Gentlemen of the Press

This press conference is being held today to herald the forthcoming Annual Conference of the NBA Section on Public Intetest and Development Law (NBA-SPIDEL) billed to take place at Citadel Complex, Oregun, Ikeja from June 20 to 23, 2023.

The conference will attract lawyers and judges from various States of the Federation. It promises to be an intellectual feast featuring eminent jurists from the Bar and Bench.

The theme of the conference is “Post-Election Nigeria: The Judiciary in the eye of the storm.”
The keynote Speaker is foremost human rights activist, Mr. Femi Falana SAN, while the Opening Session will be chaired by former NBA President, Dr. Olisa Agbakoba OON. Instructive, Dr. Agbakoba has the singular honour of being the NBA President who established NBA-SPIDEL during his Presidency. Hon. Justice Amina Augie of the Supreme Court will feature as a Guest Speaker during the Opening Ceremony.

Also expected at the Opening Ceremony are the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola; Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his Abia State counterpart, Dr. Alex Otti. Senators and House of Representatives members are also expected at the Opening Ceremony.

The technical sessions will witness the presence of leading jurists and speakers such as Prof. Mike Ozekhome SAN, Prof. Pat Utomi, Mr. Austin Alegeh SAN, Chief J-K Gadzama SAN, Prof. Ernest Ojukwu SAN, Mr. Olumide Akpata, Mr. Moyosore Onigbanjo SAN, NBA President Yakubu Maikyau SAN, Ms. Boma Alabi SAN, Prof. Paul Ananaba SAN, Mazi Afam Osigwe SAN, Mr. Samson Itodo (YIAGA Africa), Mr. Festus Okoye (INEC), Justice Taiwo Taiwo (rtd.), Mr. Tobenna Erojikwe, Ebun Adegboruwa SAN, Prof. Nnamdi Obiaraeri, Mr. Gilbert Tor, Mr. Chukwuka Ikwuazom SAN, among many others too numerous to mention here.

We believe that our Guest Speakers will adequately interrogate the theme of the Conference which bothers on the Judiciary’s intervention in the electoral process. Presently, all eyes are fixed at the various Election Petition tribunals where those who were aggrieved with the outcome of the elections are ventilating their grievances lawfully and seeking judicial redress.

Our faith in the Judiciary should remain unshaken, as those who deserve justice shall certainly be served with justice without fear or favour. We invite the press to be a part of this conference where this very important topic will be thoroughly diagnosed by these legal giants.

We wish to note that this is last conference of Dr M.O. Ubani as the Chairman of the Section. We especially invite you all, friends of the Fourth Estate of the Realm, to attend and bid him happy farewell.

In addressing matters that touch on the public interest, we applaud the suspension of the Central Bank Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele and urge that his regime be thoroughly investigated for his alleged role in the mismanagement of the economy.

In the same vein, Mr. President is being called upon to look into the scam of “Air Nigeria” which the immediate past Aviation Minister, Hadi Sirika perpetrated before his exit. If the assertion by the Managing Director of Nigeria Air, Dayo Olumide, during a Senate hearing that the aircraft said to be for Air Nigeria was merely a chartered flight from Ethiopian Airline to hoodwinkNigerians, we enjoin Mr. President to institute a high-powered panel of investigation to unearth this large-scale scam that has turned Nigeria into a laughing stock in the global aviation community. This matter is a litmus test for the new administration, especially if President Bola Tinubu wants to be seen as desirous of combating corruption in the polity.

The Tinubu Administration is strongly advised to develop a zero tolerance policy towards corruption and mismanagement of public funds. The government must respect the rule of law and avoid executive lawlessness and impunity. These are acts that will bring his administration into collision course with the civil society and human rights community. If the government abides by the rule of law, respects human rights, ensures transparency and accountability as fundamental objectives of state policy, it should be rest assured of tremendous goodwill from majority of the citizens of Nigeria. President Bola Tinubu has a choice to make; may God guide him to make the right choice.

On the removal of fuel subsidy, we note that though majority of Nigerians do not understand the huge scam that subsidy represents in the oil sector, the process and procedure for the removal was faulty. This has occasioned severe consequences and taken a toll on the hapless citizens who are always the victims of such government policies that are not well thought out. We welcome efforts by the government amid consultations to birth palliatives aimed at alleviating the harshness of the sudden removal. This should have preceded the announcement of the removal of subsidy. Sadly, that was not the case.

Mr. President must be told in clear terms that Nigerians are groaning in pains, especially with the sudden removal of the fuel subsidy. Salary increase for civil servants – whose population is infinitesimal compared to millions that are outside government employment – will not be enough to solve the present crisis. More drastic and well-thought-out economic packages should be put in place to cushion the harsh effects of the new policy.

Again, Mr. President must seek wisdom and the right kind of advice to navigate out of the present quagmire the country has found itself. I do not envy him at this time.

We thank the former Attorney General of Lagos State, Mr. Moyosore Onigbanjo SAN for being a Bar-man in deed. His assistance towards the success of the forthcoming Annual Conference is well appreciated. We also appreciate the Chief Judge of Lagos State, Hon Justice Kazeem Alogba for his commitment to the success of the forthcoming conference. We thank His Excellency, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu for his kind hospitality.

We shall be welcoming all members of the Bar and Bench from across the country to this very important conference kick starting from the 20th of June, 2023. They are invited to come and enjoy the beauty of Nigeria’s Centre of Excellence, especially as the conference is laced with many fun events.

This is Lagos! We do not welcome anyone to Lagos, we announce Lagos with pride because we are sure of the goodies awaiting our guests! See you from 20th of June.

Dr. Monday O. Ubani

Mr Okey Ohagba
Chairman of Conference Planning Committee.

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