Ahead of Monday’s interview by the National Judicial Council (NJC) Committee for the appointment of a Chief Judge for the Gombe State Judiciary, the President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Olumide Akpata has declared that he “expects the NJC to do the right thing”.
Akpata made the declaration in a telephone interview with Channels Television on Sunday,
Akpata was reacting to news reports that the Gombe State Government had excluded the name of the most senior judge in the state, Justice Beatrice Illiya from the list of names forwarded to the NJC for consideration as appointment for Chief Judge.
Justice Illiya herself had written a petition to the NJC to complain about this exclusion and had copied the NBA in the petition.
In her petition, the most senior judge said that after the retirement of Hon Justice Hakila Herman, she was appointed as the Acting Chief Judge of Gombe State but after the mandatory 3 months provided by the constitution, Governor Inuwa Yahaya refused to extend her tenure.
Instead, another judge of the State, Justice Muazu Pindiga was appointed and his three months tenure as acting Chief Judge has been renewed for the fourth time because the executive has refused to do the right thing.
In August 2020, when the NJC directed the Gombe State Judicial Service Commission (JSC) to re-submit the names of the nominees for appointment as substantive Chief Judge of Gombe State by doing the right thing and including the name of the most senior judge, Justice Beatrice Illiya, the State JSC defied the directive, arguing that seniority is not a factor to be considered in the appointment of a Chief Judge of a State.
Justice Beatrice Illiya says she is being discriminated against because she is female and Christian.
The NBA President who was copied in the petition has however declared that the NJC at its meeting on Monday would do the right thing and insist on the appointment of the most senior judge of the state.
The President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Olumide Akpata has faulted moves by the Federal Government to further regulate social media and believes the timing is wrong.
“I struggle with the terms that we bandy around. Like I said, I think the social media space is regulated already, ” the NBA President said on Sunday Politics when asked if social media need further regulation.
“Are we saying regulate or shutdown? What are we saying because we hear them using regulate? We hear the minister of Information use the word ‘sanitize.’ I just say to myself, ‘what are we trying to do?’ The timing is suspicious.”
While admitting that there are people who are “irresponsible” in their usage of social media, he said the country has laws to deal with such kind of persons.
“And if we need to tweak the laws here and there, as we amend our laws every day to meet with issues that may come up that were not previously contemplated, we are all well and good,” he argued.
“But it is not throwing out the baby and the bathwater approach like I suspect that is in contemplation by those who are handling the levers of power today. That is not going to work.”
—Well Within Their Rights—
On the setting up of panels of enquiry into the activities of the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), the legal practitioner noted that despite arguments on their legality, the governors have the right to do so.
“I think the governors are well within their rights or the power of the law to set up those panels of enquiry for the purpose of determining whether or not the now-disbanded SARS went beyond their remit; whether or not the claims that we have from various Nigerians as to how they were mistreated or illegally treated by SARS are correct,” he noted.
The Nigeria Bar Association has called for the respect of the rights of Nigerians arrested on suspicion of taking part in the looting and destruction of public buildings and private businesses among others.
This was contained in a statement issued on Friday by NBA President, Olumide Akpata.
He argued that the 1999 Constitution “presumes all suspects and defendants innocent until proven guilty; prohibit the detention of citizens beyond 24-48 hours; forbid the subjection of Nigerian citizens to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment, and mandates the Police and other law enforcement agencies to bring such persons to court within 24-48 hours.”
While noting that the association condemns acts of violence, vandalism or destruction of properties, Akpata asked the authorities to respect the rights of the suspects, especially their right to the presumption of innocence.
SEE FULL STATEMENT HERE
#ENDSARS PROTESTS – A CALL FOR THE RESPECT OF THE LEGAL AND
FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS OF NIGERIAN CITIZENS
I have in the past 24 hours received several calls and complaints from Lawyers and Nigerians generally, about the recent public parade of hundreds of persons arrested and detained by the Nigerian Police on the suspicion of taking part in the looting and destruction of public buildings and private businesses and/or for contravening the curfew declared by various State Governors in the aftermath of the #EndSARS protests that unfortunately turned violent.
