention that the letter was not properly addressed as it should have been addressed to the President and not to the General Secretary or General Secretary-Elect as she asked me to address.

If in her words, I was not competent, then she herself was not also competent for failing to decern (sic) that the letter was not properly “written” and transmitting same to the President. Infact, the allegation is not only baseless but a futile attempt to give a dog a bad name to hang it.

The same incompetent Ndifreke Aquaisua is the person who prepared most of the media materials Mrs. Oduah used during her campaign and filed a good percentage of the reports from her office for the five months I worked with her and when I left she could not do it herself to the extent that it took the then Publicity Secretary, Dr. Rapuluchukwu and other members of the Exco to perform her statutory duties to cover the shame her incompetence would have brought to the Exco members who actually acted in good faith to protect the collective integrity of the Exco and shield Mrs. Oduah’s ineptitude as General Secretary.

On the baseless allegation of my acting Oliver Twist, I must state that this is a lie from the pit of hell as my salary and other emoluments as a staff of the Secretariat of our noble association was fixed and could not be influenced or changed by an individual so it is highly preposterous to give the impression that I wanted Mrs. Oduah to change or give anything outside what was stipulated in my letter of appointment. She lacked such powers to do so. I did not take Mrs. Oduah as family because she did not treat me same.

The only time I went to her home was during her thanksgiving service in Lagos which she gave me a bus fare to Lagos and caused me to sleep on mat in her sitting room throughout my period of stay in Lagos and turned me to a domestic help. A duty I carried out as a result of the respect of the office she occupies in our noble association.

Mrs. Oduah infact turned me to an errand boy who must carry her handbag, helped her put on her shoes and drive her around in my car when she visits Uyo on official assignments at my expense. Without sounding immodest, I am from a very comfortable home, owners of one the foremost and oldest higher institution in Akwa Ibom State but by our training, we are taught to be humble, modest and respectful.

So my working with Mrs. Oduah as Executive Assistant was not about the money because she could not afford to pay me, as when I resumed, I flew into Abuja and stayed in hotel for two weeks without a dime from Mrs. Oduah or my employers and got a place to live without any contribution from her.

I had to resign having gotten fed up with her high-handedness, over bloated ego, schizophrenic nature of believing that everybody at the Secretariat is after her life and I could not mix with my colleagues freely for fear of harassment by Mrs. Oduah who believed I will be used to get at her.

In January, 2021 after the Christmas vacation, I was ill and reached out to the head of Administration and Finance, Salamatu Sidi, Esq. and told her I was ill and will not be able to resume immediately, she advised me to take my health seriously and see a medical doctor and rest as well till I get fit to resume.

When I reported my poor state of health to Mrs. Oduah, she rained fire and brimstone on me, calling me unprintable names and even cursing me as a lazy and pretentious bone. She even went to the extent of putting a call across to my referee, Sammy Etuk, Esq. to ask me to report immediately or face her wrath.

I could not take it anymore, after my treatment, immediately I arrived Abuja, I tendered my resignation letter addressed to the President, then forwarded a copy to her through WhatsApp. Immediately she got it, she queried me why I had to address it to the President instead of her, that I should go and withdraw it and address it to her and also wait for her to come back as the President, Mr. Olumide Akpata being a wicked person will not accept my resignation. This to me was a cheap lie, blackmail and a ploy to frustrate my resignation and I was not ready for that.

Mrs. Oduah put a call across to senior lawyers I respect in my home State to prevail on me to withdraw my letter of resignation. For once, I chose to disobey them.

I have chosen to make this comment to set the records straight and clear my name.

To be continued…

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NBA BLASTS EFCC FOR INVASION OF JUDGE’S HOME, WANTS OPERATIVES PUNISHED

The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has strongly condemned invasion of the home of Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeal, Kano Division, Justice Ita Mbaba by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

In a statement made available to CITY LAWYER and personally signed by NBA President, Mr. Yakubu Maikyau SAN, the association demanded an apology from the anti-graft agency and punishment for the operatives that carried out the invasion.

According to the statement, “The NBA strongly condemns the intrusion of the residence of His Lordship; it is unwarranted and completely unacceptable. Whilst we do not in any way, oppose and will not stand in the way of the EFCC or any other law enforcement agency in the discharge of its statutory duties, the NBA will lawfully resist any attempt to harass, intimidate or in any way bully our Judges and Justices.

“The timing and manner of the “Property Verification Exercise” leaves much to be desired, to say the least. Such verification could have been done without armed operatives, at a more appropriate time of the day and through a civil process. We are a Country of laws and regulations, and we must show regard for the Rule of Law and due process.

“I therefore call on the EFCC to not only take appropriate disciplinary actions against the concerned officers, but also issue a public apology to His Lordship, the Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeal, Kano Division and the entire judiciary. The NBA will monitor the observance of these demands.”

CITY LAWYER had reported that EFCC operatives stormed the residence of the jurist early today, raising concerns about his safety.

