The leadership of the Nigerian Bar Association have withdrawn the invitation extended to the Kaduna State governor, Nasir El-Rufai, to participate in the association’s forthcoming annual general meeting.
In a resolution at the NBA national executive council meeting on Wednesday, the association said the decision would be communicated to the governor.
“The National Executive Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association at its ongoing meeting resolves that the invitation to the Kaduna State Governor, H.E. Nasir El-Rufai by the 2020 Annual General Meeting Conference Planning Committee be withdrawn and decision communicated to the Governor,” the NBA said via its Twitter handle.
Nigerian Bar Association [@NigBarAssoc]
“The National Executive Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association at its ongoing meeting resolves that the invitation to the Kaduna State Governor, H.E. Nasir El-Rufai by the 2020 Annual General Conference Planning committee be withdrawn and decision communicated to the Governor.”
Kunle Edun, the NBA publicity secretary, confirmed the decision to PREMIUM TIMES.
Mr El-Rufai was among the guest speakers slated to participate in a session titled ‘Who is a Nigerian?… A Debate on National Identity.’ Others also billed to speak at the session are Nyesom Wike, the governor of Rivers State; Peter Obi, the former governor of Anambra State and vice-presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party at the 2019 election; Tunde Bakare, a cleric and chairman, African Advisory Council of the Royal Commonwealth Society; Oby Ezekwesili, an activist and former federal minister; and Salamatu Suleiman, the immediate past ECOWAS commissioner for political affairs, peace and security.
Those billed to speak at the conference include Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; Femi Gbajabiamila, the Speaker of the House of Representatives; and Tanko Muhammad, the Chief Justice of Nigeria; Olusegun Obasanjo, a former president; Ike Ekweremadu, former deputy senate president; and Abubakar Malami, the Attorney-General of the Federation.
The 60th NBA annual general conference, its first-ever virtual event, is themed ‘Step Forward.’
The inclusion of Mr El-Rufai among the guest speakers at the NBA’s annual general, scheduled for August 26-29, had drawn a lot of criticisms from both lawyers and human rights activists.
Many lawyers questioned Mr El Rufai’s human rights records and commitment to the rule of law. They also accused Mr El Rufai of not doing enough to end the killings in the southern part of his state, Kaduna.
“Courts have found that Elrufai’s Government has illegally arrested & incarcerated people,” a lawyer who identified himself as Lugard Tare-Otu, wrote on Twitter.
Some lawyers, however, including Kayode Ajulo, a constitutional lawyer, made a case for the governor to be allowed to participate.