As I have continuously maintained, the Nigerian Bar Association (“NBA”) is completely opposed to any act of arson, vandalism, destruction of public or private assets, or other forms of force or violence. However, the legal rights of citizens who are arrested on account of such allegations must be respected, especially their right to the presumption of innocence.
In many, if not most of these cases, these people, who it must be noted are first and foremost Nigerian citizens, have been held incommunicado for days without access to their families or legal practitioners of their choice and under inhumane or deplorable conditions in brazen breach of the express provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) which presumes all suspects and defendants innocent until proven guilty; prohibit the detention of citizens beyond 24-48 hours; forbid the subjection of Nigerian citizens to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment; and mandates the Police and other law enforcement agencies to bring such persons to court within 24-48 hours.
It beggars belief that this conduct by the Nigerian Police is coming on the heels of the #EndSARS protests which were precipitated by the historical abuse of citizens by men and officers of the Nigerian Police especially those of the now-defunct Special AntiRobbery Squad (SARS), and the aftermath of which is yet to fully die down.
It is highly regrettable that the Police in particular continues to carry on business as usual despite being in the eye of the storm in recent times and in disregard of the wide outpouring of condemnation by Nigerians at home and abroad as well as foreign nationals and international organisations about the misconduct of some of their officers.
This gives the indication that the Police hierarchy has failed to get the message and/or is paying lip service to the calls for holistic Police reforms.
The NBA once again calls on the Nigerian Police and the Attorneys General of the various States to immediately charge the suspects before courts of competent jurisdiction in accordance with contemporary requirements of the law, or to release them unconditionally. The wanton destruction of public buildings and private businesses witnessed in the past week is highly regrettable. However, the cure for illegality cannot be illegality.
I have asked the Chairpersons of NBA Branches across the country to immediately monitor Police Stations within their jurisdictions to ascertain the extent of compliance of the Police with the fundamental rights provisions of the Constitution to enable us take or facilitate adequate enforcement actions.
The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has condemned the shooting of #EndSARS protesters by soldiers in the Lekki area of Lagos State.
NBA President, Olumide Akpata, faulted the incident in a statement personally signed by him on Tuesday hours after the incident.
A team of armed security personnel had stormed the Lekki toll gate – where a series of protests had held peacefully – and fired live bullets at a crowd of youths there.
“The Military High command is hereby requested to immediately identify and name the officers involved in this gross professional misconduct for immediate prosecution and dismissal in line with extant laws,” Akpata said.
He added, “The NBA shall immediately commence legal proceedings at all relevant fora – both locally and internationally – against the Nigerian Military and other relevant authorities, on behalf of the families of the victims, for abuse of power, disregard of rules of engagement and the infringement of the fundamental rights (including the right to life) of the affected citizens.”
Akpata explained that given the degenerating nature of the crisis, an emergency meeting of the National Executive Committee of the NBA would be convened within the next 48 hours.
According to him, the meeting is to review the state of the nation and take other appropriate steps to decisively deal with the situation and prevent Nigeria from further going adrift.
The NBA president described the shooting as an act of recklessness and lawlessness by the security apparatus of the government.
He stressed that based on reports available to the lawyers, it appeared to have been a carefully calculated and premeditated attack.
Akpata argued that even if the Lekki #EndSARS protesters were in breach of the curfew imposed by the Lagos State government, such a misdemeanour did not warrant the use of live ammunition by the military to confront peaceful, unarmed and defenceless protesters.
He stated that Tuesday’s events should never be seen or considered as normal in any democracy in any country.
“The NBA believes that the current situation in the country calls for dynamic leadership and, as critical stakeholders in the Nigerian project, invites the President of Nigeria and others in authority to show uncommon leadership in saving the situation, instead of deploying troops against defenceless citizens whom they swore an oath to protect,” the NBA president said.
The Speaker of the House of Assembly, Femi Gbajabiamila, has said that the lawmakers will partner with the national leadership of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) to address police brutality on Nigerian youths and other issues.
Hon. Gbajabiamila stated this on Wednesday when the NBA president, Olumide Akpata paid him a courtesy visit.
During the visit, Mr. Akpata, gave the assurance of his association to ensure a good collaboration with the House with a view to coming up with good legislation to address the matter.
The House had last week passed some far-reaching resolutions to address the issue of police brutality against Nigerians, one of which is to amend the constitution and come up with other legislation to curb the excesses of the police.
