Minutes of NBA Lagos Branch (Premier Bar) November 2017 general meeting [Full Minutes]

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OPENING PRAYER

1.1 The meeting commenced at 1:00pm with the recitation of the NBA opening prayer, led by Julius A. O. Odupitan

2.0 MINUTES OF THE LAST MONTHLY GENERAL MEETING

2.1 The Chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting and reiterated the need for members to regularly visit the Branch website at www.nbalagos.org.ng for copies of the Minutes of the last monthly meeting as well as the Notice of the meeting and other relevant documents. The Chairman therefore called for only substantive corrections to the Minutes.
2.2 In the absence of any corrections, Chidi Ezeikpe moved the motion for adoption of the Minutes. The motion was seconded by Chief Adewale Adeniji and the Minutes of the October monthly meeting were adopted accordingly.

3.0 MATTERS ARISING


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3.1 Renting of Office space for the Branch: The Chairman once again reiterated the importance of the decision of the Executive members to secure an office space within the High Court vicinity. He cited better service to members of the Branch and adequate space for secretarial services given that the current office of the Branch is very small, as some of the reasons for renting an office space, pending the purchase of a property by the Branch. He therefore called on the Secretary to give a report on the office space secured at the City Hall.
3.2 The Secretary reported that the rent and all charges have been fully paid on the property and renovation of the new office is ongoing. He also mentioned the various contributions made by the following persons:
a. Uche Wigwe (Wigwe & Akanbi) – N500,000
b. The Law Crest LLP – N250,000
c. Olumide Akpata – N250,000
d. Lotanna Okoli (Jurislaw) – N200,000
e. Godson Ugochukwu – N100,000
f. Fred Onuobia (G. Elias & Co.) – N250,000
g. Aluko & Oyebode – N200,000
h. Ikechukwu Uwanna (Tsedaqah Attorneys) – N100,000
3.3 Finally, he said that notices will be circulated when the branch eventually relocates to the new secretariat.

4.0 BRANCH REPORTS

4.1 Treasurer’s Monthly Report: The Treasurer’s Report was presented by Mrs. Foluke Akinmoladun – a co-opted Executive member – who at the request of the Chairman, made the presentation on behalf of the Treasurer. Mrs. Akinmoladun presented the financial standing of the Branch as at October 2017
4.2 The Chairman stated that the report had been circulated to members via email prior to the meeting but many present noted that they did not receive it.
4.3 In reaction to this, Mrs. Mfon Usoro suggested that a typed copy of the list of emails of members of the Branch should be circulated during the course of the meeting for members to either write their emails if not contained therein or correct it if improperly spelt.
4.4 The Chairman apologized profusely for the non-receipt of the Treasurer’s reports and the Minutes of last meeting noting that the Branch was working on a new website as part of its efforts at ensuring that it has a reliable database of its members. He said that the new website would contain an intranet with provision for members to update their email addresses.
4.5 Mr. Chidi Ezeikpe suggested that the adoption of the Treasurer’s Report should be postponed to the next monthly meeting to allow for meaningful discussions to be made on same.
4.6 In response, the Chairman noted that the whole essence of the Treasurer’s Report is to give monthly updates to members on the financial status of the Branch adding that constructive comments are welcome from members at any time.
4.7 Mr. Lanre Folarin however suggested that the email address of the Branch and relevant phone numbers should be displayed on the projector at the meeting venue so that members can forward their email addresses to the branch email or send them by text message. This suggestion was put into action immediately.

