IN FULL: Removal of SPIDEL Leadership, Creation of Eti-Osa NBA Branch, Proscription of Vice Chairmen Forum – Official Resolutions of NBA-NEC Meeting at Jos

COMMUNIQUE ISSUED BY THE NIGERIAN BAR ASSOCIATION AT THE CLOSE OF HER 1ST QUARTER NATIONAL EXECUTIVE COUNCIL MEETING HELD ON THE 29TH OF FEBRUARY 2024, AT THE GOWON HALL, CRISPAN HOTEL, JOS, PLATEAU STATE.

 

PREAMBLE

The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) held her 1st Quarter NEC Meeting in the year 2024, on Thursday, 1st February 2024.
After series of deliberations, NEC reached the following decisions and resolutions:

A. STATE OF THE BAR

1. NEC adopts and approves the proposed 2024 budget of the Association as presented by the National Treasurer.

2. NEC condemns the attitude of members nominated into Statutory Bodies by the Association whose actions or inactions are undermining the interest of the Association and directed that NBA nominees in statutory bodies should report their activities to the Council through the NBA President.

3. NEC deferred the consideration of the 2023 Annual General Conference Planning Committee (AGCPC) chaired by Mazi Afam Osigwe, SAN

4. NEC ratified and approved the constitution of the 2024 Annual General Conference Planning Committee (AGCPC) chaired by Mrs. Oyinkansola Badejo-Okusanya and resolved to reconvene for the consideration of the conference fees and budget subsequently.

5. NEC ratified and approved the constitution of the NBA Remuneration Implementation Committee Chaired by Mazi Afam Osigwe, SAN and deferred the consideration of the proposed guidelines for the implementation of the Legal Practitioners Remuneration (For Business, Legal Service and Representation) Order, 2023.

6. NEC ratified the publication of the Preliminary Notice of Election and Guidelines for the conduct of the 2024 NBA General elections and approved 20 July 2024 as the date for the elections, as proposed by the Electoral Committee of the NBA (ECNBA).

7. NEC approved the creation of Eti-Osa Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association. The Council further reiterated its approval for the creation of Surulere Branch upon the establishment of Surulere/Yaba Judicial Division by the Chief Judge of Lagos State and authorized the National Executive Committee to constitute Caretaker

Committees for both Eti-Osa and Surulere Branches, for the purpose of conducting elections of the Branch Officers.

8. NEC condemned the activities of unrecognized group(s) of persons who are parading themselves as officers of the NBA Bori Branch and directed that a letter be written to the Chief Judge of Rivers State, notifying His Lordship that the only NEC recognized Branch Executive Committee (EXCO) of Bori Branch recognized by NEC, are the duly elected Branch officers led by Idris Abayomi Shehu as Chairman. For avoidance of doubt, the members of the EXCO are:
a) Idris Abayomi Shehu – CHAIRMAN
b) G. B. Y. Jaja – VICE CHAIRMAN
c) Dr Nnaa Dum-Eemene Money – SECRETARY
d) Peace Saronwiyo – ASSISTANT SECRETARY
e) Dennis Friday Baritordor – TREASURER
f) Deka Leton Augustus – FINANCIAL SECRETARY
g) Wey Saviour Deekae – WELFARE SECRETARY
h) Gold Spurgeon Uranta – SOCIAL SECRETARY
i) Nwi-ue Benjamin Tambari – PUBLICITY SECRETARY

9. NEC unequivocally condemns the letter written and signed by John Aikpokpo- Martins and Victor C. Onwumere on behalf of the “Representatives of the Nigerian Bar Association to the General Council of the Bar” addressed to the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), requesting for funding by the Federal Government of the General Council of the Bar (GCB) in similar manner as the Body of Benchers and Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee (LPDC), as well as a request that the AGF should not communicate to the members of the Bar in the GCB through the NBA President.

10. NEC further resolved that the NBA President should write to the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation to inform him to discountenance the said letter written by the so called ‘Representatives of the Nigerian Bar Association to the General Council of the Bar’ and notify the AGF of the non-existence of such body. Council further affirms that communications to members of NBA in GCB through the office of the President of the NBA is proper and does not derogate from the membership of NBA representatives in the GCB.

