The Nigeria Bar Association, NBA is currently being turbulated over the removal of Governor Nasir El-Rufai as a guest speaker at the annual NBA conference.
The decision of the NBA Conference planning committee to withdraw the invitation sent to the governor has prompted Bauchi and Yobe branches of the legal association to threaten to boycott the conference.
In separate statements issued on Friday by the two branches, the NBA branches expressed displeasure with the decision of the association’s leadership to withdraw an earlier invitation extended to El-Rufai, the Kaduna State governor, to speak at the event.
The branches described the decision as a contradiction to the pillars of natural justice on the presumption of innocent and fair hearing as enshrined in constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999.
The statement signed by Yobe State NBA chairman, Usman Lukman reads partly;
“At no time during the NEC meeting that our NEC members from Damaturu branch were afforded (the) right to vote on these resolutions which we consider as thin air, lies and deception against the person of Mal Nasir El-Rufai.”
The NBA branches therefore demand for another invitation be sent to the governor followed by an apology.
Although Paul Usoro, the NBA president, had penned an apology to El-Rufai, Lukman told newsmen on Saturday that nothing short of a reversal of the decision to withdraw the governor’s invitation would suffice.
“The decision should be reversed or we will boycott the conference,” Mr Lukman added.
Like their Jigawa and Yobe counterparts, the Bauchi branch of the NBA also dissociated itself from the decision of the NEC, saying it was based on “unscrupulous and unfounded allegations.”
In a statement signed by the Chairman and Secretary of the State’s branch, Abubakar Abdulhamid and Shamsuddeen Magaji, respectively, has described the NBA move to have breached an important part of the 1999 constitution.
The statement read partly; “The position taken by the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the Nigerian Bar Association has, without apology, contravened the position of Section 36 (1)(4) and (5) of Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) which envisage fair hearing and presumption of innocence.”
The branch therefore called on the NEC as well as the NBA leadership to apologise to lawyers for reaching “such (an) unpopular decision.”
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The decision to revert the invitation sent to the governor was followed several petitions penned up against the governor.
On Thursday of last week, the leadership of the NBA withdrew the invitation sent to the governor to be The first guest speaker at the 60th edition of the NBA annual conference and the first virtual edition of the conference.
Reacting to the decision, Governor El-Rufai as described it as an “unfortunate embrace of injustice.”
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