By Onozure Dania
The Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, has inaugurated its Women Forum in a bid to increase active participation of women in the profession and national development.
Speaking during the inaugural meeting of the forum’s executive, the President of the association, Mr Paul Usoro, SAN, said that the meeting was to set the tone for the work the executives were to do, to buttress the expectations of the association from each member as it relates to their roles individually and collectively; and to create a roadmap towards achieving the goals of the association through the forum.
The president noted that the constitution of the NBA mandates that there should be women’s forum to address issues that affect women. “Men sometimes presume that it is the same thing that affects them that affects women but gradually the society is letting us know that there are certain peculiarities and dynamics that affect women, to which we must begin to pay attention. It is important to have a forum where these things can be discussed and addressed.
“We have just finished our Annual General Conference, AGC and one of the very hot sessions was the session on bullying and sexual harassment. A lot of female lawyers spoke passionately about their experiences and the general consensus was that the NBA must do something about it.
“With this forum, we will fashion out steps which should be taken in the context of the conversations held at that AGC session, which will help protect women.”
Usoro noted the challenges faced by women aiming for the top at law firms or other organisations.
“The question to ask is: why do we have few women working as partners in top law firms?” he queried.
The NBA president hinted that considering the numerous challenges women face, a forum of this nature will sensitise the people to what these issues are and encourage women not to give up.
He said, “The Forum will also build that work force. Women have a lot to contribute not only to the profession but to national development,” he added.
Also speaking at the event, the newly appointed chairperson of the NBA Women Forum, Prof. Oluyemisi Bamgbose, SAN, said the forum was going to look into issues that are of interest to female lawyers in Nigeria.
“We are going to also see how we can effectively network. With the NBA Women Forum, we are going to effectively network, share our problems and see how we can see to issues affecting the interests of female lawyers in Nigeria.
“We are also going to discuss issues that relate to females, which they will be interested in. We will be having workshops, conferences and different programmes to address these issues. The main aim is to effectively coordinate female lawyers in Nigeria,” Bamgbose said.
The President of the NBA, on September 7, 2019 constituted a new leadership for the NBA Women Forum.
The executive is made up of Professor Oluyemisi Bamgbose, SAN – Chairperson, Chinyere Okorocha, Vice Chairperson, Nsidibe Aideyan, Secretary and Hajia Safiya Balarabe as Treasurer.