By Rasheed Sobowale
The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) in its Pre-AGC meeting has announced the withdrawal of an invitation to Kaduna State governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, by the 2020 Annual General Conference Planning Committee.
The ongoing virtual NEC meeting led by the outgoing president of the NBA, Paul Usoro, is the customary Pre-AGC NEC meeting and it will be the last of Usoro, SAN led NBA administration.
With participants from all of 125 branches of the NBA, the NEC is the highest decision making organ of the body after the AGM.
The decision, according to NBA, will be communicated to the governor.
The National Executive Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association at its ongoing meeting resolves that the invitation to the Kaduna State Governor, H.E. Nasir El-Rufai by the 2020 Annual General Conference Planning committee be withdrawn and decision communicated to the Governor.
— Nigerian Bar Association (@NigBarAssoc) August 20, 2020
Vanguard had earlier reported that some lawyers on social media have queried the inclusion of Kaduna State governor, Nasir El-Rufai as one of the key speakers in the 60th annual NBA Conference.
Human right lawyer, Femi Falana, SAN in a letter to the Chairman, Technical Committee, Conference Planning Committee, Nigerian Bar Association, Professor Konyinsola Ajayi SAN, also called on the association to remove el-Rufai’s name on the list of speakers for the event over the Southern Kaduna crisis.
Mr Falana reminded the committee that a similar decision was taken back in 2016 when lawyers were mobilised to boycot all courts in the country to protest the disobedience of court orders by some officials and agencies of the Federal Government and the administration of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) under the leadership of el-Rufai.
He had also pleaded with the committee not to give its platform to someone who has a penchant for promoting impunity.
The conference which is expected to commence from 26th through 29th August 2020 was planned to be held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Reacting to the latest development, a strong critic of the governor, Chidi Odinkalu, posted on his twitter handle; “#Breaking: The National Executive Committee (NEC) of @NigBarAssoc has just voted to #[email protected] from #NBAAGC2020 & CancelElRufai2020, so he will have time to focus on #SouthernKadunaMassacre.”
#Breaking: The National Executive Committee (NEC) of @NigBarAssoc has just voted to #DePlatform @elrufai from #NBAAGC2020 & #CancelElRufai2020, so he will have time to focus on #SouthernKadunaMassacre.
— Chidi Odinkalu (@ChidiOdinkalu) August 20, 2020
Also, Yemi Omodele, reacting to the committee’s decision said; “sincerely speaking I support the decision of the NEC of NBA.
“Politics and legal practice are related but that does not mean that politicians should be deceiving and misleading us with their sugar-coated mouths.
“The incessant killings of innocent Nigerians in Kaduna make a lot of Nigerians annoyed. What has the rejected participant done to stop the killings?
“Has the APC government delivered their promises to us? Are we turning our conference to a political campaign ground? I think the rejected participant should have a rethink about his administration. The position of NBA is a signal to him.”