A group has chided the leadership of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) for failing to consider and implement the association’s own 2017 fact-finding report on the crisis in Southern Kaduna.
The NBA in 2017 had embarked on a fact-finding mission to the region and detailed its findings in a report it presented to its former president, Abubakar Mahmoud.
However, a group, Supporting The Change Group (STC), accused the NBA of neglecting the report since then, a time within which NBA had another president, Paul Usoro.
“Unfortunately, the NBA under the leadership of Paul Usoro failed or refused to study the above-mentioned fact-finding mission report of the NBA with a view to implementing the recommendations in the report,” STC said in a statement on Thursday.
Controversies around the decade-long southern Kaduna crisis heated up after Governor Nasir El-Rufai was invited to speak at the NBA’s ongoing annual conference.
The governor’s critics accused him of not doing enough to end the killings in the area, an allegation the governor has repeatedly denied, saying the clashes are largely seen under the lens of ethnicity, religion and other affiliations rather than a challenge to common humanity.
STC described Mr El-Rufai’s disinvitation and non-consideration of the 2017 report as “hypocrisy.”
“It is shocking to state that the current leadership of the NBA, under Paul Usoro, SAN failed to study the various public interest reports which his predecessor in office handed over to him in August 2018,” the group said.
“Had the current President of the NBA studied that NBA Fact Finding Mission Report, he would not have guided NEC to pass the ill-advised resolution of August 20, 2020, and the position of NBA-NEC would have been different.
“The circumstances surrounding the handling of this petition by the leadership of the NBA are unbelievable and leave a bitter taste in the palate.
“The sloppy, incompetent, and malicious manner in which the NBA leadership handled the Petition against Governor El-Rufai shows that there is urgent need for transformational change of leadership in the NBA. The current leadership has failed not only the Bar, the legal profession in Nigeria, but also the general public.”
The NBA president, Paul Usoro, could not be reached for comment. At first trial, his line rang without a response, but subsequent calls did not go through and sent messages were not delivered.
Like STC, a group of Muslim lawyers had also criticised the disinvitation of Mr El-Rufai with some others threatening to boycott the conference.