11. NEC condemned the assertion in the said letter that the NBA President refused to fund the expenses of NBA Members in GCB in view of the President’s reference to the proof of payments made by NBA to GCB members for the expenses previously incurred by them; and directed investigation into the monies collected by Members of GCB from Ministry of Justice without the knowledge of or reporting to the NBA.

12. NEC prohibits and proscribes the existence and activities of “Body of Vice Chairmen of the NBA”, ‘Representatives of the Nigerian Bar Association to the General Council of the Bar’, and any other Body or Forum not recognized by the NBA Constitution.

13. NEC approves and adopts the response of the NBA President on the request made by the Oyo State Board of Internal Revenue to not issue practice license to members who have no proof of payment of Personal Income Tax (PIT) and the President’s reaction to the directive issued by the Chief Judge of Enugu State on the requirement of Tax Clearance Certificate of counsel to be attached to court processes for filing. NEC, however, admonishes all lawyers to promptly discharge their statutory/civic obligations with regards to payment of taxes as and when due.

14. NEC expresses concern on the protracted delay in approving the appointment of the NBA nominees by the Body of Benchers and directed NBA representatives in the Body of Benchers to intervene in ensuring the resolution of the stalemate.

15. NEC directs the 1st Vice President to intervene in the leadership crisis in Okrika Branch and ensure the conduct of an election for the Branch immediately.

16. NEC condemned the actions of the Chairman of Section on Public Interest and Development Law (SPIDEL) which undermines the authority of the President and the Council. Consequently, NEC resolved and directed the immediate removal of the members of the Executive Committee of SPIDEL. NEC also ratified all the actions taken by the President with respect to SPIDEL and directed that all actions filed by John Aikpoko-Martins and Funmi Adeogun, purportedly on behalf of NBA-SPIDEL be discontinued forthwith. For avoidance of any doubt, the said lawsuits include:
a. Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/1285/2023 – John Aikpokpo-Martins Esq & 2 Ors v.
Federal Government of Nigeria & 2 Ors
b. Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/90/2024 – John Aikpokpo-Martins, Esq & Anor v. Ms. Hannatu Musa Musawa & 3 Ors
c. Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/246/2024 – John Aikpokpo-Martins & Anor v. The Inspector General of Police & 3 Ors.
d. Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/247/2024 – John Aikpokpo-Martins, Esq & Anor v. The Inspector General of Police & Anor
e. Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/248/2024 – John Aikpokpo-Martins, Esq & Anor v. The Inspector General of Police & Anor

17. NEC further approved the constitution of a Caretaker Committee to manage the affairs of the SPIDEL with additional mandate to investigate the circumstances leading to the filing of actions in court without approval of NEC. The Caretaker Committee comprised of the following members: Sir Steve Adehi, SAN (Chairman), Yakubu Philemon, SAN (Member), Ben Oji (Secretary), Ronke Adeyemi (Member), and Eva Amadi (Member).

18. NEC intervened in the Gboko Branch issue and reinstated the Branch Secretary who was allegedly removed by the Chairman, while the 2nd Vice President was mandated to mediate between the Branch Chairman and the Secretary to ensure final resolutions of the issues between them.

B. STATE OF THE NATION

1. NEC ratified, adopted, and commended the letter written by the President on 14 February 2024, to the President of the Federal republic of Nigeria, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR on the state of the nation.

2. NEC also ratified and endorsed in its entirety, the Press Conference held on 14 February 2024, by the President and the National Executive Committee on the State of the Nation.

3. NEC ratified and endorsed the letter written by the NBA President to the Honourable Minister of Industry, Trade, and Investment, dated 27 February 2024, requesting for a copy of the Enhanced Trade Investment Partnership Agreements between the governments of Nigeria and United Kingdom on legal services, and resolved that a legal action be instituted against the Minister in the event of failure to release a copy of the Agreement as demanded.

C. VOTE OF CONFIDENCE
NEC upon a motion moved and seconded, unanimously passed a Vote of Confidence on the NBA President, and assured him and the National Executive Committee of the maximum support of the Council.

D. CONCLUSION
The above resolutions and recommendations reflect the unequivocal commitment of the leadership of the Nigerian Bar Association to strengthen the legal profession and its institutions, ensure professional integrity, promote rule of law and justice, and advance the course of the nation building.

Dated this 1st day of March 2024

Yakubu ChonokoMaikyau, OON, SAN

PRESIDENT

Adesina Adegbite, FICMC
GENERAL SECRETARY


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