Chairmen of the various branches of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) that make up the northern geopolitical zone have pledged their support to the leadership of the association.
At a meeting between Olumide Akpata, president of the NBA, and the branch chairmen of the bar which held in Abuja on Wednesday, the group said it is not a party to the New NBA which was recently constituted by some aggrieved northern lawyers.
The splinter group was formed shortly after the withdrawal of the invitation extended to Nasir el-Rufai, governor of Kaduna, as a speaker at the just concluded annual general conference of the NBA.
Abdulbasit Suleiman, a co-convener of the NNBA, had said over 5,000 lawyers have registered to join the newly formed association.
However, in a statement presented to newsmen by Elisha Kura, acting chairman of Arewa Lawyers Forum, the group said: “We have unanimously agreed to support his leadership of the NBA, and we hereby restate our true allegiance to the NBA and dissociate ourselves from the “New NBA” or any splinter group whatsoever making the waves in recent weeks as a new association/body of lawyers in Nigeria.”
“We understand that the NBA has historically and in recent times been fraught with several challenges but we are indeed assured that the NBA under the leadership of Mr. Olumide Akpata will surmount these challenges and birth an all-inclusive Bar that will work for all Lawyers in Nigeria regardless of any part of the divide one may belong.
“We were gratified to hear the NBA president during his inaugural address restate that the bar that he wants to lead henceforth is one that is united on all fronts and which recognizes that our diversity is our greatest strength.
“At the meeting today, Mr. Akpata reassured us that his administration is very keen on ensuring that we do not have only a united bar but also an indivisible one, and we verily believe in him.
“We, therefore, urge all lawyers not only of the northern geopolitical zone, including those behind the establishment of the NNBA but indeed all legal practitioners in Nigeria to please come together to support Mr Olumide Akpata and the new national officers to ensure that they deliver on all their core mandates whilst indeed putting the rule of law, the welfare and capacity development of our members at the forefront.”