The Nigerian Bar Association in Dutse, Jigawa State, has threatened to boycott the association’s annual general conference over the leadership’s decision to withdraw the invitation extended to Governor Nasir El-Rufai.
In a statement, Thursday, the NBA branch said it disagreed with the national executive council’s decision on the Kaduna State governor because it was based on “frivolous allegations.”
“The decision is quite unfair as the allegation against the governor has nothing to do with the NEC or NBA at large,” Garba Abubakar, chairman of the Dutse branch of the NBA, said.
“Worse still, the governor has not been given the opportunity to defend himself on the allegations raised against him by a group within the association, before the resolution of this magnitude was reached against him, as the Nigerian Bar Association belongs to all.”
Mr Abubakar confirmed the development to PREMIUM TIMES on Friday.
The leadership of the NBA on Thursday announced it had decided to withdraw an invitation to Mr El-Rufai to participate at next week’s annual general conference.
The virtual conference, which holds August 26-29, is themed ‘Step Forward.’
Mr El-Rufai was billed to speak in a session titled ‘Who is a Nigerian?… A Debate on National Identity.’
However, his inclusion sparked protests among several lawyers, with some of them threatening to withdraw their participation. A group, the Open Bar Initiative, petitioned the NBA leadership accusing the governor of harassing his critics and human rights violations, allegations the governor denies.
It was based on the protests that the NBA withdrew Mr El-Rufai’s participation.
In his reaction, Mr El-Rufai described the NBA’s decision as “unfair.”
If the allegations against Mr El-Rufai are to be judged by their face value, the Dutse branch of the NBA continued, then the Kaduna governor should not be the only victim
“Similar treatment is to be given to the Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, who has serious allegations of abuse of human rights against him to the extent of demolition (sic) residential houses and place of worship without observing due process,” Mr Abubakar said.
“A section of the country cannot, therefore, take us for a ride as we all have fair understanding of the law.
“On the strength of this, therefore, we call on the national body under President Usoro SAN, to reverse the decision with immediate effect, else, the Nigerian Bar Association Dutse branch will boycott the Virtual Annual General Conference taking place in a few days to come.”