NBA Lagos Branch Lays Foundation Stone for Ultra-Modern Secretariat
The Lagos Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) took a giant leap towards boosting its profile and fortunes as the nation’s Premier Bar Branch with the ground-breaking and foundation laying ceremony for its proposed new Secretariat and Bar Centre. The impressive turnout at the event was a reflection of the high level of anticipation that has greeted this project since it was first mooted. The occasion, held at Abayomi Sonuga Street in the Lekki Phase 1 axis of Lagos was graced by leading lights in the Lagos Branch and beyond, most notably the national President of the NBA, Paul Usoro, SAN, along with his wife, Mrs. Mfon Usoro; the chairman of the 2019 NBA Annual General Conference, Mr. Gbenga Oyebode; MFR, the chairman of the building committee for the project, Dr. Wale Babalakin, SAN, along with Mr. Wale Akanni, SAN, a senior partner at the law firm of Wale Babalakin & Co; Mrs. Funke Agbo, SAN; Mrs. Abimbola Akeredolu, SAN; Mr. Ebun Olu-Adegboruwa,SAN; the outgoing chairman of the Lagos Bar Branch, Chukwuka Ikwuazom and some members of the outgoing executive such as the Vice-Chairman, Mrs. Bolatumi Animashaun, the General Secretary, Ikechukwu Uwanna, Esq.; a former chairman of the Lagos Bar branch, Alex Muoka, among others.
One of the highlights of the occasion was a presentation on the design of the proposed secretariat building by Mr. Gabriel Nwapa, the lead consultant for Gabonn Associates, the company that won the bid to design and construct the building. With the aid of visual aids, including animations, he began with an overview of the exterior and interior of what promises to be an elegant, cavernous and efficient building conforming to modern architectural paradigms. His organization, he said, would go out of its way to deliver an architectural masterpiece that would truly reflect the profile of the nation’s Premier Bar Branch. While acknowledging the limitation of space on which the proposed building would stand, and the ways in which this would affect the efficient and safe parking of vehicles. To maximize the available space, therefore, he said, the proposed facility would have an under-croft (which doubles as the ground floor) for about 28 vehicles. Attendees will be able to choose between the so-called ‘Park-and-Ride’ or park their vehicles at, say, the Lagos High Court Premises at Igbosere, from where they could board NBA buses to the NBA Bar Centre. The building, he said, would consist of two auditorium floors – the second floor, which has a 1030-seater auditorium, and a mezzanine floor, which has a 400-seater auditorium – as well as sub-floors for offices, libraries, law archives and so forth. To accommodate attendees to NBA Conferences from outside Lagos, the building would also consist of four hotel-style suites, complete with ultra-modern en-suite facilities, plus two meeting-rooms – also with en-suite facilities. Other facilities include twenty conveniences (ten on each auditorium) along with four separate conveniences. A remarkable feature of the structure is the availability of facilities for lawyers with physical challenges as well as for aged persons. The building will be fully equipped with seamless access-points such as elevators and ramps, as well as a drivers’ lounge and gate house. Smart sanitation, water supply and drainage facilities such as boreholes, underground tanks and manholes will also be provided within the premises.
Following Mr. Nwapa’s brilliant presentation, which was well-received and punctuated with questions, comments and observations, there were brief remarks by a number of distinguished bar leaders. In his remarks, the chairman of the committee, Dr. Wale Babalakin, SAN promised that the building would not suffer undue delays and would be completed in good time.
Also speaking, Lagos Bar chairman Chukwuka Ikwuazom, who lamented the inability of successive administrations to deliver this project, due to a combination of factors, but nevertheless expressed his joy at this momentous occasion. He disclosed that a substantial part of the funds for the completion of this project has been set aside, with the hope that the incoming executive of NBA Lagos would complement these funds in a bid to complete the project on time.
NBA national president Paul Usoro, SAN expressed his pride (both as the current national bar leader and as a loyal member of the Lagos Bar) to be associated with this particular project, and hoped to still be President when the project would be completed. He commended Lagos Bar chairman Ikwuazom for the ‘unusual passion’ with which he had pursued the Bar Centre project throughout his tenure, saying he and his executive colleagues had laid An indelible marker, not just for the in-coming executive council of the Premier Bar, but for the national executive as well.
Thereafter, the ceremony came to a climax with the formal breaking of the ground and laying of the foundation stone by the NBA President, Mr. Paul Usoro (SAN), in the presence of distinguished bar leaders as well as the outgoing executive council members of the Lagos Branch of the NBA.
See photos below:
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