TECH HER IN: 3rd Annual General Conference of NBA Women Forum to hold 30th to 31st March

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The countdown to the 3rd edition of the Nigerian Bar Association’s Women Forum set to hold in Abuja, the country’s federal capital, on the 30th and 31st of March, 2023 has begun. As the event approaches, a heightened sense of anticipation and interest has begun to build among members of the Nigerian legal ecosystem in general, and its female component in particular. With anticipation comes curiosity as to the issues (both topical and timeless) as well as trends (both current and emerging) that would be explored and interrogated at the 2-day Conference. It was with a view towards satisfying this curiosity among relevant stakeholders that the leadership of the NBAWF and its Conference Planning Committee held a press briefing on Tuesday, March 21 in Lagos.


BarristerNG reports that the media parley was graced by the Chairperson of the NBAWF, Mrs. Chinyere Okorocha and the Chairperson of the Conference Planning Committee for the Abuja Confab, Dr. Foluke Dada, as well as Ifeoma Ben of the CPC’s Sponsorship Committee; and the two media coordinators, Onyinye Ukaegbu (who heads the Forum’s Media and Publicity Committee) and Gloria Ireka.

The Forum’s chairperson, Mrs. Okorocha in her opening remarks embarked on a recap of the history and trajectory of the Forum till date. Originally inaugurated in 2006, the NBAWF went into a hiatus that lasted until 2019 when it officially marked its resurgence with a re-inauguration by the then-NBA President, Paul Usoro, SAN.

According to her, since its comeback, the NBAWF has seen a rise in its profile and fortunes as it continues to pursue and fulfil its mandate, namely, to empower the Nigerian female lawyer for success. Beyond this, she added, the NBAWF encompasses the role of womanhood, especially in a male-dominated world, as it seeks to become an effective voice for societal advancement in a way that amplifies and ensures the aspirations and effective participation of the woman and girl-child in society. The body also offers a unique platform for growth, in the form of knowledge-sharing activities such as training and mentorship sessions, as well as limitless networking opportunities.

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Since its return from the margins to the mainstream of the NBA’s scheme of things, Okorocha stated, the NBAWF has demonstrated its global outlook by cultivating a robust partnership with a number of international organizations with whom it collaborates on highly-impactful programmes and projects of mutual benefit.

The Chairperson went on to list the respective designations of the eleven Committees that carry forward the Forum’s work and engagements – among them the Advocacy, External Relations, Mentorship, Media and Publicity, Research and Documentation, and In-House Counsel Committees, to name a few.

The work of the NBAWF at subnational level across the nation, she concluded by saying, is coordinated by State Leads and Branch Facilitators who have done a lot to extend the NBAWF’s scope to the grassroots.

Also speaking, the CPC Chair, Dr. Foluke Dada gave a rundown of proceedings at the coming Conference, which will also double as a commemoration of the 2023 UN International Women’s Day, under the theme: TECH HER IN: INNOVATING FOR GENDER EQUITY.

The Abuja Conference, Dr. Dada disclosed, will begin with a welcoming evening cocktail on Wednesday, March 29, 2023 at the Conference venue (A Class VIP Lounge, Sapphire Hall, Plot 102, Kashim Ibrahim Way, Abuja) as delegates and guests unwind and familiarize themselves with the ambience of the city.

Serious business begins the next day – Thursday, March 30, 2023, beginning from 10.00 am WAT – with the formal registration and accreditation of conferees, guests and affiliated organisations.

According to the CPC Chair, the Opening Ceremony of the 3rd AGC of the NBAWF will feature a Keynote Address by a yet unnamed but highly accomplished professional, as well as Goodwill Messages from a number of distinguished personalities – including the First Lady of Imo State.

Opening day panel discourses, Dr. Dada said, will explore the following issues, among others:

– Accelerating the female lawyer’s career through technology, and the impact of technology in the practice of law. This is aimed at bridging the digital divide and gender gap in the technology space;

– Equity Unveiled, ie making the distinction between ‘Equity’ and ‘Equality’. This conversation, Dr. Dada explained, will also address the question of attrition in the fortunes of women in law practice (as well as female-led law firms and other organizations) and whether technology can change certain prevailing cultures, especially those that militate against the advancement of women in law and in society as a whole.

