As part of efforts to deepen engagement with the legal community towards ensuring that the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) meets the aspirations of its members and in fulfilment of his promise to routinely interact with the membership of the Association, the NBA President, Mr. Olumide Akpata on Thursday, 24th September 2020 held an interactive session with Legal Practitioners in Kano State and also paid courtesy visits on the Chief Judge and the Governor of the State.
At the interactive session, representatives of key interest groups in the NBA namely: Law Officers Association of Nigeria (LOAN), International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), Muslim Lawyers Association of Nigeria (MULAN), Christian Lawyers’ Fellowship of Nigeria (CLASFON), and Young Lawyers Forum (YLF), raised various issues which affect them specially and solicited the NBA President’s attention to their affairs and their plights. The NBA President in his response thanked representatives of the interest groups and assured them of the commitment of the NBA to making the Bar work for its members and general public through consistent engagement and deliberate steps towards resolving the challenges.
At the courtesy call on the Hon. Chief Judge of Kano State – Hon. Justice Nura Umar, the Chief Judge decried the disobedience to court orders by law enforcement authorities, falling standards of law practice and legal education while advocating for increased working relationship between the Bar and the Bench in Kano State and the country at large. The NBA President thanked the Chief Judge for receiving him in audience and pledged the NBA’s commitment to the resolution of the issues raised, pointing out that most of them formed part of his campaign manifesto which the NBA under his leadership would be addressing.
At the visit to the Government House, the Hon. Attorney General of the State, M.A. LAWAN in a welcome address highlighted the collaborative efforts between the State Governor and Bar as illustrated through his support to the 2017 NBA-AGC, the establishment of the Kano Division of the Court of Appeal and appointment of a very active Bar Man as the Attorney General of the State.
In responding, the NBA President appreciated the Governor of Kano State for his support to the Bar over the years. He however made it clear that the welfare of members of the Association must be made a priority with particular reference to the staff of the State Ministry of Justice. He further emphasised the need for respect for the rule of law, need for a well-resourced judiciary and the need for a full-fledged judicial autonomy so that the judiciary can be in control of its finances. This, he observed would engender more independence for the judiciary.
The NBA President also promised that the NBA at the national level will continue to carry along the Kano state branch and sought the support of the Governor for the NBA branches in Kano, particularly, the Ungogo Branch which currently does not have a secretariat and other facilities to function optimally.
In his response, the Governor – Alhaji Abdullahi Umar Ganduje thanked the NBA President for the visit and affirmed the close working relationship of his administration and the Ministry of Justice, Kano State. He informed the NBA delegation that he is currently building a ceremonial court for the High Court in the State to host judicial related social functions. The Governor further decried the rumoured division in the NBA and underscored the need for members to eschew all forms of tribal and religious rhetorics which have the potency of dividing the prestigious Association.
The NBA president disabused the mind of the Governor on the rumoured division in the NBA and pointed out that the essence of visiting various States in Nigeria is to discuss the issues peculiar to different branches, in order to enable the Association live up to its primary responsibility to its members and the society at large.
Dr. Rapulu Nduka
Nigerian Bar Association