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Cracks In NBA As Splinter Group Form NNBA

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Swearing new SANs Cracks In NBA As Splinter Group Form NNBA

The controversy created by the dis-invitation of Kaduna Governor, Nasir El-Rufai by the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) as speaker at its recent annual general conference is getting messier as a splinter group, New Nigeria Bar Association (NNBA), has emerged.
The move has, however, elicited mixed reactions from legal practitioners.
In a statement by conveners of the NNBA, Nuhu Ibrahim and Abdulbasit Suleiman, both members of the Kaduna branch of NBA, yesterday, the group said wide consultation had started across northern Nigeria with senior lawyers to actualise the formation of the new association.
“Members of this association have commenced consultations with very senior lawyers of Northern Nigeria extraction and those practising therein with the view to constituting the trustees and for purposes of fixing date for formal inauguration of the association.
“The inaugural date of the association being apolitical and geared at taking and protecting the interests of lawyers of like minds shall be communicated.
“The recent rumblings from the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) is leaving much to be desired within the ranks of concerned lawyers, especially from northern part of the country.
“What has been happening recently has exposed the inability of the NBA to manage and contain the heterogeneity of its members as well as their various interests. Its penal powers has been deployed discriminatively on the basis of ethnicity and regionalism.
“As a body of lawyers who have undergone training towards ensuring the promotion and protection of Human rights and liberties, the NBA is supposed to live above sentiments, regionalism and discrimination on any basis and of any kind.
“Therefore, the NBA cannot afford to be seen not to be upholding the rights and freedom of its own members if at all, it should be seen to be practicing what it preaches. As the Hausa saying goes: “Idan Kura tana maganin zaho, ta yi ma kanta’ (If Hyena has cure for diarrhoea let her use it for herself).
“The New Nigerian Bar Association have been watching activities of the NBA, an association we all looked forward to joining with high hopes before being called to the Nigerian Bar, forcing idiosyncrasies of few on the majority of its members, especially in recent times.
“No wonder, NBA NEC, which is the highest decision-making organ of the association failed to uphold the fundamental principles of fair hearing which in itself, is the fundamental aspect of rule of law, on the allegations against the Executive Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai as were contained in a petition by Chidi Odinkalu Esq., a long time foe of His Excellency and a lawyer of eastern extraction, but the NBA failed to extend the same treatment to Southern invitees who were also petitioned and are also alleged to have committed similar or more human rights abuses than those alleged against Mallam El-Rufai.”
The group said NNBA members, gleaning from the above Constitutional provision feel their interests were no longer taken into consideration in major decisions of the NBA.
Reacting, Paul Ananaba (SAN) said NBA is better and stronger together.
“There are avenues for settling grievances rather than forming new associations. Besides, the issues at stake are not legal issues per se. What is the guarantee that similar issues will not sprout in the new association. It then means we may end up having over 10 Bar associations. I am against it and I advise the proposers to do away with the idea.”
For Dr. Babatunde Ajibade (SAN) and Abiru Akingbolu, the emergence of the factional group portends a bad omen.
On why the move should not be allowed to gain traction, Ajibade, presidential candidates at the last NBA elections, said: “If we fail to stand together as a profession, as we appear to be doing now, we will be unable to withstand the threats and challenges ahead.”
But senior lawyer, Mr. Seyi Sowemimo okayed the splitter group and described the action of the lawyers as a welcome development.
“I am not surprised; I know it will get to this. What will you expect if the leadership of an association is not transparent, association’s election being marred with fraud?”
To me, it is a welcome development, this will bring about healthy competition for the rivalry groups,” he said.
Bayo Akinlade, former chairman, NBA Ikorodu branch said members of the group were free to set up their own association but to be like an NBA, they need the National Assembly to give it statutory flavour.

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Kogi Government Writes US Over Electoral Fraud Allegation

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images 12 3 Kogi Government Writes US Over Electoral Fraud Allegation

