14 December 2009

Nigeria: NBA Backs Akeredolu Over Yar'Adua's Health

Lagos — The Nigerian Bar Association rose from its National Executive Committee (NEC) at Zodiac Hotel, Enugu Friday last week with a resolution that 'all statements made by the NBA President and in particular, the statement to the effect that the President of Nigeria should have handed over to the Vice-President in an acting capacity and in keeping with relevant constitutional provisions or resign in the event of incapacitation due to ill-health stand ratified as views of the Association.'

NEC restated that 'in line with Article 13 (1) (f) of the NBA constitution Oluwarotimi O. Akeredolu, Esq. SAN, President of the NBA is the spokesman for the Association and that views expressed by him are not personal but those of the Association.'

Attorney-General of the Federation, Mike Aondoakaa SAN had earlier said that Akeredolu's statement on President Yar'Adua's health did not represent the view of the NBA asit did not emanate from NEC.

The NEC meeting also witnessed the end of the simmering crisis which had created divisions within the ranks of the national officers of the Association.

The Committee declared that the differences resulting in a bitter press war between its elected officers had been amicably resolved in the interest of the Association.

NEC also resolved to withdraw its pending court action against the National Judicial Council.

The NBA had earlier instituted the suit against NJC in protest over its three members nominated into the Council, but who it said had overstayed their tenure.

It noted that 'The NBA alone has the right as enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 to nominate and set limits of tenure for its representatives on the National Judicial Council (NJC)'

It resolved that 'The court action filed against the Chief Justice of Nigeria and NJC by the NBA shall be withdrawn; NEC also decided that the sanctions imposed on the three members of the NBA whose representation was in issue, be rescinded.'

The NBA condemned the lingering strike action of the Judicial Staff Union of Nigeria

The statement directed NBA National Officers to meet with the National Executive of JUSUN and other stakeholders to find a lasting solution to the incessant industrial action by judiciary workers.

The Association expressed deep concern over the extra-judicial killings by security agencies in Nigeria.

Last week, Amnesty International slammed the Nigeria Police over these killings which it described as rampant.

NEC described extra-judicial killings as 'constituting one of the most invidious violations of Human Rights and negating Nigeria's commitment to the Universal Declaration on Human Rights & the African Charter on Human & Peoples' Rights, which have been domesticated in Nigeria.'

It urged the Inspector-General of Police to investigate all cases of extra-judicial killings and ensure that the culprits were brought to book as a deterrent.

The body was not without words on the Governorship election in Anambra State scheduled for February 2010.

It noted that the election will serve as a yardstick for determining how well INEC would conduct the general elections in 2011.

Says SAN Abolitionists to Wait a While Longer

The National Executive Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association at last week's meeting at Enugu, after listening to the proponents for the abolition of the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria, resolved that all the 88 branches should present their respective positions in writing.

The branches are to forward their positions to the National Secretariat before the end of January 2010 for further discussion at the February 2010 NEC meeting in Yola, Adamawa State.

Some lawyers, notably Pa Tunji Gomez of the Lagos Bar, have been agitating for the abolition of the rank in recent times, a move which has gained some adherents especially from junior lawyers and has sharply divided the bar.

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