Proposed NBA constitution amendment suspended, Akpata says

The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), has stepped down its proposed constitution amendment following the lawsuit filed by the suspended General Secretary, Mrs Joyce Odua of the association.

The president of the NBA, Mr. Olumide Akpata announced the decision this at the Yearly General Meeting (AGM) of the association held at the Eko Atlantic City, Victoria Island.

Akpata had earlier chronicled many areas of the NBA constitution that need to be amended and noted that he has no personal interest in any of it.

In his explanation on reason for the suspension, he explained that the association received two notices of the filed suit.

“I have no direct interest in any of the proposed amendment. It is to bring to your notice that, one of our colleagues has gone to court to challenge the proposed constitution amendment.

“The NBA has been served and I was served personally. So, it would be difficult for us to proceed on the amendment. The first notice is from the suspended General Secretary, while the second notice is from the acting General Secretary, Mr. Victor Nwogo. As ministers in the temple of justice, I proposed that we step down constitution amendments,” he said.

He, thereafter, asked for a voice vote on the issue and the lawyers replied tumultuously ‘ayes’. There was no dissenting opinion on the issue.

It was however gathered that the decision to suspend the amendments was sequel to the decision of a Federal High Court, Abuja, which set aside the suspension of the General Secretary Odua.

In response to the order of the court, the NBA president said that they have filed an application at the Court of Appeal, Abuja, to restrain Mrs Oduah from giving effect to the Federal High Court order, which reversed the NBA-NEC’s ratification of her suspension.

Along with its Notice of Appeal, the NBA also filed an injunction, pending appeal, suspending the effect of or any actions or steps that may give effect to the court order under appeal at the appellate court.

The NBA had through its lawyers argued that the lower court, in reaching its decision, erred by failing to take into account the reliefs sought in Oduah’s originating summons in making a determination as to whether the ratification alters the subject-matter of the proceedings.

Akpata further said that the association will not be able to do anything on the proposed constitution amendment until determination of all applications in court filed by the two sides, particularly, the decision of the Appeal Court in the matter.

In a related development, lawyers on Thursday embarrassed the association over collection of bags and other conference materials, while the AGM was on-going.

Lawyers in their numbers thronged BWC Hotel and grounded its services. It was earlier announced by the president that all delegates would get their bag delivered to them wherever they are.

A bewildered Akpata informed the meeting of the matter, while also expressing his disgust over the conduct of the lawyers on the development.

He said: “Lawyers have taken over BWC Hotel, while we are here at the AGM. Lawyers are sitting on the tables and desks of the hotel.
It has become impossible for the hotel to conduct their businesses.”

Owing to the development, Akpata sought and got the permission of other lawyers at the AGM and dispatched the First Vice President of the association, John Aikpokpo-Martins to BWC Hotel, to join officials in-charge of distribution of conference materials to bring the situation under control.

Akpata said that any lawyer found complicit in the looting of the conference materials collection centre would be prosecuted.

“I hereby assure the generality of Nigerian legal practitioners that any lawyer found complicit in vandalisation of conference booths, theft of phones, assault on officials will be prosecuted.

“I apologise to all. We let them understand that that is not the reflective of who we are. We will get experts to looked into the video,” he assured.


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