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EROJIKWE, TCCP CHAIR’S DAD, BEGINS HOMEWARD JOURNEY TODAY

The funeral rites for Chief Edwin Ekemezie Erojikwe, the late father of the Chairman of Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Technical Committee on Conference Planning (TCCP) 2022, Mr. Tobenna Erojikwe, will commence today with a Vigil Mass at his Uruagu Nnewi home. Time is 5 pm.

The rites will climax tomorrow, Thursday, September 22, 2022 with a Funeral Mass at St. John of the Cross Catholic Church, Egbo, Uruagu, Nnewi. Interment follows at his compound.

Chief Erojikwe died 5 days after he turned 86. He is reputed as an academic technologist and research scientist “who had a remarkable career working in many notable establishments including the Veterinary Research Institute in Vom, Plateau State; Public Health Laboratory Luton, England; Institute of Veterinary Medicine, Berlin, West Germany, and the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN).

“Chief Edwin Erojikwe was a prolific researcher whose scholarly works in Veterinary Medicine are extensively published in notable international journals. For four years, he served as Chairman of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), UNN Branch. Following his retirement from the University of Nigeria after an illustrious career that saw him serve in most of the University boards including the UNN Community Bank, he continued in private consultancy until March this year.

“Edwin Ekemezie Erojikwe was an extraordinary man who impacted many lives through his philanthropy and his investment in people principles.”

He is survived by his wife, Chief (Mrs.) Ebele Erojikwe, former Principal, University (of Nigeria) Secondary School, Nsukka and several children who have distinguished themselves in different fields of endeavour.

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USORO, ETOMI, IKWUAZOM, YAHYA MAKE NBA C’TES LIST

The President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr. Yakubu Maikyau SAN has constituted some committees to tackle issues ranging from electoral reform and law firm mentorship to lawyers’ employment and remuneration.

A statement made available to CITY LAWYER indicated that the setting up of the committees is in fulfillment Maikyau’s promise “to improve and effectively reform the NBA’s electoral process and to prioritize the welfare and professional development of members of the NBA.”

Below is the full text of the statement.

CONSTITUTION OF COMMITTEES

Distinguished Colleagues,

In fulfillment of the promise of the NBA President, Mr. Yakubu Chonoko Maikyau, SAN in his Inaugural Address to improve and effectively reform the NBA’s electoral process and to prioritize the welfare and professional development of members of the NBA, the President has constituted four committees comprising distinguished members of the legal profession. The Committees are:

1. NBA Electoral Reform Committee – which has a mandate to drive effective and lasting reforms in the NBA electoral process and to eliminate the rigours and unsustainable practices that have come to define our electioneering campaigns;

2. NBA Law Firm and Institutional Mentorship Committee – which is set up to design mentorship programmes that will aid the professional development of members of the profession, between 1 to 7 years post-call;

3. NBA Employment Bureau (or the NBA Employment Committee) – this Committee is constituted to lead the charge in interfacing with governmental and private establishments for the purpose of securing job placements for our members; and

4. NBA Remuneration Committee – this Committee is established to drive the implementation of NBA Remuneration (White paper) Committee as accepted by the National Executive Council in its meeting of 9th June, 2022 held in Ilorin, Kwara State.

The names of members of these four committees and the committees’ terms of reference are attached to this notice. These appointments are subject to ratification by the National Executive Council (NEC), however, the Committees are expected to immediately commence work.

The Nigerian Bar Association thanks these distinguished members for accepting to serve on these Committees.

Thank you and do have a great weekend.

Akorede Habeeb Lawal
National Publicity Secretary, NBA

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‘THE TASK BEFORE MAIKYAU,’ BY JIBRIN OKUTEPA

  • MAIKYAU REGIME MUST HIT THE GROUND RUNNING

In the just concluded Nigerian Bar Association NBA annual conference many ugly incidents happened. The outgone NBA president Mr Olumide Akpata publicly acknowledged that some lawyers stole conference bags and other items.

To me this was ridiculous and a shame. When I decided to read law and by the grace of God I became a lawyer, I read and I was fascinated by the premium the legal profession placed on honestly, integrity and candour. Members of the legal profession were looked upon as the beacons of hope for humanity and the society at large.

In the just concluded conference of NBA lawyers again at different sessions or fora engaged in our usual talk show that really produce nothing concrete. I have consistently spoken my mind on the hypocrisy in us as lawyers. On this day 28th August 2020 this is what I wrote on the annual gathering of lawyers at our AGC: “Talk is cheap. In the on going virtual AGC of NBA, NBA is again engaging in cheap talks. Even some of those whose conducts are responsible for grave injustice we suffered in the profession and in this country are at the virtual conference pontificating as angels. Some of these personalities reel out beautifully couched statements and principles of law that they hardly give effect to when the opportunities present itself to them in their respective capabilities.

I think the greatest enemies of Nigerians in getting justice in our courts or even getting political and economic justice are members of the legal profession.

I say this because when you look at the three arms of Government, it is the legal profession that has one arm of government exclusively devoted to its members.

In addition the legal profession is an ancient profession of considerable antiquity with code of ethics which bind its members either on the bench or at the Bar.

