The President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr Olumide Akpata, on Wednesday, declared that the association remain one indivisible entity and can never be divided along with religion and sectional lines.
The newly elected NBA boss, who spoke in Abuja shortly after an interactive session with northern stakeholders of the association said, “All is well with us at the NBA and we are doing well.
“If there is still any aggrieved group, we will send apologies to them. The NBA has not split along ethnic or religious line. We remain focused because expectations are high,” he said.
According to Akpata, the NBA is not divided and remain committed to building a strong Nigeria, adding that, “There are 40 chairmen of the association from the north in the meeting and we are affirming unequivocally that we are one association and by extension, one Nigeria”.
A communique issued at the end of the meeting read by the Acting Chairman of the Arewa Lawyers Forum, Mr Elisha Yakubu Kurah, stated that legal practitioners from the geopolitical zone, have unanimously agreed to support Akpata’s leadership of the NBA, and restated their true allegiance to the NBA
“We disassociate ourselves from the New NBA or any splitter group whatsoever making the waves in recent weeks as a new association/body of lawyers in Nigeria.
“We understand that the NBA has historically and in recent times been fraught with several challenges but we are indeed assured that the NBA under the leadership of Mr Olumide Akpata will surmount these challenges and birth an all-inclusive Bar that will work for all Lawyers in Nigeria regardless of any part of the divide one may belong.
“We were gratified to hear the NBA President during his inaugural address restate that the Bar that he wants to lead henceforth is one that is united on all fronts and which recognises that our diversity is our greatest strength.
“We, therefore, urge all lawyers, not only of the Northern Geopolitical Zone, including those behind the establishment of the NNBA but indeed all legal practitioners in Nigeria to please come together to support Mr Olumide Akpata and the new national officers to ensure that they deliver on all their core mandates whilst indeed putting the rule of law, the welfare and capacity development of our members at the forefront,” Kurah stated.
Dissatisfied with the alleged peddling of sectional interest by the NBA, some northern Lawyers of like minds have decided to form new ‘Nigerian Bar Association’ with the aim of protecting their interests.
They said: “What has been happening recently has exposed the inability of the NBA to manage and contain the heterogeneity of its members as well as their various interests.
”It’s penal powers have been deployed discriminatively on the basis of ethnicity and regionalism. The New Nigerian Bar Association have been watching the activities of the NBA, an association we all looked forward to joining with high hopes before being called to the Nigerian Bar, forcing idiosyncrasies of few on the majority of its members especially in recent times,” the concerned northern lawyers stated.