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The ‘National Executive Council’ [NEC] of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) held its quarterly meeting on Wednesday, 23 February, 2022. During the course of the meeting, various issues that affect the legal profession, the Bar, and the Nation was discussed such as conflicting court orders, the proposed amendment of the Legal Practitioners Act [LPA], the purported amendment of the Rules of Professional Conduct, [RPC], the welfare and wellbeing of legal practitioners, the ongoing NBA-NHIS National Health Insurance Scheme, the proposed NBA – Access to finance, harassment of Lawyers and the deplorable state of security in the country, amongst others.

At the end of extended deliberations, [NEC], arrived at the following resolutions and recommendations –

▪ Conflicting Court Orders
NEC resolves to petition members of the association involved in the unethical act to the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee [LPDC], to serve as a deterrence to others. NEC also agreed to publish the names of members affected.

▪ NBA Constitution 2015 (as amended)
NEC endorses steps taken by the President in reaction to the petition objecting to the amendment of the 2015 NBA Constitution [as amended].

 NBA-NEC Representatives in Statutory Bodies
NEC expresses concern over the seeming deliberate attempt by her representatives in statutory bodies to bring the association to disrepute.

NEC therefore resolves that all her members nominated to, recommended for, or appointed into boards, councils and statutory bodies by the association or by virtue of membership, shall be required to report on their activities in such bodies at the quarterly meetings of the National Executive Council.

▪ Justice Sector Reform
NEC commends the Dr. Babatunde Ajibade, SAN-led Judiciary committee for the well-organized, high-level and well attended Justice Sector Summit which held on the 25th of January, 2022. NEC adjudged the summit as timely and effectual and commits to the implementation of resolutions and recommendations reached at the summit.

▪ Amendment of the Legal Practitioners Act [LPA]
NEC approves the actions and decisions taken by the President on behalf of the association in relation to the harmonization process of the proposed Legal Practitioners Act (Amendment Bill). NEC further authorizes the President to deal with the outstanding issues in the best interest of the Bar.

▪ Online Payment of Bar Practice Fees [B.P.F]
Sequel to the newly introduced online payment of Bar Practice Fees [BPF], which commenced on the 1st of January, 2022, NEC commends the President’s assurance on its validity and credibility. NEC endorses the decision to provide detailed explanation on the online payment process in response to queries raised by the Chief Justice of Nigeria. [C.J.N].

▪ Purported Amendment of the Rules of Professional Conduct [RPC]
In view of the suit filed by the association against the Attorney General of the Federation [AGF], pending before Hon. Justice Okorowo of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, NEC notifies members that the matter is scheduled for Thursday, the 24th day of March, 2022. NEC encourages members to be present in court on the said date.

▪ National Executive Council [NEC] Meetings
NEC resolves to reinstate the holding of physical [NEC] meetings with the condition that Branches who do not attend, and do not cancel their hotel reservation will pay for same. NEC consequently agreed to hold the next meeting in June, 2022.

▪ NBA 2022 National Elections
NEC approves Saturday, the 16th day of July, 2022 for the conduct of the NBA National elections and also resolves to hold a “24-hour” time bound election.

NEC agrees to defer discussions on the proposed interim budget by the Electoral committee of the Nigerian Bar Association [ECNBA]. NEC resolves to discuss the interim budget at an Emergency Executive Council meeting scheduled to hold in two [2] weeks’ time.

▪ Appointments
In view of certain committees constituted by the President, NEC ratifies, approves and authorizes the appointment and constitution of the following Committees:

A. 2022 Technical Committee on Conference Planning [TCCP]
In a bid to deliver a world-class Annual General Conference [AGC] for the Association, the President on the 1st of February, 2022 announced
the constitution of a 12-member committee on conference planning
for the 2022 NBA-AGC. NEC hereby approves the appointment of the following members –
1) Tobenna Erojikwe – [Chairman]
2) Ronke Adeyemi – Member
3) Mustapha Imam – Member
4) Olumide Babalola – Member
5) Inemisit Dike – [Secretary]
6) Blessing Udofia-Poromon – Member
7) Orji A. Uka, – Member
8) Ada Obinna Edozie – Member
9) Rotimi Ogunyemi – Member
10) Jonathan Agbo – Member
11) Nta Ekpiken – Member
12) Omobayode Okelola – Member

B. Caretaker Committee for the NBA Young Lawyers Forum
In a bid to redefine and reconceptualize the aims and objectives of the NBA Young lawyers’ forum [NBAYLF], the President proposed the stand-down of the current council and the setting-up of a caretaker committee as well as an Advisory Committee for the NBA Young
Lawyers’ Forum. NEC thus approved the appointment of the following members of the Committee:

NBA – YLF Caretaker Committee
1) Muntasir Adamu [Lagos] – [Chairman]
2) Osayuki Agbonghae [Benin] – Member
3) Deborah Achanya [Minna] – [Secretary]
4) Uchenna Mbaeke [Enugu] – Member
5) Fadillah Lawal Adamu [Abuja] – Member
6) Abdulrahman El’Ibrany [Gombe] – Member
7) Isiaka Jamiu [Okehi] – Member
8) Izuchukwu Jeffery Oyinze [Onitsha]- Member
9) Christiane Aiyeetan [Lagos – Member
10) C.K Anyanwu [Aba]. – Member

NBA – YLF Advisory Board
1) Paul Daudu – [Chairman]
2) John Aruoture – Member
3) Inemesit Dike – Member
4) Opeywmi Akinkusote – Member

▪ Adoption of Reports
Reports by members of the National Executive Committee, Sections, Fora, standing and ad-hoc Committees were duly presented and adopted for deliberation and implementation except for the report by the NBA Remuneration Committee. NEC agreed to step-down discussions on the 128-page report. NEC however resolves to call an Emergency Meeting in two [2] weeks to discuss the Report by the Remuneration Committee.

▪ Harassment of Lawyers
On the harassment of lawyers, NEC lamented the insistent harassment of lawyers by security agencies in the course of carrying out their professional activities. NEC condemns the public tyranny, contempt and disrepute to the profession and the rule of law in general amongst law enforcement agencies.

As seen in a viral video on social media, NEC decries in its entirety the inhumane treatment, manhandling and physical assault of a legal practitioner by uniformed officers of the Nigerian Custom Service. NEC urges the NBA to embark on a nationwide campaign against the
continuous harassment of lawyers by security agencies and incessant violation of the Rule of Law in the country.

▪ State of the Nation
NBA condemns in the strongest terms possible, the worsening security situation in the Nigeria including the unending insurgency, ceaseless abductions, kidnappings and attacks on communities and individuals and in recent time, ritual killings of citizens.

NEC calls on governments at all levels and their agencies to devise creative ways to live up to their obligation of protecting the lives and properties of Nigerians.