“Evidence abound of open desecration of the ethics of the legal profession which has been condoned without sanctions.”

Most archaic and legal jargon that has constituted complete road blocks to attainments of justice are propounded and pronounced upon by members of the legal profession. Principles of law that have denied Nigerians electorate justice in Nigeria are set by members of the legal profession. The duties to pronounce sanctions and apply them have been donated to the legal profession. This is because execution is part of the compendium of judicial powers under section 6(6) of the 1999 constitution as amended.

The legal profession is by my understanding, a profession of light and profession that can be used and should be used as instrument of social engineering.

What we see in Nigeria appears that the legal profession has conspired with itself to deny Nigerian society justice. We seem to enjoy and elevate technical justice far and above substantial justice. We seem to enjoy more of jurisdictional jurisprudence compared to attaining substantial justice. In most judgment, you can see injustice permeating the reasoning for judgement.

Until the legal profession retrace it’s steps and give justice to Nigerians, whatever talk show in the gathering of members of the legal profession will be nothing but legal jamboree devoid of any utilitarian value to Nigerian people. Nigerians are tired of annual gathering of talks of the legal profession without practical achievements. The conduct of members of the legal profession must be above board before the legal profession can rightly take the leading role reserved for it in the Nigerian society”.

For me the legal profession is the enemy of itself. I have always held this view and I still hold it today.

On 28th August 2019 I wrote that on the point that the legal profession is the enemy of itself. This is what i said : “The legal profession is the enemy of itself. Until the legal profession stops acting in sabotage of its own or itself nobody will take us serious. Political class will do everything to subvert the will of the people if we as members of the legal profession, decide to promote technicalities, and decide not to come to the aid of the people or the will of the people.

Nigerians no longer fear law either as made by law makers or as interpreted by the courts because the courts themselves have chosen to accommodate wrong doers under technicalities and all other legal gymnastics that is completely devoid of real justice.

While I believe the the right to fair hearing is worth respecting and protected, violators of the rights of other persons or the vast majority of the people should be denied judicial protection while still in contempt, if the awe with which laws and orders of court are meant to be held is to be restored and respected by all and sundry.

When I reflect on the going on in Nigeria where people deliberately violate laws and court orders and dare you to go to court or where those who disobeyed court orders return to the same court or other courts to seek remedies and taunt you and they are accommodated and accorded protection, I feel terribly demoralised about our tremendous prosperity to stomach wrongs.

Honestly we are heading to anarchy and chaos if we do not retrace our steps in the legal profession and do what is right.

I see people may soon decide not to have respect and faith in our legal system unless we do something that gives the people hope that they can get justice in our courts and enjoy its fruits thereof in their life time. The future of the legal profession looks very bleak to me given the way we are going”.

As one of my learned friends Mercy Elisha Njila Esq put it: “The future really looks bleak. Most worrisome is the vile behavior amongst colleagues Moral decadence. Have you all notice how colleagues disrespect themselves, the rule of law and also aid clients to do same. Learned Friends must learn to go back to what our profession was. The very essence of it, the same that endeared people like me to study law. It’s really sad but it’s true. It is a collective conscious act if we must avoid the bleak and gloomy days that lurks ahead in our Profession”

The task before us all is very heavy indeed. The legal profession needs to be restored back to its lost and enviable glory of the past. The Y C Maikyau SAN led NBA leadership has the burden duty to hit the ground running in this regards. Both the old and young members of the lega profession must come together to restore the profession back to light.

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MIDWEST BAR FORUM HAILS AKPATA, OTHERS ON TENURE

Goodwill Message of the Chairman of the Midwest Bar Forum -Chief G. C. Igbokwe SAN, FCIArb UK , Heralding the Commencement of the 2022-2023 New Legal

Good day our Noble Leaders , learned Senior advocates and my Learned Friends. Happy new legal year to you all.

As we have come back from our various vacation trips within and outside the country, I thank God almighty for His journey mercies, grace upon us and pray that He fortifies us with the strength and wisdom to face the challenges of the new legal year.

Last year was a mixture of sorrow and joy , but in all things we give glory to God. We congratulate our great ambassadors to the National Bar, in the persons of Olumide Akpata , Aipokpo-Martins and Kunle Edun who performed their duties creditably as President, 1st Vice President and Welfare Secretary respectively and for their smooth transition to a new National Executive Council (hereinafter called “Exco”). Despite a few distractions at the twilight of their tenure, posterity will remember as one of the best National Excos in the recent past and we remain ever proud of them.

We also congratulate our own Habeeb Lawal who won the National Publicity Secretary election and has resumed office with the new Exco. We also congratulate the new National Exco and pray that God almighty gives them the wisdom to improve upon the legacies of their predecessors .

On a sad note , we mourn the sudden death of the then Publicity Secretary of Benin branch of the Nigerian Bar Association – the Lion Bar , Ogaga Emonghware Esq. and send our sincere sympathies and condolences to his parents, young wife, children and siblings and pray God to give them the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss. His demise should awaken our senses to the need to take our health issues seriously and rest whenever our bodies give us the signs to do so. It also teaches us the vainness of life which is not just vanity but vanity upon vanity.

