Annual General Meeting Ends 2019 NBA Conference
In keeping with tradition, the activities and proceedings of the 2019 Annual General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) culminated in the Annual General Meeting, at which issues germane to the fortunes, progress of the association, and the welfare of its members, were discussed.
In his opening statement, the Association’s President, Paul Usoro, SAN, expressed satisfaction with the unprecedented turnout of delegates at the just-concluded 59th NBA Conference, which he interpreted as an expression of renewed confidence in the NBA leadership on the part of its teeming membership.
The President’s statement was followed by that of the Treasurer, Banke Olagbegi-Aloba, whose report was presumed as read, as directed by the President and adopted as such. Her report elicited a storm of comments about the Association’s finances as they stand at present. Issues of seeming discrepancies were highlighted by one member after another. Their demands for explanations were met by Usoro, to the satisfaction of the entire house – as attested to by the profuse commendations the Usoro-led administration received, as members described the executive’s one-year stewardship as a record of integrity and financial prudence. Reports by other members of the national executive council were also presumed as read and adopted.
These expressions of support came against the background of figures that were bandied about (especially by an online news portal, BarristerNG.com, under the byline of one Bridget Edokwe) just before the meeting commenced, as being spent by the Usoro-led executive on various items to the tune of N1, 543, 809, 558.00 (One billion, five hundred and forty-three million, eight hundred and nine thousand, five hundred and fifty-eight naira). The actual monies spent, the Bar President said, was just a fraction of that amount.
The adoption of reports was followed by respective reports by statutory bodies – beginning from that of the acting registrar-general of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), Lady Obiageli Azuka Azinge; the director-general of the Nigerian Law School, Prof. Issa Hayatu Chiroma; the commissioner of the Nigerian Law Reform Commission, Prof. Jummai Audi; the Executive Secretary and CEO of the National Human Rights Commission, Anthony Okechukwu Ojukwu, Esq.; the Director-General of the Legal Aid Council of Nigeria, Mr. Aliyu Bagudu Abubakar; and the Acting Director-General of the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, Prof. Paul Idornigie, SAN. On the NBA President’s directive, they each gave a summary of their respective organizations’ activities in the past one year and their current challenges – after which they fielded questions from the house.
Others who also presented reports included the national chairmen of the 3 statutory sections of the NBA – namely, the Section on Legal Practice (SLP) in the person of Dr. Miannaya Essien, SAN; SPIDEL (the Section on Public Interest and Development Law), Paul Ananaba, SAN; and the Section on Business Law (SBL), Seni Adio, SAN.
As the AGM wound to a close, the national bar drew the attention of the house on issues of special interest, namely, the appointment of auditors and trustees; amendment of the NBA’s constitution; and the financial year change.
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