– When they return from break for the second part of Day One, Dr. Dada said, delegates will deliberate on outlooks and trends that impact on official policy as it relates to the inclusion of women in the scheme of things, both in the public and private sectors of national life.

All is not about intellectual engagement, however, Dr. Dada informed the press parley; the opening Conference day is scheduled to come to a close with a Dinner at which the aforementioned State Leads will intimate their learned colleagues on their activities and the current status of NBAWF programmes and projects in their respective states and localities. This will be followed by an informal discourse on the appropriate modes of dress at the Bar (in the form of a mini fashion parade to drive home the point!).

The second and final full day of the Conference, Dr. Dada said, will feature a wide-ranging panel discussion on collaborations between the NBAWF and sister-organisations such as the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA); the New York State Bar (and in particular its gender-specific and tech-specific organs); the Institute of African Women in Law; and representatives of the United Nations and ECOWAS (the Economic Community of West African States) among others.

Of particular interest to younger female lawyers, Dr. Dada concluded by saying, will be the final session of the Conference, namely, a training workshop on data privacy and protection, and other related issues around cyperspace – such as identity management, intellectual property, and cybercrime. Far from being a one-off, she added, the training will be an ongoing process transcending the forthcoming Conference, in view of its scope.

The signing of the Communique will bring the 3rd NBAWF Annual General Conference in Abuja to a close.

Further information about the modalities and logistics of the Abuja Conference – in terms of flights, accommodation and welfare of conferees and guests, registration, partnerships, etc. – were given by Ifeoma Ben. She told the media parley that registration for the Conference will be both online (at and on-site. Considering the fact this is the first such gathering in the Nigerian capital, Ben said, there has been a surge of interest among the nation’s fifty thousand plus female lawyers ( in terms of would-be participants) and corporate involvement. Among the organizations partnering with the NBAWF in the effort to deliver a successful and memorable Conference, Ben said, are hotels and airlines which have offered robust discounts to passengers and guests, as well as law firms and international organizations, etc. On arrival in Abuja, she disclosed, conferees will be conveyed from the city’s Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport to their respective hotels in branded buses.

Ukaegbu of the Media and Publicity Committee rounded off the information with a short summary of the categories and benefits of membership in the NBAWF – all of which is available on the Forum’s website.

In the question-and-answer session, and the separate one-on-one interviews which followed, the NBAWF Chairperson, Mrs. Okorocha and the CPC head, Dr. Dada fielded questions on a number of issues, among them :

– the effective distribution of Conference materials (in view of the unfortunate and scandalous episode at the 2022 NBA AGC at the Eko Atlantic City, Lagos, and the need to avoid a recurrence of said episode);
– provisions for conferees living with disability; and
– advancing the NBAWF’s zero-tolerance stance against sexual (and other forms of) harassment and gender-based discrimination.

In their respective responses, the two Chairpersons assured prospective conferees that the ‘scandal’ of Eko Atlantic City would not repeat itself, as Conference materials would be disbursed in an effective and seamless manner – courtesy of a ‘Situation Room’ that has been set up to deal with implementation and to anticipate any emergencies that might arise. Ditto, they said, for provisions for individuals with challenges of any kind. On the issue of harassment (some of which is far more insidious than blatant) Mrs. Okorocha and Dr. Dada recalled the policy document that was released at the 2021 NBA AGC in Port Harcourt during the immediate past administration of Mr. Olumide Akpata, and urged all stakeholders to avail themselves of its contents. They hastened to add, though, that the Abuja Conference would NOT be focusing at any length on issues of harassment or gender-based discrimination – as important as these issues undoubtedly are. Instead, as already said and as indicated by this year’s theme, the Conference will focus on the benefits of leveraging on tech for the empowerment and advancement of female lawyers.

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