Port Harcourt Welcomes African Lawyers to 2017 AFBA Conference

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Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, CON and the Chairman of the Governing Council of African Bar Association, Joseph Daudu, SAN during the 2017 African Bar Association Annual Conference in Port Harcourt on Monday.

Welcoming delegates to the 2017 African Bar Association Annual Conference, Chairman of the Local Organising Committee, Mr Eddy Mark urged participants to take advantage of the conference to savour the hospitality of Rivers State.

L-R: Deputy Gov. of Rivers State, Dr. (Mrs.) Ipalibo Harry-Banigo, AFBA President, Hannibal Uwaifo and Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, CON during the 2017 African Bar Association Annual Conference in Port Harcourt on Monday.
L-R: Deputy Gov. of Rivers State, Dr. (Mrs.) Ipalibo Harry-Banigo, AFBA President, Hannibal Uwaifo and Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, CON during the 2017 African Bar Association Annual Conference in Port Harcourt on Monday.

Mr. Mark said, “The choice of the theme of this Conference which is on “Dissecting the Legal and Regulatory Framework For Doing Business in Africa” is apt and most relevant. It is a demonstration of acknowledgment that what Africa needs now is economic independence and empowerment of its peoples in order to free the enormous potentials that exist within it to propel its long-overdue development.”

“To achieve sustainable growth, we must therefore constantly review the legal and regulatory structures which guide, but oftentimes, also impede business activities on our continent.” He said.

While declaring the conference open on Monday, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, CON, stated that Rivers State has been adjudged to be one of the safest and secure States in the country.

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Deputy Gov. of Rivers State, Dr. (Mrs.) Ipalibo Harry-Banigo and Hon. Justice Teetito during the 2017 African Bar Association Annual Conference in Port Harcourt on Monday

The governor said, “As we speak, our communities are safe, our local government areas are safe and secure, just as our homes and neighbourhoods.”

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Mboneko Munyaga from Tanzania and Alhaji Mohammed B. Audi during the Conference Opening Ceremony on Monday

AFBA Open-7He noted that the State had advanced in areas of an independent judiciary, quality infrastructure and basic amenities developed by the incumbent administration.

The Governor pointed out that the great task before African leaders was to provide the enabling fiscal and regulatory environment for the private sector to create jobs and provide economic prosperity and security for the people.

For the over 1,000 lawyers from various African countries that have converged in Port Harcourt for the African Bar Association 2017 Annual Conference, where participants are discussing ways to rapidly develop the continent, Gov. Wike charged them to be shining lights in the continent and to help reshape it for the good of the people. “The upswing of stable democratic governments and appreciable investments in development infrastructure has contributed in no small measure to positively change the continent’s economic narratives,” Wike noted.

The governor informed the African Lawyers that Rivers State has been re-positioned as Nigeria’s investment destination. “Our goal is to continue to make Rivers State a land of peace and prosperity with boundless opportunities and possibilities” – a place where no one is left behind. Gov. Wike emphasized once again.

The keynote speaker, immediate past President of Tanzania, Dr. Jakaya Kikwete, told African leaders to work for greater investment climate on the continent. He opined that Africa could be a continent where her people are wealthy and happy if leaders create the environment for investment.

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Chairman of the Conference Local Organising Committee, Mr Eddy Mark and Chairman NBA Port Harcourt Branch, Victor Omubo Frank-Briggs during the AFBA Conference Opening Ceremony on Monday.

Dr. Kikwete said, “We must not forget what brought Africa to this sorry state of impunity, weak institutions, rampant corruption and many self inflicted blockades that hamper free movement of material and human resources, and human rights abuses to us in the continent.”

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Mostafa Mohammed Mohammed Ahmed and Dr. Bahieldin Hassan Zaki Elibrachy during the 2017 African Bar Association Annual Conference in Port Harcourt on Monday.

AFBA Open-17He noted that with the enormous resources of the continent, 90% of its citizens wallow in abject poverty because we failed to do the right thing. He said African leaders must write their names in the good book for posterity to judge and the next generation to immortalize.

The goodwill message of the Federation was delivered by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Abubakar Malami, SAN, who was represented by his Special Assistant, Pius Oteh, Esq.

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L-R: Special Assistant to the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr. Pius Oteh and Hon. Justice Teetito during the 2017 African Bar Association Annual Conference in Port Harcourt on Monday.

The Minister said, “Port Harcourt has, deservedly, acquired a reputation as a home for the regular gathering of Lawyers and their associates, for diverse Conferences and other events over the years. I am therefore convinced that all distinguished participants and invitees will find the city a worthy host for what promises to be a fruitful and fulfilling Conference”.

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NBA-Section on Business Law Chairman, Olumide Akpata and NBA Welfare Officer, Adesina Adegbite, during the Conference Opening Ceremony on Monday.
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Chief Arthur Obi Okafor, SAN and the Chairman of the Governing Council of African Bar Association, Joseph Daudu, SAN during the 2017 African Bar Association Annual Conference in Port Harcourt on Monday.

He commend the Executive Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, CON, the Government and good people of the State for the hospitality and protocol arrangements which have made this 2017 Annual Conference of the African Bar Association, and several others, possible in the State.

Mr. Malami said, “Our deliberations must therefore focus on strategies and initiatives which will strengthen that future and lead us faster towards the single African economy to which the African Union remains committed.” “As Lawyers who are naturally leaders in our communities and other social and official settings, let us use the advantage of that privilege to work as individuals and as a collective towards a more prosperous and humane future for ourselves and the next generation.”

“I trust that the African Bar Association will continue to be guided by this ideal.” He concluded.

In his remarks, President of African Bar Association, Mr. Hannibal Uwaifo, said the need for the African legal community to re-enter the global stage informed the resuscitation of the African Bar Association.

“We need to do a better job of policing ourselves so that we can properly lay claim to the true creeds of this esteemed profession. The African Bar Association hereby pledges to be a leader in this regards.” Uwaifo said.

The AFBA President thanked Gov. Nyesom Wike, the government of Rivers State and the people of Rivers for their kind hospitality.

Mr. Uwaifo welcomed delegates and participants and urged them to use this conference as an opportunity to deepen their practice and contribute their quota to Africa’s march to prosperity and good governance.

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