Gbajabiamila said the provision of Section 215 (5) almost gives the police absolute immunity against their excesses, hence the need to amend that section.
Gbajabiamila, who said the House could not do it alone, sought for the support of the NBA to achieve its set goal on addressing police brutality.
“I want to use this opportunity to congratulate Nigerians out there, who have been part of this struggle, and I want to appeal at the same time that we should apply the brake, perhaps, a little and see what will be done.
“In the House, before the protest, we made a statement, I made a statement on the floor of the House. We made far-reaching resolutions. We’ve been very proactive on this issue. We’re determined to pursue the resolutions of the House forcefully, for want of a better word.
“Our resolutions included that we discovered section 215 (5) almost gives absolute immunity to the police over what they do. So, for a start, we feel we should begin with amending the constitution and delete that offensive section.
“I believe it was well-intended but now it’s obnoxious. From that, we can raise any other reforms to look at the complaints from the public, from the NBA, the civil societies etc.
“We’re waiting for the IGP to send us the list of policemen that had complaints against them in the last five years. We’re also waiting for the list of the victims so that they can be compensated. We’re beginning the budget process, and we want to make sure that there’s a line item that ensures they’re compensated.
“The resolutions also talked about police reform. We already passed the Police Reform Act, but we need to do more. We need to look at the conditions of service, etc.
“Suffice it to say that this House is determined to bring this to fruition. We gave ourselves 30 days to come up with a piece of legislation. We’re working assiduously to achieve the timeline we set for ourselves,” Gbajabiamila said.
The Speaker announced that the House would raise an Adhoc panel that would interface with the NBA on the issue of police brutality and others.
The NBA President, Akpata, had earlier told the Speaker that the visit was to discuss the issue of police brutality and see how the contentious issues could be addressed.
He expressed delight that the House was already doing a lot on the matter, saying Nigerians were eager to see how the matter would be resolved.
“We at the NBA are resolute to collaborate with you on the issues,” he said.
Akpata raised the issue of some Nigerians being detained at different police stations unnecessarily, calling on the Speaker to intervene.
In his response, Gbajabiamila asked the NBA president to identify all the police stations where people were detained for the House to raise a delegation that would meet with the NBA and get them released.
“I think you should identify the stations where people are being held. I will be more than happy to set up a crack team of members to go with you and pursue vigorously those issues. This should be part of the collaboration. We’ll expect your response on this,” Gbajabiamila said.
Meanwhile, the Speaker also hosted the leadership of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) led by the Executive Secretary, Tony Ojukwu, where he raised the same issues relating to police brutality and what the House is doing about it. The Speaker also sought a partnership with the commission as part to efforts to find lasting solutions to human right abuses.
On his part, Ojukwu informed the Speaker that it was important to come up with an investigative panel that would consider the cases of human rights violations by the police and listen to victims of police brutality.
The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has condemned the use of live ammunition by the Nigeria Police in the ongoing protests against police brutality in the country.
Speaking during a press conference on Tuesday in Abuja, NBA President, Olumide Akpata, said the use of live bullet will only aggravate the already tensed situation in the country.
“Under no circumstances should the use of live ammunition against peaceful and lawful protesters be tolerated,” he said.
“Those found culpable must be apprehended and made examples of in the wake of the protests that have resurrected the consciousness of the Nigerian society and indeed the international community to these very important and systemic issues.
“The NBA is convinced that the disbandment of SARS or any other unit by whatever name called, reposting or transferring officers of any disbanded unit and other reactions will only scratch the surface and not offer long-lasting solutions to the endemic issues bedevilling the Nigeria Police as currently constituted.”
Speaking further, Akpata called on the Federal Government and state governments to protect the rights of citizens participating in peaceful protests across the country.
In doing this, the NBA leader wants security agencies to be warned against “assaulting, attacking, abusing or otherwise harassing or otherwise using force against citizens who seek to have their voices heard through the peaceful protests.”
No Spill Of Blood
Meanwhile, ex-President has broken his silence on the protest against police brutality in the country, warning that no Nigerian’s blood should be spilled.
Taking to Twitter, Jonathan who described the protest as peaceful said the move would advance the cause of Nigeria.