I pray that we muster the courage to put all the personal and collective misgivings of the past behind us and forge ahead with matters that should unite, rather than divide us in our pursuit for the greater happiness and improved welfare for our members.

I thank you for your support and understanding with the Midwest Bar Forum Exco and assure you of our continued sincere peace and reconciliation efforts to bring back all members of Midwest Bar under this single forum.

Once again I wish you a happy and prosperous new legal year .

Chief G. C. Igbokwe SAN, FCIArb UK
Chairman,
Midwest Bar Forum (MWBF),
17/9/2022.

JUDICIAL AUTONOMY: MAIKYAU BERATES PRESIDENTIAL ASPIRANTS OVER SILENCE

The President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr. Yakubu Maikyau SAN has berated presidential aspirants who attended the NBA Annual General Conference (AGC) for not speaking to the issue of judicial autonomy.

Maikyau spoke yesterday at the Annual Legal Year Ceremony of the Court of Appeal which held at the Court of Appeal Headquarters, Abuja. The ceremony had in attendance the Court of Appeal President, Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem and other Justices of the court as well as eminent jurists and members of the Bar.

According to a statement made available to CITY LAWYER by NBA Publicity Secretary, Mr. Habeeb Lawal, Maikyau emphasized the need for the judiciary to be truly independent, and observed that “none of the presidential candidates for the upcoming 2023 election, who attended the Opening Ceremony of the just concluded NBA-AGC on the 21st August, 2022 spared any thought on the independence of the judiciary.”

While Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Labour Party (LP) aspirants, Messrs Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi attended the AGC in person, the All Progressives Congress (APC) aspirant, Senator Bola Tinubu was represented by the party’s vice presidential aspirant, Senator Kashim Shettima. 

Maikyau in his address decried the poor working condition of the court and welfare of Justices. He stated that the salaries and allowances of judges and justices in the country have remained the same since 2008, adding that this has a negative impact on justice delivery in the country.

The NBA President urged “the government to deliberately invest in the welfare of Judges and Justices by strengthening the human capital within the justice sector and meeting all the infrastructural needs of the judiciary as a matter of urgency.”

The NBA President also called on the Federal Government “to revisit the 2018 Report of the Committee on the Review of Judicial Salaries and Conditions of Service, to bring same in tune with our present day realities and give effect to the final recommendations that will arise therefrom.”

He reiterated the commitment of the NBA under his leadership to maintain a robust Bench and Bar relationship.

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ETI-OSA LAWYERS FORUM HAILS MAIKYAU, SEEKS BRANCH STATUS

The Eti-Osa Lawyers Forum (ELF) has congratulated Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) President, Mr. Yakubu Maikyau SAN and other National Officers on their inauguration as the NBA National Executive Committee.

In a congratulatory letter made available to CITY LAWYER and signed by ELF Chairman, Mr. M. M. A. Sanni, the Forum stated that the newly sworn-in NBA President came “at an auspicious time in our association and the nation,” adding that it is “A time when a man of your figure and character is needed to consolidate the achievements of your predecessor, as well as grapple with the usual issues around the unity of our Association and the country.

“After listening to your inaugural speech, especially the moving story of your childhood and all difficulties you have to surmount to become a lawyer and subsequently a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, we are convinced that our Association is in the right hands.”

Noting that the Forum has a pending application to become a full-fledged NBA Branch, the Forum said: “We cannot end this message without a reminder to you of our pending application to become a branch, and given the fact that the final condition precedent towards the grant of the status has now been duly fulfilled with the creation of Eti-osa Judicial Division from the existing Lagos Judicial Division. We sincerely hope that our branch, NBA Eti-osa Branch, will now be added to the list of other branches of the Nigerian Bar Association timeously.”

Below is the full text of the statement.

* Mr. M. M. A. SANNI, Chairman, Eti-Osa Lawyers Forum

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NBA BLASTS NIGERIA POLICE FOR BERATING JUDICIARY

The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has berated the Nigeria Police Force  for stating that the judiciary is to blame for suspects reappearing in the streets after arraignment.

Saying that suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty, NBA Publicity Secretary Habeeb Lawal also alluded that “weak investigations and terrible prosecution” by the police are responsible for the discharge of suspects by the courts.

A tweeter handle, @99%Oppressed had tweeted a picture of one Rasheed Abdulateef, aka Adagun, who the Twitter user alleged was “a cult leader in Agege who led thugs to Alausa in October 2020 to attack unarmed peaceful #EndSARS protesters.”

The tweet also claimed that Abdulateef was “arrested in June 2022 with riffles at Agege by RRS,” asking “@BenHundeyin what is the latest?” Mr. Benjamin Hundeyin is the Public Relations Officer of Lagos State Police Command.

In response to the tweet, SP Hundeyin suggested that the court was responsible for the reappearance of the alleged cultist, saying: “It would shock you that we charge people to court only for us to see them again. The court in its own wisdom frees them. Again, approach the court.”

