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NBA Threatens To Boycott National Confab, Hails CDS Over Resolve On Boko Haram

Source: thewillnigeria.com
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BEVERLY HILLS, February 13, (THEWILL) - As preparations for the proposed National Conference being organised by the Federal Governor get  on track,  the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has threatened to boycott the conference  unless the  single slot offered  the  body is increased.

The body also described the statement credited to the  new Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Air Marshal Alex Badeh on ending the Boko-Haram insurgency by April as courageous, saying  it  a demonstration of commitment to work.

Making the threat on Thursday in Abuja, NBA President, Okey Wali (SAN), said NBA would not participate in the conference if the singleslot is not increased.

He said  it was out of place for the government to reserve only one slot for the umbrella body of lawyers in the country.

Wali  spoke  while presenting cheques to NBA Branch leaders whose members benefited from the association's Special Relief Fund for deceased and displaced lawyers in the   Northeast.

Wali insisted that the NBA would not participate in the conference, should the slot not increase, adding that it was out of place for the government to reserve only one slot for the umbrella body of lawyers in the country.

The NBA President said the association which had consistently called for the conference should not be given only one slot on the delegates list.

"Like I said, I believe it was an oversight, if it was an oversight, there was a clear statement, I already stated it in the letter I wrote to the SGF that 'we regret that we will be unable to accept only oneslot.

' We do not feel that that will give us enough opportunity to make the impact we would love to make.

"NBA from the time of our past president Alao Aka-Bashorun ,has advocated for a national conference and successive NBA presidents have stuck to that.

Even when some people thought there was no need for the conference, NBA did not see anything wrong about it," Wali stated.

He  added that NBA had set-up a committee to marshall its position on issues to be discussed at the conference, since according to him, the SGF had stated that this conference would determine the legal framework of integrating the outcome of the conference into the constitution.

NBA had in a letter earlier sent  to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Anyim Pius Anyim expressed its displeasure over the single slot.

Wali said NBA was not aggrieved that other professional bodies got more than one slots, but said the NBA would not accept the single slot to participate in the conference.

"To our minds, it is one of two things, we believe that it is an oversight, then it wasn't an oversight, if it is deliberate, it then means that we are not welcomed.

  I don't quarrel with giving elder statesmen 37 slots, I don't quarrel with giving the media professionals about 10 slots, including NUJ, Guild of Editors, NPAN, I don't quarrel with that, maybe they deserve more.

But how would the NBA get only one slot, we will assume that we are not wanted and I wish you well," he said.

The threat to boycott the confab came as the NBA President hailed the statement by new Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Air Marshal Alex Badeh on ending the Boko-Haram insurgency by April as courageous, describing it as a   demonstration of commitment to work.

Wali said to many, the statement sounded like a tall order but to the NBA it signals commitment to work and exhibition of serious mindedness to deal with the insurgency.

He however called on  the military to operate within their rules of engagement, saying  NBA respects fundamental human rights of every citizen, including the Boko Haram insurgents.

Wali therefore  directed the Human Rights Committee in all the NBA branches across the three Northeast States under the State of Emergency to collate and submit a comprehensive list of non-compliance with the rule of law and violation of fundamental human rights in their areas of operation.