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NBA succumbs to pressure, withdraws El-Rufai’s invitation to conference

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Nasir El-Rufai

The National Executive Council (NEC) of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) yesterday withdrew the invitation extended to Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai to speak at the 60th annual conference of the association in Abuja next week.

Some lawyers had threatened to withdraw form the event if El-Rufai was present at the conference.

The NBA Technical Conference Planning Committee  (TCCP) Chairman, Prof. Konyinsola Ajayi (SAN), confirmed to The Guardian yesterday that the association had stopped the governor.

According to him, the NBA NEC took the decision following the protest by some lawyers over El-Rufai’s invitation.

Also, the NBA Twitter handle @NigBarAssoc stated that the body had decided to withdraw the invitation.

Usani Odum had initiated the protest by saying he was going to cancel his own participation if the governor was allowed to be part of the conference

The petition had garnered over 3,000 signatures on Change.Org before E—Rufai was stopped.

In a separate letter titled, ‘Request to Withdraw the Offer of Platform at the 2020 Annual General Conference of the NBA to Mallam Nasir El-Rufai,’ addressed to the Prof Ajayi (SAN), some lawyers said the governor must not be allowed to speak at the conference.

The letter, which was signed by Silas Onu and Auta Nyada, listed 10 allegations against El-Rufai and his son, Bello, a Special Adviser to Kaduna Central lawmaker, Senator Uba Sani.

They faulted the NBA for inviting the governor, citing his alleged poor human rights record and his inability to stop the killings in his state, particularly in Southern Kaduna.

Lugard Tare-Otu said on Twitter: “As lawyers, it is our duty to uphold the rule of law. Courts have found out that El-Rufai’s government has illegally arrested and incarcerated people. I hereby withdraw my attendance from the conference and I call on other well-meaning lawyers to also boycott it, unless El-Rufai is withdrawn from speaking at the event.”

Spice Colings, who is based in Lagos, said he would shun the conference if the NBA does not drop El-Rufai from its list of speakers. conference and I call on other well-meaning lawyers to also boycott it, unless El-Rufai is withdrawn from speaking at the event.”

Spice Colings, who is based in Lagos, said he would shun the conference if the NBA does not drop El-Rufai from its list of speakers. However, Lagos lawyer and human rights activist, Jiti Ogunye, said there was nothing wrong with the NBA’s decision to invite the VP and governor to speak at the event.


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