Responding, Lawal retweeted that “There is nothing shocking about charging persons to court and seeing them again. After all, everyone is presumed innocent until proven otherwise. Also, the court shouldn’t be subtly made an easy scapegoat for weak investigations and terrible prosecution. Let’s be guided!”

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ADR SOCIETY APPOINTS OBEGOLU AS PATRON

Bar Leader and former Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) General Secretary, Mr. Emeka Obegolu SAN has been appointed the Patron of National ADR Society.

A statement made available to CITY LAWYER indicated that the appointment was in “extreme gratitude for your (Obegolu’s) show of support in such short timing, and in high appreciation of your good office.”

Continuing, the association wrote: “Words are unable to convey our joy as we welcome you on board, even so as we respectfully acknowledge your great work and impact in the ADR professional space.”

Below is the full text of the statement. 

EMEKA OBEGOLU, SAN APPOINTED PATRON OF NATIONAL ADR SOCIETY

The National ADR Society has appointed Emeka Obegolu, SAN as its Patron. In a letter, dated 2nd September, 2022, conveyed to the Learned Silk, the society state; “We write to you with extreme gratitude for your show of support in such short timing sir, and in high appreciation of your good office and we officially invite you to come on board as an esteemed Patron to the National Alternative Dispute Resolution Society (NADRS) to aid in the fulfilment of the Society’s objectives and goals towards the enhancement and promotion of ADR knowledge, experience and skills”.

The National ADR Society as a student based body is the umbrella body of ADR chapters in tertiary institutions across the country, and the body currently has 13 established ADR chapters, with Prince Abubukar Audu University as the 14th unit.

It is worthy to note that Emeka Obegolu, SAN is a Legal Practitioner by training and an Arbitrator and Mediator by passion. He is a senior and founding Partner of Greenfield Chambers with a Ph.D. in Arbitration.

He is an expert in ADR, holding Fellowship of a number of professional bodies including the Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators (ICMC) and the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (UK). He is an alumnus of the Harvard Law School Program on Negotiation and a certified ADR Trainer with a specialization in Negotiation, Mediation, Conciliation, Arbitration and Arbitral Secretarial Services.

While expressing gratitude to the Senior Advocate of Nigeria for accepting the appointment, the letter further reads, “Words are unable to convey our joy as we welcome you on board, even so as we respectfully acknowledge your great work and impact in the ADR professional space.”

It continues thus, “We hold you in very high esteem and we thank you for your kind consideration Sir: We look forward to the great impact your presence will undoubtedly bring about to the Administrative team, the Student body and the general student community.”

The President of the National ADR Society, Osaretin Catherine Amadasun, AICMC, who signed the letter explained that part of the Society’s current administration structure is to establish an all-inclusive and well recognised student based body for the promotion and enhancement of ADR related activities amongst the student community, foster awareness, growth, enlightenment of the fast growing ADR sphere among ADR enthusiasts whilst providing the platform from which ADR opportunities are derived, to in their career development.

‘I WAS SEVERELY PERSECUTED AS NBA GENERAL SECRETARY, ‘ SAYS ODUAH

Immediate past Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) General Secretary Joyce Oduah has said that she “was severely persecuted by those who unjustly tried to bring me down for same reason.”

In a “Thank You” message to NBA members made available to CITY LAWYER, Oduah who had a running battle with the NBA leadership in the twilight of her tenure, said that she has “great confidence in the new leadership of the Bar and believe that they will, like I did while serving the Bar, uphold and defend the grundnorm of the Association, the NBA Constitution, at all times and selflessly.”

Below is the full text of her statement.

THANK YOU MESSAGE FROM JOYCE ODUAH FICMC, GENERAL SECRETARY OF THE NIGERIAN BAR ASSOCIATION (2020 – 2022)

It is with great humility and a heart full of joy, appreciation and gratitude to God and all of you, members of our great Association, the NBA, that I write this thank you message.

As you all are aware, my official service as the General Secretary of the Bar ended on the 26th of August 2022, as we successfully handed over the baton of leadership to the New Executive Committee to move the Bar forward. I have great confidence in the new leadership of the Bar and believe that they will, like I did while serving the Bar, uphold and defend the grundnorm of the Association, the NBA Constitution, at all times and selflessly.

I want to specially thank all members of association and particularly those who have supported me throughout my Service to the Bar as the General Secretary and stood by me as we passed through the very eventful last weeks of our tenure.

In line with my campaign promises, it was my resolve to serve the Bar with all sense of integrity, dedication to quality service delivery, in accordance with the NBA Constitution and upholding the rule of law , which is the primary mandate of our noble Association. This resolve, I am glad to inform you, was the panacea of my service throughout my tenure as General Secretary of the Bar even when I was severely persecuted by those who unjustly tried to bring me down for same reason.

