In the aftermath of the misunderstanding between the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and Governor Nasir el’Rufai of Kaduna, a breakaway faction of the association has been formed.
The governor was disinvited from addressing the annual conference of the NBA in circumstances some have suggested was motivated by ethnic bias.
A group of lawyers who say the NBA no longer represents their interests have formed the New Nigerian Bar Association (NNBA).
The lawyers behind the new association said the el-Rufai controversy had exposed the inability of the NBA to manage and contain the heterogeneity of its members as well as their various interests.
They said, “Its penal powers has been deployed discriminatively on the basis of ethnicity and regionalism. As a body of lawyers who have undergone training towards ensuring the promotion and protection of human rights and liberties, the NBA is supposed to live above sentiments, regionalism and discrimination on any basis and of any kind.
“Therefore, the NBA cannot afford to be seen not to be upholding the rights and freedom of its own members if at all, it should be seen to be practising what it preaches.
The statement said, “The New Nigerian Bar Association have been watching the activities of the NBA, an association we all looked forward to joining with high hopes before being called to the Nigerian Bar, forcing idiosyncrasies of few on the majority of its members, especially in recent times”
“No wonder, NBA NEC, which is the highest decision-making organ of the association failed to uphold the fundamental principles of fair hearing which in itself, is the fundamental aspect of Rule of Law, on the allegations against the Executive Governor of Kaduna state, Mallam Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai as were contained in a petition by Chidi Odinkalu Esq. a long time foe of His Excellency and a lawyer of eastern extraction, but the NBA failed to extend the same treatment to Southern invitees who were also petitioned and are also alleged to have committed similar or more human rights abuses than those alleged against Mallam El-Rufai.”