5.0 KNOWLEDGE SHARING SESSION:

5.1 The Knowledge Sharing Session for the month was on the topic, “the need to reorder the way lawyers are trained”.
5.2 The Chairman called on Mr. Tobenna Erojikwe, the CLE Committee Chairperson to read out the citation of the speaker, Dr. Nkiru Balonwu. Accordingly, Mr Erojikwe read out her citation
5.3 Dr. Balonwu highlighted the areas of focus for training of lawyers and pointed out the various stages of development of a lawyer. She mentioned that there is a great need to reorder the way lawyers are being trained at all levels of education and also a need to re-orientate all stakeholders in the legal education sector.
5.4 Dr Balonwu’s presentation was well received and the Chairman thanked her
accordingly. She observed that legal practice including the process of hiring the services of lawyers is changing and lawyers must adapt themselves to the changing trend.
5.5 Mrs. Ajibike Oshodi in her contribution to the presentation pointed out that the training should not be for lawyers alone but for the general education system in Nigeria.
5.6 Alewo Etuk on her own part cited the forward thinking programs introduced by the Covenant University by laying emphasis on entrepreneurial skills. She therefore suggested that the NBA should liaise with the Nigerian Law School and Council of Legal Education to broaden the curriculum of law training both at the University and Law School levels. She noted some disturbing challenges most lawyers encounter presently ranging from inability to write and speak brilliantly as well as inability to use computers.
5.7 After taking contributions from members, the Chairman called on Mr. Wale Adesokan SAN to give a thank you speech to Dr. Balonwu on behalf of the Branch and he did as requested.

6.0 NBA CONSTITUTION REVIEW COMMITTEE UPDATE

6.1 The Chairman introduced for discussion the efforts of the Constitution Review Committee of the Branch set up at the last meeting to receive memoranda from members of the Branch in view of the proposed amendment of the NBA 2015 Constitution. The Chairman then called on the Chairperson of the Committee, Chief Zik Obi to give an update on the Committee’s activities.
6.2 Chief Zik in his update noted that the Committee started work the prior week and had already sent out notices to members of the Branch via the social media channels e.g. whatsapp and telegram, requesting that they submit memoranda to assist the Committee in its task. He however noted that they were yet to receive any memorandum and the deadline for same which was previously set as the 13th November, 2017 will be extended to enable members and law firms submit their memoranda. He added that the Committee was scheduled to turn in their formal report to the Executive Committee within a fortnight. The Chairman also pleaded with members to respond as the process of amendment will enable the Branch properly ventilate its concerns on the areas that require amendment.
6.3 Mr. Seth Amaefule was of the opinion that the reason members were not taking the issue of amendment serious is because there was nothing to amend considering that the said Constitution sought to be amended is subject of litigation and any amendment will go to nothing at the end of the day.
6.4 Mrs. Mfon Usoro inquired as to what will happen if no memorandum is received from members and in response, Chief Zik Obi said that the Committee has already identified some of the areas of amendment which will be collated. He also noted that the individual members of the Committee can also obtain
information from members directly to fulfill their task.
6.5 Mr. Phillip Njeteneh, on his part, pointed out that the whatsapp platform is inadequate for the purpose of sending out notices to members of the Branch calling for submission of memoranda. He therefore suggested that emails be sent out to law firms and that law firms can also submit memoranda other than just individuals.
6.6 Mr. Bello Yusuf observed that it might be difficult for members to identify what areas of the Constitution require amendment as majority of the Branch members do not have a copy of the Constitution. Reacting to this, the Chairman promised that the Secretary will make copies available as required, but also requested that members to should visit the NBA website for soft copies of the Constitution.