This thank you message should have come earlier than now, but for the overwhelming, unwarranted, mala fide and desperate attack against me by people who thought they could bully and overwhelm me. Thankfully, owing to the ever abundant grace of the Almighty God and the overwhelming support I got from you, dear colleagues, I was neither overwhelmed nor bullied into silence. I will not bore you with the details of the shameful events of our last days in office as we all witnessed them together, and I strongly believe that posterity will vindicate the just. Those that peddled specific lies against me will answer in due time.

During my service to the Bar as the General Secretary and in line my promises while asking for your support to serve the Bar, we achieved successes and lifted the Bar in many ways. Some of our achievements during my stewardship are as stated below:

During my campaign, I promised our members that upon being elected as General Secretary, I will work to introduce technology into the functioning of the NBA by creating an NBA App which will serve as a one stop platform for every member of the Association. This will engage and synergize the stakeholders – lawyers, law firms, 125 branches of the NBA (now 128) and enhance easy access to NBA resources and materials. It is with great joy and delight that I inform you that after much persuasion and work this NBA APP was launched on the 25th of August, 2022 before the Annual General Meeting;
Effective management of the NBA National Secretariat;
An ICT based Innovative Secretariat;
Effective records keeping;
Effective planning and organizing of meetings;
Effective communication and management of correspondence.

In a special way, I must thank the Bar Leaders and Elders who supported, advised and guided me to achieve so much in my service to the Bar; noble Elders and Leaders that stood on the side of the truth when it mattered.

I thank my super husband who was a pillar of support throughout my tenure and especially in the last few weeks; I could not have asked for a better soulmate. I am indeed blessed to have such wonderful children who have stood and continue to stand by me. I appreciate my dear sister for her support. I am grateful to my Bishop, Archdeacon, Vicar, Priests and all the members of my church for their prayers and well wishes.

I must thank and appreciate my Secretariat staff and colleagues whom without their overwhelming support, I would not have achieved so much in office. I am also grateful to my legal team.

I remain forever grateful.

Dear Colleagues, it is with a heart full of joy and gratefulness to God that I officially inform you all that owing to my excellent service to the Bar, I was elected the Vice President (West Africa) of Pan African Lawyers Union, PALU. I am counting on your continued support in this new assignment.

Once again, I thank you all for your continued support and wish you all the best Legal Year ever in advance. I also wish the current administration a successful tenure.

My most thanks to God Almighty without whom I can do nothing.

God Bless the Nigerian Bar Association;
God Bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Joyce Oduah, FICMC.
General Secretary,
Nigerian Bar Association. 2020 -2022

NBA KADUNA BRANCH HAILS MAIKYAU ON INAUGURATION

The Executive and Members of the Nigerian Bar Association, Kaduna Branch heartily felicitates with Yakubu Chinoko Maikyau, SAN FCIArb on his assumption of office as the 31st President of the Nigerian Bar Association. 

The Branch also congratulates the Members of the Executive led by Yakubu Chinoko Maikyau, SAN FCIArb who have also assumed their various offices.

It is our wish and prayer that the ideals of the Nigerian Bar Association of promoting the rule of law and speaking truth to power should be continued.

We are indeed gratified that the President of the NBA has on numerous occasions stated that this administration shall continue with the innovative and welfarist programmes of the immediate past Executive. We hope and pray that this shall be continued, together with the new programmes to be introduced. 

We pray for the success of the administration and assure the 31st President of the NBA that Kaduna Branch shall continue to support him and his administration as the Branch did during the recently concluded election.

Thank you,

M. T. Mohammed, ACIArb, LLM

Chairman

NBA GETS 3 MORE BOARD TRUSTEES, NOW 9

The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has appointed three new Trustees to join its Board of Trustees. The Trustees are Mr. Yunus Ustaz Usman, SAN (NBA Kaduna Branch); Mr. George Etomi (NBA Lagos Branch) and Patricia Igwebuike (NBA Oji River Branch). This brings to nine the total number of NBA Trustees.

An unimpeachable source told CITY LAWYER that the appointments were proposed and accepted at the pre-Annual General Conference National Executive Council (NEC) Meeting and ratified by the Annual General Meeting (AGM) both of which held in Lagos.

CITY LAWYER reliably gathered that appointment letters have been issued to the new Trustees.

The appointments are in line with Section 24(ii) of the amended NBA Constitution which provides that “The Trustees shall be nine (9) in number and shall be known as THE INCORPORATED TRUSTEES OF THE NIGERIAN BAR ASSOCIATION in accordance with the provisions of Part F of the Companies and Allied Matters Act, Act No. 3 2020 (“CAMA” as may be amended from time-to-time). Provided that each geographical zone of the Association as defined in this Constitution shall have an equal number of Trustees.”

Usman was until recently the Chairman of the dissolved NBA Disciplinary Committee. The 15-member committee was set up to investigate complaints of professional impropriety or other misconduct against members of the Bar and to make appropriate recommendations.

Etomi was Chairman of the 12-member Transition Committee which birthed the Olumide Akpata Administration. He was also the pioneer Chairman of NBA Section on Business Law (NBA-SBL). In 2016, Etomi was appointed a member of the Body of Benchers, and is a recipient of the National Productivity Order of Merit Award (NPOM). He is also a member of the International Trade in Legal Services of the Bar Issues Commission of the International Bar Association (IBA) and a regular facilitator at global business conferences.

