Gov. El-Rufai splits NBA as northern lawyers form new association
The crisis rocking the Nigerian Bar Association over the withdrawal of an invitation to Governor Nasir El-Rufai to speak at its conference took a new twist on Friday as lawyers of Northern extraction who claim to be of like minds have decided to form a new ‘Nigerian Bar Association.’
In a statement issued by Barr Nuhu Ibrahim, Esq and Abdulbasit Suleiman, Esq, who both noted that what has been happening recently had exposed the inability of the national NBA to manage and contain the heterogeneity of its members as well as their various interests.
According to the statement, the recent rumblings from the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) leaves much to be desired within the ranks of Concerned Lawyers especially from the Northern part of the country.
The statement reads thus in full; “The New Nigerian Bar Association have been watching the activities of the NBA, an association we all looked forward to joining with high hopes before being called to the Nigerian Bar, forcing idiosyncrasies of few on the majority of its members especially in recent times.
“On the allegations against the Executive Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai were contained in a petition by Chidi Odinkalu Esq. a longtime foe of His Excellency and a Lawyer of eastern extraction, but the NBA failed to extend the same treatment to Southern invitees who were also petitioned and are also alleged to have committed similar or more human rights abuses than those alleged against Mallam El-Rufai.
“It is pertinent to state that the NBA membership as currently constituted can be termed” *Mandatory Membership Association*” which, for all intents and purposes, is against the provisions of the Constitution since the ground-norm recognizes freedom of membership of every Association. Section 40 of the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 provides as follows:
“Every person shall be entitled to assembly freely and associate with other persons, and in particular he may form or belong to any political party, trade union or any Association for the protection of his interests.
“The New Nigerian Bar Association members, gleaning from the above Constitutional provision feel that their interests are no longer taken into consideration in major decisions of the NBA hence the formation of this Association.
“A cursory chronicle of the membership composition of major organs of the NBA would reveal lopsided representation despite having large numbers of Lawyers from all parts of the Country and especially Northern Nigeria who have diligently paid their Bar practicing fees and have distinguished themselves in the legal profession.
“Members of this Association have commenced consultations with very Senior Lawyers of Northern Nigeria extraction and those practicing therein with the view to constituting the Trustees and for purposes of fixing date for formal inauguration of the Association.”
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