Branches of the Nigerian Bar Association in Katsina, Ikeja, Abeokuta, Kano, Port Harcourt and other major towns on Sunday said they would attend the NBA annual general meeting starting on Wednesday.
The groups, in separate interviews with our correspondents, faulted the call by the Kaduna State branch of the Muslim Lawyers Association of Nigeria for all Muslim lawyers to withdraw from the conference because of the NBA’s withdrawal of the invitation to the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, who was initially one of the speakers at the meeting
But the branch of the association in Bauchi insisted on its position that it would not attend the conference if the NBA failed to rescind its decision to withdraw El-Rufai’s invitation.
The NBA had, at its meeting on Thursday, withdrawn El-Rufai’s invitation following a petition against him by some lawyers, who cited his poor handling of killings in Southern Kaduna.
The association’s decision had generated diverse reactions with the governor’s Special Adviser on Media and Communications, Mr Muyiwa Adekeye, in a statement on Thursday, saying it was as one-sided.
In the statement titled, ‘Mallam El-Rufai will continue to contribute to the national conversation,’ Adekeye said the NBA took the decision without listening to the other side.
The Supreme Council for Shariah in Nigeria also faulted the NBA, saying the association’s decision was irresponsible.
But groups, including the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union and the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, lauded the NBA for standing on the side of justice.
But on Sunday, branches of the NBA differed on the call by MULAN for the boycott of the conference.
We’re attending, there are other competent persons that can be invited – Katsina NBA
The NBA in Katsina said the branch would attend the association’s annual national conference, adding that there were other people that could be invited.
The association’s Assistant Secretary, Barrister Isah Ibrahim, in an interview with The PUNCH, said, “The NBA Katsina and all its affiliates are attending the congress. We are not part of the boycott. The call for boycott is just by a minute faction of the Kaduna NBA and we here in Katsina are not part of the call for the boycott.
“The issue of whom to invite for the NBA conference is the prerogative of the annual general conference committee subject to the approval of the National Executive Council of the NBA.
“Governor El-Rufai was dropped because of issues concerning insecurity in Kaduna, but we believe that there are other qualified and competent personalities who are really performing and who could be invited to deliver lectures.