Igwebuike is currently a Cabinet Member in the Professor Chukwuma Soludo Administration. A former Chairman of NBA Oji River Branch, Igwebuike was a Special Assistant to former Governor Willie Obiano also of Anambra State. She was the Secretary of the recently dissolved NBA General Purposes Committee.

Other members of the Board of Trustees are Dr. Olisa Agbakoba SAN (Chairman), Mr. Joseph Daudu SAN, Mr. Augustine Alegeh SAN, Chief Kanu Agabi SAN, Mrs. Fatima Kwaku, and Mr. Obafemi Adewale.

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AKPATA REGIME BOYCOTT: EGBE AMOFIN ‘DISOWNS’ AKINTOLA

The influential umbrella body of lawyers of Yoruba extraction, Egbe Amofin O’odua has distanced itself from the assertion by its Deputy Leader and prominent lawyer, Chief Niyi Akintola SAN that the bloc took a decision to boycott the Olumide Akpata-led Nigerian Bar Association (NBA).

In an interview with a national daily, the Chairman of Egbe Amofin O’doua and former NBA General Secretary, Mr. Isiaka Olagunju SAN said that he is “not aware of that decision.” Olagunju also stated that the Yoruba cannot abandon NBA.

Saying that “Chief Akintola is entitled to his opinion,” the Egbe Amofin helmsman however stated that aside from being absent from the meeting where the alleged decision was taken, “I didn’t receive any handing over note to say that the Yoruba Lawyers Association should not participate in any of the NBA’s indices (sic).”

According to the PUNCH report, Olagunju was reacting to comments by Akintola on the unruly actions of some lawyers at the just concluded NBA  Annual General Conference.

CITY LAWYER recalls that Akintola had in an interview with FRESH FM, Ibadan said: “When that boy Akpata came on board, we the Yoruba leaders, the Egbe Amofin, we took the unified position that we will not dignify that boy with our presence at any of his Bar gathering. Unfortunately, some of our people who took that decision alongside with us betrayed that trust.”

But Olagunju, in a chat with Judiciary Watch, on Tuesday, said he was not aware the group took such decision.

He said, “I am not aware of that decision. However, Chief Akintola is entitled to his opinion, and I was not in the meeting. By the record you can get from Akpata’s administration, you can see that Yoruba lawyers played prominent roles. There are quite a number of Yoruba lawyers who chaired some committees, even the election was led by a Yoruba man.

“I was at the NBA conference, Professor (Folake) Solanke was there, Lateef Fagbemi, Mallam Yusuf Ali, Dr Babatunde Ajibade (all Senior Advocates of Nigeria), several leaders and elders in Yoruba land were at the conference. So I am not aware, because I didn’t receive any handing over note to say that the Yoruba Lawyers Association should not participate in any of the NBA’s indices.

“It is our bar; Yoruba are the cutting edge of the NBA, how could we abandon the house that we have built?”

Mr. Ifedayo Adedipe, SAN, a member of the association, asked to be counted out of such an agreement if it ever existed. The lawyer said Akintola spoke for himself “and maybe people who attended such a meeting with him.”

He said, “I can tell you for free that any attempt at dividing the association along ethnic, regional or religious grounds, is bound to fail. It is a purely professional body, and while I recognise the right of people to hold views, I do not think it would be helpful to say that a regional body would be set up to say that whomever the president at one point or the other would not be supported for whatever reason.”

Disagreeing with Akintola’s position, Seyi Wemimo (sic), SAN stated that the legal luminary should have gone further to say what would have been done better had Egbe Amofin supported Akpata’s administration.

He said, “The reality is that Akpata has already finished his term, and I don’t know whether if the Egbe Amofin group had supported him, we would have seen any greater performance.

“Again, as the president of the bar, Akpata is supposed to be independent-minded. Despite what Egbe amofin may have held, he (Akpata) succeeded in becoming the president of the bar, which shows that the body did not have any remarkable influence on the outcome of the election.”

Mr. Dele Adesina, SAN, who seemed to be in agreement with the learned silk, stated that the Egbe Amofin had their grievances, and nobody can blame them for taking the decision they think they wanted to take, and they took.

“I don’t think that is an issue you should flog, because that administration is over. Generally, there are people who don’t hide their feelings; they say it as it is. Different folks and different strokes, that is what life is made of.

“The fact that the administration has ended made the discussion a little academic. They had their (Egbe Amofin) grievances, they had the point they were stressing at the time, and nobody can blame them for taking the decision they think they wanted to take, and they took.”

Former NBA Akure Branch Chairman, Mr. Ola Dan Olawale had in a CITY LAWYER report given a detailed account of how the boycott decision was taken by Egbe Amofin O’odua.