KGS/GO/ADM/25/II/XX.X
16 September 2020
The Ambassador Of The United States of America
Embassy of The United States of America
1075 Diplomatic Drive
Central Business District
Abuja, NIGERIA
Your Excellency,
RE: VISA RESTRICTIONS ON INDIVIDUALS AND INCLUSION OF THE 2019 KOGI STATE GUBERNATORIAL ELECTIONS IN US STATE DEPARTMENT LIST OF ALLEGEDLY COMPROMISED ELECTIONS – A LETTER OF PROTEST
1. I have been so directed by His Excellency, Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State and I hereby make and forward this Letter of Protest to you in respect of the matters contained in it.
2. The Kogi State Government became aware of a United States Government list of individuals who received US visa restrictions for alleged electoral malpractices via a Press Statement to that effect posted on your Embassy website at https:///32vD96M. In your own words, the still unnamed individuals are cited as guilty of ‘acts of violence, intimidation, or corruption that harmed Nigerians and undermined the democratic process.’ They are also alleged to ‘have operated with impunity at the expense of the Nigerian people and undermined democratic principles and human rights.’
3. You also noted in the Statement that the sanctions are derived from unspecified misconducts by the said individuals which extend from the February/March 2019 General Elections in Nigeria through the off-cycle November 2019 gubernatorial elections in Kogi and Bayelsa to the as yet unheld governorship contests in Edo and Ondo States. Please note that for the purposes of this protest letter we are only interested in the citations to the extent that they are referable to Kogi State and her citizens.
4. For the most part, we concede that elections in Nigeria are complex affairs which will continue to require improvements for the foreseeable future. The 2019 Kogi State Gubernatorial Election was also not without its challenges. However, it is also crystal clear from critical and composite analyses of the records (official, media, observers, etc) of the November 16, 2020 polls that regrettable incidents were limited to a few polling units, while the overwhelmingly larger portions of the ballot were free, fair and credible.
5. Further, and in line with Nigerian law, the few political parties and individuals who alleged widespread electoral malpractices had free rein to contest the outcome in court. They vigorously litigated their claims over a grueling 9-month period, through a 3-step hierarchy of courts, to the inescapable conclusion at the Supreme Court of Nigeria that the said elections satisfactorily complied with the Nigerian Constitution and the Electoral Act.
6. Our concern right now is not the prerogative of the United States of America to impose entry restrictions on anyone, for any or no reason at all, which prerogative remains unfettered, but the room for atrocious misinformation which the timing of your Press Statement and the mention of the Kogi elections therein has created in our state.
7. For the February and March 2019 General elections, your advisory came out in July 2019, long before the Supreme Court delivered her judgments in the petitions against those elections, including challenges to President Muhammadu Buhari’s reelection. The presumption is that in spite of your intervention, the Supreme Court still discovered no merit in the petitions and dismissed them accordingly.
8. In our case, ie, Kogi State, you made the tactical decision to release the update shortly after the Supreme Court delivered judgments in the 4 petitions which made it before her. Amongst a plethora of well-reasoned pronouncements the Apex Court dismissed the said petitions for failing to prove their allegations and for having no ‘scintilla of merit’. The inference from your timing is that the judgment is somehow tainted and did not meet the justice of the case, thereby casting aspersions, not only on the Nigerian Judiciary, but on the second term mandate freely bestowed on His Excellency, Governor Yahaya Bello by the good people of Kogi State.
9. We find this unacceptable, and we protest your presumption. The least you could have done, if indeed this is about democracy and human rights as claimed, is create room, no matter how slim, for fair hearing. As it is now, partisan speculation as to who is indicted, who is not and for what, has become cudgels, furiously swung in the media space by all comers. Your action has therefore added abundant grist to the rumour mills and electrified the merchants of fake news.
10. For instance, a United States based blog, saharareporters.com, has made inflammatory publications in which they named His Excellency, Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State, among others, as a definite recipient of your visa restriction. Though you have named no names, accuracy is of no moment to them, just base political expediency, and they quote unnamed US State Department sources to give credibility to what is otherwise unproven.
11. Also, other players in the Kogi political space, including candidates and officials of opposition political parties which lost the elections and could not prove their allegations in court as aforesaid have now latched onto this action, holding media conferences and making press releases, claiming that the United States has justified their wild allegations and conspiracy theories where the courts and the administrative quarters failed. This is utterly regrettable.
12. Let it be noted that we are not challenging your visa bans in any way, whoever they may affect and for how long, but we do register the strongest protest possible as a State to the collateral and unwarranted interference in our political and social processes which it represents. You have reignited already dying embers of discord around the February/March General Elections and the November 16 Kogi State Gubernatorial Elections of 2019. This has invariably made our usual post-election duty of reconciliation with fair-minded political opponents all the more harder. We are hurt and disappointed.
13. Digressing a little beyond Kogi State to our contiguous states of Edo and Ondo, we wish to advice generally that by so preemptively interfering in their elections, both of which are yet to hold, events on ground since your publication indicate that the United States has foisted on our political process, not the expected caution or good behaviour by politicians which may have been your intent, but further calcification of hardened attitudes, more violent polemics, and increased sabre-rattling.
14. Even now every camp is trying to spin your action as evidence of US support for themselves and hostility to their opponents. Everyone involved in those elections is now stoked with an aura of invincibility and hellbent on displaying all manners of outrageousness on election day to prove their opponents the aggressors. After all, with sanctions looming over everyone like the Sword of Damocles, every stakeholder, including the security agencies are on tenterhooks and less likely to be lively. We fear you may have done our democracy more harm than good with this action, and we consider it most unfortunate indeed.
15. In conclusion, we believe that if the United States of America, despite her commanding heights and much longer experience as the acclaimed Bastion of Democracy in the world, is still locked in a fight to defend the integrity of her own electoral processes to this very day, then she ought to accord greater empathy, more civility and much less disruption, to nascent democracies.
16. Please be assured of our high regards always.
MRS FOLASHADE ARIKE AYOADE, Ph.D
Secretary to the Government of Kogi State