7.0 ANY OTHER BUSINESS

7.1 Mr. Chuks Nwana congratulated the Chairman on his 108 days in office as Chairman of the Branch. He particularly expressed his satisfaction with the successes of the past few months citing the Chairman’s email to members rendering a detailed report and update of his stewardship in office as a welcome development.
7.2 Anne Aimua raised an alarm on the spate of insecurity at the NBA meeting venue. She gave an account of what happened during one of the previous meetings where she almost lost her mobile phone. She suggested that the movement of lawyers and persons at the meeting venue be regulated.
7.3 Mr. Andrew Negbenebor raised 3 issues namely: non-remittance of 20% practicing fee to the Branch, increase in filing fees in Lagos High Courts and practicing certificates to lawyers.
7.4 Mr. Okey Ilofulunwa complained about the poor state of the robing rooms for lawyers at both the Federal High Court and the National Industrial Court. He also raised the issue of the parking space at the fence of the Lagos State High Court and suggested that the Executive wade into the matter as the government officials sometimes would come and deflate tires of cars parked thereat.
7.5 Mr. Bode Omoboriowo raised the issue of high filing fees at the High Court and sought to know what the Executive has done on the matter. He also advocated that the N50 million contributions made by members of the Branch for Secretariat building should be returned to members who paid.
7.6 Mr. Ben Ihesiulo complained about the stamp and the delays in getting the seals from the NBA.
7.7 Mr. Caleb Ekene Onwe complained that the Young Lawyers’ Forum (“YLF”) was not as operational as other Branches of the NBA and requested that the Executive looks into the issue.
7.8 The Chairman responding to the issue of non-remittance of 20% Bar Practice fees reported that he and other Chairmen of the other branches in Lagos State have agreed to write a letter to the NBA President requesting for payment to the Branches. He also noted that the issue will be raised at the NEC meeting scheduled for the 22nd November, 2017.
7.9 On the issue of the robing rooms at the Federal High Court and the National Industrial Court, the Chairman said that he is seeking an appointment with the Presiding Judges at the Courts mentioned which will be a forum to broach the issue and seek out solutions.
7.10 On the issue of increase in filing fees at the Lagos State High Court, the Chairman reported that members of the Executive Committee had a meeting with the Chief Judge together with the executive members of the other branches of the NBA in Lagos State and at the meeting this issue was raised by him and the Chief Judge promised to look into the matter.
7.11 The Chairman noted that on the issue of stamps that the Branch will continue to engage with the NBA National Secretariat on ways to make the entire process of obtaining seals seamless. He also reported that over 600 stamps are at the Branch secretariat awaiting collection by members.
7.12 In response to the concern on the YLF stated above, the Chairman said that the YLF Committee was just recently constituted and much is yet to be done. He restated the commitment of his administration to the plight and welfare of the young lawyers of the Branch.
7.13 The Vice Chairman in her response to some of the issues raised by some of the members noted that the N50 million contribution made by some members cannot be returned as was suggested by Mr. Bode Omoboriowo and pointed out that the Branch is in search of a property to purchase. She called on members with options or information on any available property within the vicinity of the High Court for purchase to immediately inform the Executives.

8.0 ANNOUNCEMENT

8.1 A representative of the Maritime Arbitrators of Nigeria (MAN) announced the forthcoming 8th Practical Dispute Resolution Seminar scheduled to hold on the 22nd and the 23rd of November, 2017 at the Tinuade Okunola Hearing Room Lagos Court of Arbitration Building, 1A, Remi Olowude Street, 2nd Roundabout, 1A, Remi Olowude Street, Lekki-Epe Expressway, Lagos. The attendance fee is N50, 000 for non-members whilst members are entitled to a discounted rate of N35, 000.
8.2 The Surulere Lawyers’ Forum announced their planned Health Week and invited members of the Branch to join them.
8.3 The Chairman announced that Mr. Paul Usoro SAN has redeemed his pledge of
N150,000 which he made to members of the Branch football team who represented the Branch at the just concluded Annual General Conference football competition. The Chairman further announced that the Vice Chairman of the Branch who also made a pledge of N50,000 has also redeemed the pledge.
8.4 The Secretary announced that the NBA NEC Meeting would hold between the 22nd and 24th November, 2017 in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
8.5 The Secretary also requested that those who were desirous of attending the IBA Regional conference holding in Accra, Ghana should get in touch with Mr. Anthony Atata.
8.6 The Chairman announced the death of Mr. Ikechukwu Ikeji and a minute silence was observed for the repose of his soul.
8.7 The Chairman then invited November celebrants to cut their Anniversary cake and Mazi Afam Osigwe coordinated the cutting of the cake.
8.8 The Chairman finally thanked Chief Adewale Adeniji and Mr. Andrew M. Malgwi who generous sponsored the November, 2017 meeting and encouraged members to take up sponsorship of subsequent Branch monthly meetings.

9.0 CLOSING

9.1 There being no other business, Alajuronye Obidi Cecil moved the Motion for the adjournment of the meeting and Olushola Abiloye seconded same. The meeting was adjourned accordingly.
8.2 Zik C. Obi II led the closing prayer during which he thanked God for successful deliberations. The meeting came to an end 4:05pm.

 

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