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TINUBU CONGRATULATES MAIKYAU ON HIS ELECTION

The All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential flagbearer in the 2023 national elections, Senator Bola Tinubu has congratulated Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) President, Mr. Yakubu Maikyau SAN on his election.

In a statement by the Tinubu Media Office titled “CONGRATULATORY STATEMENT TO YAKUBU CHONOKO MAIKYAU, SAN ON HIS ELECTION AS PRESIDENT OF THE NIGERIAN BAR ASSOCIATION,” Tinubu said: “I congratulate Y.C. Maikyau, SAN on his emergence as the 31st President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), following the term expiration of the administration of Olumide Akpata.”

He said: “I, once more, commend and congratulate Y.C. Maikyau and the new executive leadership of the NBA. Their character and reputation have led to this moment of triumph and the absolute trust of their learned peers. I urge them all to maintain a commitment to the values I have espoused above and to the task of carrying the legal profession onto ever greater heights over the course of the next two years.”

The full statement is below:

PRESS STATEMENT

CONGRATULATORY STATEMENT TO YAKUBU CHONOKO MAIKYAU, SAN ON HIS ELECTION AS PRESIDENT OF THE NIGERIAN BAR ASSOCIATION

I congratulate Y.C. Maikyau, SAN on his emergence as the 31st President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), following the term expiration of the administration of Olumide Akpata.

The commendations and peer endorsements that informed his election and have since trailed his official swearing-in, underscore Maikyau’s professional success as a legal practitioner and his suitability for the elevated position with which he has been entrusted. Such testimonials inspire absolute confidence in his capacity to fulfil his pledge to take the NBA towards its brightest future.

The Bar is an important institution, central to the growth and sustenance of Nigeria’s democracy, justice and the rule of law. It’s members are the sworn defenders of our entire system of justice; the edifice undergirding our development, government accountability and respect for fundamental human rights. No nation can survive for long in the absence of these essential values or, therefore, without a well-functioning and organised legal profession.

I, once more, commend and congratulate Y.C. Maikyau and the new executive leadership of the NBA. Their character and reputation have led to this moment of triumph and the absolute trust of their learned peers. I urge them all to maintain a commitment to the values I have espoused above and to the task of carrying the legal profession onto ever greater heights over the course of the next two years.

I wish the new NBA administration the very best in all its future endeavours and pray, earnestly, that under their stewardship, the ideal of the legal profession as the last best hope of the common man remains true and alive in our nation.

SIGNED

Tinubu Media Office
August 29, 2022.

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‘OLANIPEKUN, BODY OF BENCHERS CHAIR PRIVY TO PACT TO BOYCOTT NBA,’ SAYS AKINTOLA

• SAYS ‘SORO SOKE BOYS AND GIRLS’ BETRAYED PACT

The Deputy Leader of Egbe Amofin O’odua, Chief Adeniyi Akintola SAN has said that Body of Benchers Chairman, Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN was privy to a pact to boycott Nigerian Bar Association activities while the immediate past NBA President, Mr. Olumide Akpata held the reins.

Responding to the allegation that some NBA Annual General Conference (AGC) delegates stole conference bags and phones during the fracas that attended distribution of conference materials, Akintola also stated that “Chief Olanipekun and I have religiously kept to that position,” accusing some Egbe Amofin members who he called “Soro Soke boys and girls” of betraying the pact.

Akintola, who was speaking in an interview on FRESH 105.9 FM, Ibadan, also hinted that some NBA Branches were given specific directions on what to do at the AGC, adding that it was unclear whether they followed the instructions.

CITY LAWYER recalls that the AGC held against the backdrop of the demand by NBA for Olanipekun to recuse himself as the Chairman of the Body of Benchers over the Ms. Kunbi Ogunde professional misconduct saga. Ogunde is a Partner in Wole Olanipekun & Co.

Though NBA had urged the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee (LPDC) to punish the partners in the firm if found complicit in the debacle, the committee had in an initial review stated that it was not interested in probing the partners of the law firm.

Said Akintola: “Let me take the last question first. Felt very very sad about what happened. And we saw it coming. Ademola (Babalola) is here. When that boy Akpata came on board, we the Yoruba leaders, the Efgbe Amofin, we took the unified position that we will not dignify that boy with our presence at any of his Bar gathering. Unfortunately, some of our people who took that decision alongside with us betrayed that trust.

“Coming from the background that I have, being a progressive, when I take a decision, when I say this is what I am going to do, even at the risk of my life, I stick to that.

“We took that decision in Ibadan here. Chief (Wole) Olanipekun happened to be the Leader of Egbe Amofin in Nigeria. I happen to be his Deputy. And we took that decision. Chief Olanipekun and I have religiously kept to that position. But unfortunately, some of our boys and girls felt otherwise because they wanted to be in office – one office or the other.”

Continuing, Akintola said: “I never attended the meeting (AGC) because I said I will never dignify him with my presence. Of course, the NBA Oyo, Ogbomosho came to me for my support before going. And we told them what to do and what not to do. But the question is, when they get there, what they do? We don’t know.”

Olanipekun is yet to speak on Akintola’s statement.

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