NIGERIAN BAR ASSOCIATION WOMEN FORUM HOLDS HANDING OVER AND INAUGURATION CEREMONY 

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NIGERIAN BAR ASSOCIATION WOMEN FORUM INAUGURATES NEW EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

NIGERIAN BAR ASSOCIATION WOMEN FORUM GETS NEW EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

The Nigerian Bar Association Women Forum (NBAWF) held the handover and inauguration ceremony for its Executive Committee. The event was held at the Westwood Hotel Ikoyi on January 16, 2023. 

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The event witnessed the passing of the baton of leadership to the new executive and council members. Chinyere Okorocha, the extant Chairperson is taking over from Prof Oluyemisi Bamgbose, SAN, the immediate past chairperson of the Forum.

The new executive committee members are Chinyere Okorocha, Chairperson of the Forum; Ifueko Alufohai, Vice-Chairperson; Irene Iniobong Pepple, Secretary; Mercy Ijato-Agada, Treasurer. 

The event also ushered in the new governing council of the Forum comprised of  Folashade Alli, Soibi Ovia, Ekaete Ubokudom, Chinyere Okeziem-Nwoko, Musleemah Nagode Olamide, Oyeyemi Aderigbigbe and Mohammed Adama.

The event was graced by distinguished members of the Bar and other notable guests. In attendance were Yakubu C Maikyau SAN, President of the Nigerian Bar Association; Prof Oluyemisi Bamgbose, Immediate Chairperson of the NBAWF; Kazeem Alogba, Chief Judge of the Lagos State High Court ably represented by Justice Nicol-Clay of the Lagos state judiciary, Ayotola Jagun, past member, NBAWF governing council; Lawal Habeeb Akorede, Publicity Secretary of the NBA; Mandy Asagba, President, African Women Lawyers Association; national executive members of the NBA, and committee members, state leads and branch coordinators of the NBAWF.

In her welcome address, Ayotola Jagun, past council member of the NBAWF and company secretary, Oando stated that the NBAWF had evolved from what it used to be due to the dedication of the outgone executive members through the committees which reflect the needs of female lawyers in Nigeria. 

She also noted that the NBAWF is dedicated to its passion to empower, inspire and support female lawyers in Nigeria. Encouraging all female lawyers in Nigeria to be part of the NBAWF activities as the Forum is representative of female lawyers across the board, she charged all to be part of the change they want to see.

In his opening remarks, Y.C. Maikyau, SAN, President of the Nigerian Bar Association lauded the NBA Women Forum especially the outgone executives for laying a strong foundation for the new executives. He noted that the NBAWF has been of great support in attaining the general objectives of the NBA and pledged his continuous support for the Forum.  In his words, “the NBAWF is a pride to all and we will not relent in our efforts to support the Women Forum whenever our support is needed because this will also be in line with the objectives of the NBA”. 

In advising the past and present executives of the Women forum, Maikyau stated that it was not enough to simply pass the baton of leadership but that the past executives must continually support the present administration. 

The oath office was administered by Y.C Maikyau to the chairperson of the Women Forum, Chinyere Okorocha, who in turn carried out her first duty of administering the oaths of offices to the other executive members and council members.

In her handover report, Prof Oluyemisi Bamgbose SAN, the immediate past chairperson congratulated the new executives on starting their tenure on a solid foundation and confirmed her support for the new leadership of the Women Forum. She especially expressed confidence in the new chairperson, Chinyere Okorocha, who was the vice-chairperson during her tenure and lauded her dedication and commitment to the objectives of the body. 

Some of the landmark achievements of the Forum during her tenure were – the creation of nine committees for the Forum in 2020; the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the Women in Law Section of the New York State Bar in 2020; the signing of a research collaboration agreement with the Institute of African Women in Law in 2021; initiating a Sexual Harassment Policy which was adopted by the NBA in October 2022; organising of trainings and workshops on issues affecting female lawyers in Nigeria and commemoration of the International Women’s Day yearly.

She finally thanked the past presidents of the NBA, Paul Usoro, SAN and Olumide Akpata for their support of the Forum in the past years.

Chinyere Okorocha in giving her agenda report thanked her predecessor, who she noted had left a big shoe for her to fill, as well as members of the Bar for their support and expressed her unwavering resolve to honour the trust and confidence placed in her. She also noted that she would act always in the best interest, integrity and well-being of the Forum. She stated that her administration is committed to a 5-Point Agenda which is – strengthening the Forum; building capacity for female lawyers in Nigeria; achieving nationwide coverage and recognition for the Forum; promoting female lawyers in leadership, and promoting work-life balance for women in the legal industry in Nigeria.

She also expressed her administration’s commitment to institutionalise transparency and build the capacity of the members of the Forum.

The closing remarks and vote of thanks were made by Irene Iniobong Pepple, the secretary of the NBAWF.

The NBA Women Forum serves as a critical voice for female lawyers in Nigeria and is a platform for addressing various professional, legal, policy and legislative issues impacting women. The various programs of the Forum focus on trainings, empowerment, and building networks through collaboration and partnerships with various bodies. The forum focuses on issues that are mainly of interest to female lawyers in Nigeria, encouraging gender balance, expanding networks and developing the careers of its members, as well as advancing critical change in the legal profession in Nigeria.

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