In response to the allegation made against the NBA President by Ms Carol Ajie,the Assistant Publicity Secretary of the NBA Akorede Habeeb Lawal has issued an explanation on the allegations which border on the President keeping three aides at the expenses of the association to the timing of the NEC meeting.
In his statement, he has indicated that Ms Ajie is on a mission of mudslinging because of the NBA refusing to appoint her as a member of the representative of the IBA in the Bar Issue Commission.
His statement is stated below.
For the record and for the benefit of our discerning members, I need to make the following official response to your allegations:
1.PRESIDENT’S PERSONAL ASSISTANTS
As rightly stated by you, the president of our association has three Personal Assistants. However, all these three gentlemen unlike what obtains in previous administration are on the payroll of the President and not the NBA. Mr. Usoro pays their salaries and hotel bills.
- SALARIES AND WI-FI
Upon inception of office, we were faced with huge financial challenges. Account was literally in red. The recently published Financial statement evidences this fact and this affected internet services at the secretariat for about a week or two. This internet service has however been restored since September.
It has to be stated that the internet services on the President’s floor is being paid for by Mr. President. And just so that the burden on the NBA’s empty purse is reduced, Mr. President picks all his bills including hotel and travel expenses.
We also had a salary backlog for the month of August inherited from previous administration. We needed to take some steps to block leakage while also ensuring that we address our over bloated wage bill. For this reason, we had to disengage the Executive director of the NBA whose salary was in excess of a million naira and who apparently knew nothing of the demands of her office.
We’ve paid the August and September salaries. We’ve met with the hardworking staff of our association, we laid bare our constraints and they fully understand these challenges. Before the end of this week, we hope to settle the October salary.
- NEC MEETING
The relevant provision of our constitution prescribes that NEC meeting be held every quarter. The last quarter of every year is from September to December. We’ve sent out the requisite notices to NEC members for December 6, 2018. No provision of the constitution has been breached.
- PWC ENGAGEMENT
The engagement of PWC was decided by the national officers in view of the state of our financial health and the need to report same to our members through NEC. We hope to secure the due ratification of NEC in accordance with our constitution.
We’ve pledged financial transparency and we are committed to issuing financial report every quarter. The report of the first quarter shall be published before NEC on December 6 and the cost of services rendered by PWC shall be adequately captured.
- PAUL AND EFCC
The members of our association have a right to know that contrary to your position, Mr. Usoro faces no money laundering charge.
What you refer to is a civil suit between Akwa Ibom State Government and EFCC and others and the NBA President is even not a party in this suit. Your erroneous information is sourced from averments in EFCC pleading. No lawyer worth his or her gown should believe in pleadings in a case where no evidence has been called.
This calls into question your motive for deliberately spinning this spurious narrative which is unbecoming of a lawyer.
- YOUR MOTIVE
Would you like to inform the fine members of our association that your motive stems from your attempt to force yourself on the NBA leadership as the Bar’s International Bar Association (IBA) representative and National Judicial Council (NJC) nominee and we rejected you?
Would you also like to inform members that you were recommended as the NBA representative on the board of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) because of your advertised human right struggles, but you rejected same on the basis that it may take some time before the NHRC board is inaugurated and that you may only accept to represent us at NHRC as a bonus to your appointments at NJC and IBA?
Lest I forget, you already have a prepared suit where you are asking the court to enforce your rights to be the nominee of NBA at IBA and NJC.
Anyway, the attached documents speak for themselves.
Akorede Habeeb Lawal- Assistant Publicity Secretary-NBA