This edition of Law Weekly focuses on the spate of impeachments blowing across the country.
From Adamawa, to Nasarawa, Ebonyi and Enugu, it seems we are in a season of impeachments. And if you’ve been following the trend of events, the politics in Nasarawa state in Nigeria’ North West region is particularly a hot topic right now.
To help us make some sense of it, we will speak with a legal practitioner, Mr Wahab Shittu on the process, the twists and the legal implications of the whole impeachment scenario.
Mr Shittu, a public affairs commentator, has written several columns in some of Nigeria dailies. He is also a senior lecturer at the University of Lagos. He shed more light on the legality or otherwise of the impeachment process.
Also find some of the highlights of the valedictory session in honour of late legal practitioner, Bamidele Aturu.
This episode of Law Weekly featured the manifesto night, voting and official announcement of Nigerian Bar Association’s new President- elect, in Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
Mr Austine Alegeh emerged the President elect. This edition highlighted some exclusive pictures and interesting sound bites from the elections and the process.
The manifesto night was one of the major highlights of the election process. It gave the candidates for the elections an opportunity to again sell themselves and their programmes especially to the accredited delegates who were gathered.
Delegates consisted of national officers, past presidents, past general secretaries, senior advocates, benchers; delegates nominated from the 109 branches of the association across the country and then co-opted NEC members; all nominated at the discretion of the President.
On this edition of Law Weekly, we discussed some of the recommendations of the Committee on Law, Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Reforms of the National Conference.
The Committee is headed by Retired Justice Adesola Oguntade and last week its report was one of those that came up for discussions at the Conference.
A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Robert Clarke, joined us to look at some of the recommendations presented by the Committee and also made interesting comments on the workability or not of some of those suggestions.
Mr Clarke has practiced law in Nigeria for over 30 years and he is one of the most respected lawyers in the country.
We also featured highlights of the NBA elections slated for July 14 and 15.
On this edition of Law Weekly, we featured highlights of the first GLOW Conference (Global Leadership of Women,) of the National Association of Women Judges, Nigeria, hosted by the Chief Judge of Lagos, Justice Ayo Philips and the Lagos State Judiciary.
Also, the Rivers State Judiciary is in the news again, first a bomb blast and then protest over the NJC’s directive on assignment of cases.
On the interview segment, we talked to the former Chairman of the Lagos branch of the NBA, Mr Taiwo Taiwo, on the developments in Rivers and what it portends for the judiciary.
On this edition of Law Weekly, we looked closely at the forthcoming elections of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), and also spoke to the electoral committee chairman, Mr Okey Amaechi, SAN.
We also featured the reactions and comments of two past presidents of the bar, Chief OCJ Okocha and Chief Wole Olanipekun.
The NBA elections have been fixed for the 14 and 15 of July 2014. But one issue that always generates reactions is the issue of electoral delegates and the guidelines for the process.
Fourteen offices are up for grabs but the big one is usually that of the position of the NBA President. It becomes even more interesting this year because four Senior Advocates of Nigeria are contesting that position.
To understand the rules by which the positions will be filled, Law Weekly spoke with Mr Amaechi, whose law practice operates largely out of Abia State.
The electoral chairman also answered questions as to the composition of the delegates register and how it was compiled.
In the interview, he explained that the guidelines mandate his committee to determine that delegates are properly chosen hence the requirement for receipts of branch dues
However, there are groups of lawyers who have issues with the electoral guidelines: one of such is the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Lagos branch.
Following a lengthy debate arising from a motion by octogenarian, Pa Tunji Gomez, members of the branch unanimously rejected stipulations in the election guidelines requiring branches to submit bank tellers “as evidence of payment of annual practicing fee as at 1 April, 2014.”
In a resolution signed by the branch chairman, Alex Muoka, and the publicity secretary, Abdulrasheed Ibrahim, the branch said such requirement was unnecessary “as full and detailed information of all lawyers and all branch members who have paid practising fees as at 31 March, 2014 is already in the custody of the NBA national secretariat”.
The members are more piqued by the requirement in the election guidelines which mandates every NBA registered branch to submit receipts as evidence of payment of branch dues and levies as at 1 April, 2014.
