NEC Meeting: NBA Nat’l President, Kwara CJ seek govt investment on judiciary


By Kayode Adeoti

The Kwara State jurisdiction, for the second time on March 1st, 2018 hosted the second National Executive Council (NEC) meeting, with the crème de la crème of the legal profession from across the country, in attendance.
The Ilorin International Airport witnessed large turnout of legal practitioners, who stormed the ancient city of Ilorin on the eve of the event. They were feted at a cocktail party held at State Banquet Hall, along Ahmadu Bello way opposite the Government House, Ilorin.
The state Governor, Dr. Abdulfatah Ahmed, declared open the event while roll call of legal juggernauts include; the National President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Abubakar Balarape Mahmoud SAN, the Kwara State Chief Judge, Justice Sulyman Kawu, who was represented by Justice Matthew Adewara.
Also at the meeting were some Ilorin-based Senior Advocates of Nigeria, Mallam Yusuf Olaolu Ali, Salman Adelodun, Saka Isau, Kehinde Eleja, Kamaldeen Ajibade among several other members of the bar.
While delivering their speeches during the meeting, the NBA President and the state CJ, among other notable speakers, canvassed for government’s investment in the legal sector.
Mahmud in his speech called on the Federal Government for more investment on judiciary and improvement of judges’ welfare even as he expressed worries over the spate of insecurities as witnessed in Taraba, Benue, Zamfara and several other parts of the country.
He stressed further that the earlier government improved on the judiciary sector, the better for it in its bid to eradicate corrupt practices in the country.
In the same vein, Justice Adewara, who delivered the CJ speech, corroborated NBA President’s submission. He further expressed optimism that several burning issues confronting the legal profession will come before the NEC for deliberation and action.
“One of the issues afflicting the legal profession, which I think should engage your attention, is the perplexing ethical situation in which we found ourselves in Nigeria today. There is no doubt that members of the public now have strong negative perception of the legal profession”.
“We must all admit that we have in our midst elements of rotten eggs, whose nefarious activities in and out of court have been giving the profession a bad image. The time has come to fight this new scourge, which is devouring the very soul of our profession and gradually steering it from a noble to an ignoble one…” he stressed.
Though the event has come and gone but its effect will remain indelible in the annals of NBA considering issues bordering on the association that were discussed and resolved.
Mahmoud however took many legal practitioners aback, especially those vying for one seat or the other at the local and national levels of the association when he failed to lift the ban on electioneering campaign.
He said, “I want to first remind you that the ban on such activities has not been lifted. More importantly, I want to appeal to the leaders of the profession to truly search their conscience as to whether there is need for the activities.
“I urged our colleagues not to pull NBA into a perpetual electoral machine. We are by so doing undermining the legal profession. We have become a laughing stock in the eyes of our colleagues in other countries.”
Mahmoud also posited that an election committee will be constituted which will review the rules and strengthen electoral process and subsequently come up with a time-table. He further added that there will be no canvassing of votes until election rules are reviewed, adopted and candidates vying for the various seats in the association are screened and approved.
The President went ahead to appoint a legal practitioner, Awalu Yadudu SAN from Kano State jurisdiction, to chair the committee that will oversee the electoral processes.
He further cautioned members of the bar against the use of social media as campaign tool, adding that such development does not portray the profession in good light.
He added that the media has become a tool for perpetrating some questionable acts, saying some used it to abuse, castigate or critique their colleagues on trivial issues.
Part of matters discussed during the NEC meeting is the N50,000 minimum wage for young lawyers. It was presented before the president to validate the payment of N50,000 by senior lawyers who have young wigs under them, though, the proposal is yet to be adopted.
The NBA leadership also approved the proposal sought by the Young lawyers through their National President, Ahmed Wada to allow them organise seminars.
Speaking inter alia, he said his administration, within the period he came on board has made progress in the sensitisation and advocacy campaign for domestication and implementation of administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 in seven states namely; Akwa Ibom, Adamawa, Bauchi, Ogun, Jigawa, Kano and Kogi states.

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