MR CHAIRMAN, let us breathe! -By Barbara Tosan Onwubiko

Imagine a society where the 128 Human Rights Committees of the Nigerian Bar Association are functioning at their best. Imagine the positive impact the 128 branches will have on Nigerian lawyers and the common man. Imagine a society where the Rule of Law and Human Rights are respected and strictly adhered to – this is what a fully functioning Human Rights Committee can achieve.

What is happening to our Human Rights Committees Mr Chairman? What have you done to our Human Rights Committees? Why have you made it practically impossible for us to function as Statutory Chairmen of the Human Rights Committees? Why have you chosen to frustrate our efforts and kill our vision for the Human Rights Committees? Why Mr Chairman?

Mr Chairman, please allow us to appoint members of our Committees, do not appoint members as agents to frustrate and kill our vision and mission for the Human Rights Committee. Mr Chairman, do not try to remove us from office for attempting to carry out our statutory required mandates. Do not refuse to sponsor our activities, or stop us from seeking sponsors. Do not cancel our programs and activities. Allow us to sign our letters as statutory Chairmen of the Human Rights Committees, and not your Secretaries, we are duly elected Vice Chairmen, do not disrespect our office.

Stop undermining our office, and our effort, we do not intend to outshine you, rather we only want to carry out our statutory required duties, as mandated by the NBA Constitution, but you refuse to see that. Allow us to attend our Human Rights trainings and programs. NO! Our duties are not merely delegatory, we are Statutory Chairman of the Human Rights Committees; the most integral and important part of this Association, without us, our dear Association can not truly impact society.

So as not to paint everyone with the same brush, I would like to thank the few of you sirs who are exceptions, noteworthy is the Chairman Lagos branch, we plead that others emulate you. As the year draws to a close, and as a new year beckons, remember sirs, that we owe the Bar a duty to institutionalize vibrant and committed Human Rights Committees, populated by selfless service-oriented membership.

Mr Chairman, you remain the head of the branch; it’s representative and no one can take your place. Allow us to work, allow us to breathe!

Barbara Tosan Onwubiko
Vice Chairman Gwagwalada branch (Eagle Bar),
Secretary NBA-BOVC

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