They said that the requirement, which was “unconstitutional” as it is not contained in NBA constitution 2009, was a ploy to “disenfranchise branches and voters”.
The “premier bar” also took a swipe at the emergence of some new branches during the election period, warning that “no branch inaugurated in 2014 shall be allowed to send delegates to vote at the 2014 NBA elections”.
Worried that the opaque nature of the guidelines concerning the publication of the delegates’ register touches on the integrity of the electoral process and would jeopardise credible elections, the members resolved that not only should evidence of payment of practicing fee be published and made available to branches and the electoral committee, “the entire list of qualified voters (should) be published by the electoral committee no later than one week before the date of the election”.
The members also insisted that “independent auditors be engaged to conduct the elections”.
In an interview with channels TV’s Emmanuel Ereyi in Port Harcourt Rivers State, former president, OCJ Okocha, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, believed that the guidelines are in order.
This edition of the programme focused on the Justice Sector Reform Plan funded by the European Union and implemented by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, UNODC.
Last week Tuesday, the UNODC kickstarted a process aimed at developing an action plan for the justice sector reform in the country. Extensive deliberations on an action plan also began in Lagos, one of the pilot states and stakeholders.
The reform seeks to encourage a strategic and sustainable approach towards the justice system as a means of enhancing good governance, respect for human rights and the rule of law.
Channels Television’s Shola Soyele, was one of the participants at the Lagos action planning workshop.
Apart From Lagos, Rivers, Imo, Anambra, Benue, Bayelsa, Yobe, Osun, Katsina and the FCT were also selected by the European Union to benefit from this justice sector project.
On the NBA and its impending elections, some senior lawyers have spoken about the electoral process and the kind of president the Nigerian Bar needs. A few of them shared their views with Law Weekly.
On this edition of Law Weekly, we featured the Nigerian Bar Association’s National Executive Committee Meeting which held in Abuja, from the 14th to the 16th of May.
The NBA is the umbrella body for all lawyers practising in Nigeria and the NEC is the second highest decision making body of the association, second only to the Annual General Meeting of the association, which will hold later this year.
The NEC took some important decisions on issues of security and other issues affecting the bar.
After the opening session, the NEC went behind closed doors for about three hours. On Friday the 16th of May, the president of the bar, flanked by some of his excos read the communique from a closed door session. Of utmost importance were the issues concerning development of the legal profession.
With the NEC fixing the elections for the 14th & 15th of July, the candidates for the various positions have barely two months for their public campaigns. Law weekly caught up with three of the presidential candidates.
On this edition of the programme, Law Weekly, former president of the Nigerian Bar Association, Olisa Agbakoba made compelling submissions on several issues concerning the Nigerian State, including the security challenge and the need or not for decentralisation.
Devolution of powers, revenue sharing, the Nigerian Bar Association on zoning are some of the other issues we discussed.
Also, we report some reactions to the rumoured extension of the National Conference for 6 weeks, which the secretariat denied. However, many people think that’s it’s only a matter of time before there is an extension based on reports that the conference will take a week off for the World Economic Forum.
One of the committees that may require an extension is that on devolution of power. They had an interesting session last week and it’s all captured in this next report.
Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Olisa Agbakoba, a delegate at the conference belongs to the committee on law, judiciary, human rights and legal reform. He shared his views on devolution of power and revenue sharing.
On this edition of Law Weekly, former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Lagos State, Mr Supo Sashore, speaks about the nation’s security troubles, particularly in the North East region.
One issue in the news that has got everyone on edge is the rising wave of violence in the country. While many continue to condemn the bombings and kidnappings, some people have also advocated for new strategies to nip it in the bud.
A former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, is one of those who think that it is time for Nigeria to accept foreign assistance in fighting terrorism. Some lawyers who spoke to Law Weekly on the recent violent attacks also proffered some solutions.
Speaking on the programme, Sashore proffered solutions to combat the security challenges, speaks about the crisis with the appointment of a Chief Judge for the Rivers State judiciary. He also shared the Lagos agenda for the National Conference where he is one of the delegates.
Mr Shasore expressed belief that local intelligence and state policing are options which must be explored to combat the security challenges facing the country. This, he said, was something the Lagos State Government had always advocated.