The Jigawa branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) says the withdrawal of the invitation extended to Nasir el-Rufai, Kaduna governor, to speak at the association’s annual conference is unfair.
The NBA withdrew its invitation to the governor following a petition by some lawyers under the aegis of Open Bar Initiative.
The group described the invitation as a “reward for misrule”, saying the governor represents the very antithesis of what they profess to defend.
The governor was also accused of threatening to abduct Gloria Ballason, a lawyer, “because she had criticised him in a news article” in 2016.
In a statement on Thursday, Garba Abubakar, chairman of the Jigawa NBA branch, said if the decision to withdraw the governor’s invitation is not rescinded, they would boycott the annual conference.
While describing them as frivolous, Abubakar argued that allegations against the governor had nothing to do with the national leadership of the association or the NBA at large.
“The Nigerian Bar Association Dutse Branch disagrees with the position of the national executive committee of the association held this evening, in its resolve to withdraw the earlier invitation sent to Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, the executive governor of Kaduna state to participate as a guest speaker in the forthcoming annual general conference of the association scheduled to take place from August 26-29, 2020 based on frivolous allegations,” the chairman said.
“The decision is quite unfair as the allegation against the governor has nothing to do with the NEC or NBA at large. Worse still, the governor has not been given the opportunity to defend himself on the allegations raised against him by a group within the association, before the resolution of this magnitude was reached against him. as the Nigerian Bar Association belongs to all.
“The motto of the association is promoting the ‘Rule of Law’ prudence and justice, therefore, demands that he be given the opportunity to defend himself before taking any decision that affects him.
“If complaints are to be judged on their face value and without due process, similar treatment is to [be] given to Governor of Rivers State Nyesom Wike who has serious allegations of abuse of human rights against him to the extent of the demolition of residential houses and place of worship without observing due process.
“On the strength of this, therefore, we call on the national body under President Usoro SAN to reverse the decision with immediate effect, else, the Nigerian Bar Association Dutse Branch will boycott the virtual annual general conference taking place in a few days to come.”
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