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There’ s Need To Take Another Look At Amended NBC Code – Osinbajo

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images 11 4 There’ s Need To Take Another Look At Amended NBC Code - Osinbajo

Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo says the Federal Government needs to revisit the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) amendment of the broadcasting code.
Osinbajo said this on Friday during a session with Nick Clegg, vice-president of Facebook’s policy and communication.
The code, which has stirred a lot of controversy, seeks to regulate content exclusivity, enforce content sharing and empower the NBC to determine prices at which content is sold to sub-licensees by rights holders.
Also, the fine for hate speech has been increased from N500,000 to N5 million.
Osinbajo said there is need to take a second look at the code so as not to “stifle the work of hardworking, creative people”.
“The NBC code is one where the is now activity around trying to take a second look at it. Those who say that it is pro-competition, it is one I think we should take a second look at,” Osinbajo said.
“Basically, it says if you have a licenced product for TV, you’re expected to share it with other platforms. It’s one which I understand the argument of those who say this is a violation of copyright and intellectual property which is a very strong point and this is why I think we have to take a second look at it and see whether there are ways of moderating it to be more acceptable so as not stifle the work of very very hardworking, creative people.”
Ikra Aliyu Bilbis, chairman of the NBC board, had accused Lai Mohammed, minister of information and culture, of amended the country’s broadcasting code “unilaterally” without involving relevant stakeholders.

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Visa Ban : Don ’t Disrespect Nigeria , FG Tells US , UK

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images 8 4 Visa Ban : Don ’t Disrespect Nigeria , FG Tells US , UK

The Federal Government has frowned on the statements issued by the United States and the United Kingdom on the governorship elections holding in Edo State on Saturday (today) and Ondo State on October 10.
It also expressed concern over the visa restrictions imposed by the US on unnamed politicians for alleged involvement in electoral violence during the Kogi and Bayelsa states governorship polls.
Both US and the UK had vowed sanctions on anyone who perpetrated violence during the Edo and Ondo elections, including imposing visa restrictions and blocking them from accessing their assets and prosecuting them under international law.
But reacting to the comments of its western allies on Friday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement stated that it had taken note of their concerns regarding the elections in Edo and Ondo.
The government explained that the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), has continually urged all parties and contestants to peacefully conduct themselves before, during, and after the elections.
The statement signed by the MFA spokesman, Ferdinand Nwonye, added that Buhari also supported patriotic non-governmental initiatives such as the Abdusalami Abubakar Peace Committee.
Furthermore, it explained that there were ample provisions in the nation’s laws to sanction violators and perpetrators of electoral violence and fraud.
However, it admonished the UK and US to cooperate with the relevant agencies by providing them concrete evidence of observed misconduct “to allow our laws and regulations to take their course.”
The statement added, “It would be considered disrespectful of the sovereignty of Nigeria for any outside authority to sit in judgment over the conduct of our citizens and apply punitive measures such as visa restriction, unilaterally.”
The FG further highlighted that the responsibility for the conduct of elections in Nigeria solely resides with the Independent National Electoral Commission and State Independent Electoral Commissions.
“The Federal Government, and especially the President, is committed to providing all necessary logistic, financial, and security support to the electoral process.
“While we appreciate the support and encouragement of our international partners such as the European Union, we urge our equally valued partners such as the UK and US to cooperate with our relevant agencies by providing them whatever concrete evidence of observed misconduct to allow our laws and regulations to take their course,” the government stated.
Finally, the government expressed solidarity with the American government and people as regards their forthcoming election “which we hope will be free from interference and violence.”

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