On the 28th day of August 2020, the 30th President of the Nigerian Bar Association – Olumide Akpata was sworn in alongside other National officers of the Nigerian Bar Association.
At the epoch-making ceremony, the President of the Nigerian Bar Association articulated his plans for the Nigerian Bar Association. According to him, he and other National officers are hitting the ground flying.
Ten cardinal points from the said address are highlighted hereunder.
- The Need for Unity at the Bar
- Electoral Reforms
a. An imminent review of the 2020 elections and plans to institute urgent reforms of our electoral systems.
b. An audit of the 2016, 2018 and 2020 elections spearheaded by a Twelve-Man Electoral Audit and Reforms Committee, led by Ayo Akintunde, SAN.
c. A comprehensive collation of a database of lawyers and an improvement of the membership portal.
- Improved welfare for lawyers
a. Expansion and further deepening of the market for legal services in Nigeria in order to improve the financial standing of our members.
b. Establishment of a NBA Remuneration Committee to recommend feasible ways to improve the poor remuneration of legal practitioners.
c. Constitution of a NBA Task Force to determine the scope of legal work that is statutorily prescribed to be the exclusive preserve of Nigerian lawyers and to work out modalities for ensuring that only members of our Association get to do such work
d. Taking steps to engage the leadership of these organisations that encroach into the exclusive preserve of lawyers, and to prevail on them to refrain from the practice of encroaching into areas that are the exclusive preserve of lawyers.
e. Instituting actions in Court to stop such encroachments in court, where such engagements are not heeded to.
f. Ensuring the continuation of the NBA Members’ Life Assurance scheme. Negotiating a more favourable deal with our current insurance policy provider for an upward review of benefits to members.
g. Instituting a comprehensive health insurance scheme and establishing a medical health fund to help deserving members subscribe to the scheme.
h. Synergizing with the leadership of the various branches of the NBA in establishing working relationship with good hospitals across Nigeria in order to fashion out discounts on bills for members of our Association
- Stamp and Seal
a. Free two packs of 48 Stamps for all verified legal practitioners who pay their Bar Practising Fee on or before the 31st of March.
b. Further improvement on the Stamp and Seal application, collection process and the digitization of the stamp and seal.
- Protection of lawyers from harassment by security agencies
a. Taking steps to tackle menace of harassment and brutality of lawyers by the security agencies.
b. Strengthening the NBA Human Rights Institute.
c. Engaging the heads of the various security agencies in order to set the tone for a collaborative and mutually beneficial relationship between their respective agencies and our Association
d. Securing the assurances of the head of these security agencies to the effect that any officer of the security agencies found to have abused a lawyer would be sanctioned and such sanction made public
e. Bringing the full weight of the NBA to bear in challenging any instance of abuse and harassment of lawyers, where the engagements (as in 5d) fail.
f. Setting up of a special Lawyers’ Defence Fund to help provide free representation of lawyers who are financial members of the association and are victims of human rights violation by the securities agencies.
- Capacity building for members
- Improvement of the system of administration of justice
- Promotion and protection of the rule of law and respect for the fundamental rights of the citizenry
- Promoting an All-Inclusive Bar
a. An amendment of the NBA Constitution to accord statutory recognition to the Chairpersons of the NBA Women Forum, the NBA Young Lawyers’ Forum, the NBA Law Officers’ Forum and the NBA Corporate Counsel Forum.
b. Creation of an NBA Lawyers with Disabilities Forum and other important fora to ensure that all segments of our profession are carried along.
c. Ensuring adequate representation of young lawyers in all appointments.
- Ethics and Discipline of Members
a. Synergizing with the Body of Benchers in order to initiate a process that makes members of the NBA accountable.
b. Causing a review of our Rules of Professional Conduct and the amendment to the Legal Practitioners Act in line with modern trends.
Dr. Rapuluchukwu Ernest Nduka
NBA National Publicity Secretary