-Douglas Ogbankwa Esq.
A Benin Based Legal Practitioner has asked Lawyers Nationwide to boycott Online the 2020 Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Annual General Conference (AGC) ,holding at Portharcourt,in protest of the Impunity of the Rivers State Government in the Enforcement of the COVID-19 Regulations in the State.
Douglas Ogbankwa Esq.,who is also the Publicity Secretary of the NBA Benin Branch- the Lion Bar has said he will be boycotting the NBA AGC in Portharcourt with his Associates Nation Wide in Protest .
Douglas Ogbankwa Esq stated in a Statement:
“I will not give an Official imprimatur to an Impunity like the callous demolition of a Hotel of a Tax Paying Citizen of Rivers State and other Executive Recklessness , with out recourse to the Judicial Process .I will not be in Port Harcourt neither will I participate online ,I can tell you I have spoken to Colleagues nationwide and they share the same Sentiments “
He also stated that :
“The NBA National should cancel the Conference if we do not have another venue .Our Motto cannot be “To Protect the Rule of Law “,and we will be gathering in a State ,where the Governor who is our Member has a total disregard for the Rule Of Law”
The Statement concluded.
1 thought on “Lawyers should Boycott Online the NBA 2020 AGC in Portharcourt, if NBA does not change the Venue in Protest of Gov. Wike’s Impunity”
INTRODUCTION: To Barr Douglas Ogbakwa, I say his provocative statements are very wrong & highly irresponsible, as a Learned Counsel. I want him to know that the said acts of Gov Wike were said to be lawful. How would you prove that they were lawful, is is not to go to court? Or, you want to commit a greater offence, incitement. Infact, for comparison, Taiwan President made over 124 Regulations to combat Covid 19 in Taiwan, most of which violated the rights of its citizens but which are now in force as the fight against Covid 19 is akin to a country that declares a war. This is why Taiwan is safe & sound & the disease is under control.
Kindly note that Gov Wike is empowered by S. 44(2)(f) to the effect that any State Gov can acquire his property compulsorily if on a valid order of court or if the property is in a dangerous state or if it is injurious to health of man, animals or plants & S. 45(1)(a) that all what we call fundamental human right are suspended if such a right conflicts with public security, public safety, public ORDER, public morality & public health or such Govt action is for the protection of the rights & freedom of others – of the 1999 Constitution.
Also Ss 2, 4 & 8 of the Quarantine Act, Cap 02, LFN 2004 which vests powers on the President or Governors, any one of them suffices, to make rules & regulations to prevent the introduction & spread of dangerous diseases (Covid 19) from one state to another in Nigeria. Rivers State based on the above, enacted 6 Executive Orders, none of which had been challenged & consequently struck down by a court of law. This demonstrates that Governor Wike acted proactively & deserves our collective support & applause for rising to the challenge. If the Federal Govt had done one tenth of what Gov Wike had done, Covid 19 should not have risen beyond a few hundred. This brings to mind the warning from World Health Organisation (WHO) that in any case of pandemic, its better to make mistakes while acting fast to contain the virus than not acting at all because one was afraid of making mistakes.
The demolition of two hotels in Eleme brought diverse opinions & scathing criticisms & condemnations on the government. However, feom what I see, no one saw it wise to look at it from the government’s side nor to bother to ask why he disobeyed Executive Order 6. None also took time to look at the provisions of the said Executive Order 6, what it stipulates, the penalties & who enforces same. See also S. 4 (e) of Quarantine Act, 2004. It thus follows that if Executive Order 6 provides that any violator would have his property demolished, then that is what was done. The other is that the Nigeria Police abandoned the Taskforce, which means that the members left at the mercy of the public, which culminated in the deadly attack on the Eleme Taskforce when they got to Prodest Hotel according to confirmed reports. That premeditated attack left one of the members of the Taskforce dead as at Saturday 16th May, 2029, others injured, & some critical in Famo Hospital. In the words of Gov Wike “As we speak, nobody knows the fate of the lives of most of the victims of that brazen & deadly attack given the severity of the head injuries they sustained.” This was confirmed by the Medical Doctor in charge of Famo Hospitals, Eleme. It was this development that made Rivers State Government to bring the full weight of Executive Order 6 to bear on the hotels & after tge death of one of the victims of that attack, to acquire the said property. See S. 44 (2)(f) of the Constitution. This was a sorry replay of what Rt. Hon RC Amaechi as State Governor did to a building on Bende Street, Port Harcourt when the State Govt embarked upon urban renewal programmes & the Taskforce that was demolishing such structures that contravened the building statutes were attacked. He immediately ordered thy the building be demolished. The owners are presently in court challenging the said demolition. The same applies here as the best option is to approach the courts to challenge the action of government. Other States such as Delta, Kaduna, Abuja, Ekiti, Lagos, Kwara & Edo States within & to enforce d coronavirus lockdown, some like Ekiti State without any regulations demolished from business places to living accommodation & no one uttered a word. Do we have two standards to guide our society, one for the ruling party & another for the opposition? Its sickening. Now, even greyhounds, without any authority to speak for me or a larger section of the Bar is inciting people to boycott the NBA Conference billed to hold in Port Harcourt. I call on the Security Agencies to arrest & prosecute Barr Gouglas Ogbankwa for incitement (defined as By incitement, the person is provoked by strong passion or feeling to commit an offence. (See Kaza v State (2008) LPELR-1683 (SC) 1 @ 58;  7 NWLR (Pt. 1085) 125). If he is doing this after striking down the said Executive Orders, he would be in order. This nonsense must stop.
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