“No Nigerian blood needs to be spilled or life lost during a peaceful protest that seeks to advance our country,” he said.
“We may hold different views on national issues, but there is no doubt that most people desire the same thing for Nigeria: a place where we can all live out the full potential of our God-given abilities. I implore everyone to exercise restraint as we walk through these challenging times.”
Jonathan’s remarks followed the series of protests by thousands of youths have been protesting against police brutality, harassment and killings by policemen across major cities since last week.
No Nigerian blood needs to be spilled or life lost during a peaceful protest that seeks to advance our country. We may hold different views on national issues, but there is no doubt that most people desire the same thing for Nigeria:
As part of measures to reform the Nigeria Police, the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, ordered all personnel of the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) to report to the force headquarters in Abuja for debriefing, psychological and medical examination.
While the time-frame for the medical evaluation has not been disclosed, the IGP said that the officers are expected to undergo the process as a prelude to further training and reorientation before being redeployed into mainstream policing duties.
The Los Angeles Lakers, fueled by a triple-double from superstar LeBron James, beat the Denver Nuggets 117-107 on Saturday to reach the NBA Finals.
With the win in the league’s quarantine bubble in Orlando, the Lakers completed a 4-1 victory over the Nuggets in the best-of-seven Western Conference finals.
James scored 16 of his 38 points in the fourth quarter as the Lakers remained perfect in elimination games this post-season.
Denver, already the first team to twice come back from 1-3 series deficits in the same playoffs, couldn’t work the magic again.
James added 16 rebounds and 10 assists, and Anthony Davis scored 27 points for the Lakers, who are back in the championship series for the 32nd time — and the first time since they lifted the trophy for the 16th time in 2010.
Kobe Bryant was NBA Finals MVP that year, and it has been an emotional road to the finals this season for the Lakers after the death of Bryant in a helicopter crash in January.
“Every time you put on the purple and gold you think about his legacy, you think about him and what he meant to this franchise for 20-plus years,” James said of Bryant.
The Lakers will take on the winners of the Eastern Conference final series between the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat. The Heat lead that series 3-2 with game six coming up on Monday.
“We’re going to enjoy it tonight, but we understand we’ve got bigger fish to fry,” James said as the Western Conference title was celebrated on court. “We understand there’s a bigger goal.
Nikola Jokic and Jerami Grant scored 20 points apiece for the Nuggets and Jamal Murray added 19 points with eight assists despite being slowed by injury.
A tight first quarter that featured nine lead changes ended with the Lakers up 33-30, with reserve Alex Caruso pushing the Lakers’ lead in the closing seconds with a layup off an assist by James.
With 14 points from James in the second quarter the Lakers began to separate themselves, leading by as many as 11 points and taking a 61-51 lead into halftime.
It looked like the Lakers might run away with it when they built a 16-point lead early in the third quarter.
But Denver kept chipping away. Murray drove for a basket and was fouled, converting the free throw to cut the Lakers’ lead to two points.
Murray’s two free throws with 11 seconds left in the third made it 84-84 before Davis drained a three-pointer to put the Lakers up 87-84 heading into the final period.
– ‘Amazing’ LeBron –
That’s when James took over. Fouled on back-to-back baskets he made the free-throws to stretch the Lakers lead to 95-88 with 9:33 remaining.
James scored nine straight points late in the period — a stretch capped by a three-pointer that put the Lakers up 115-103 with 1:57 left.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever witnessed a guy take over a game the way he did in the fourth quarter tonight in person,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said of James. “It was remarkable.”
James is in the NBA Finals for the 10th time — and the first time with the Lakers.
“I’m extremely proud to be a part of this franchise getting back to where it belongs, and that’s playing for championships,” James said.
Davis is in the championship series for the first time in his first season in Los Angeles, after his move from New Orleans.
“Feels good,” Davis said. “It’s good to get something like this accomplished with this group of guys.
“We battled through a lot this year, starting with the beginning of the season. We know the job’s not done. It’s a great feeling, but we got four more to win for the ultimate goal.”
Nuggets star Jokic said he and his teammates would never forget their experience in the bubble, where the NBA resumed play in July four months after halting play in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.
“We had a really good group of guys,” Jokic said. “There was a lot of fight in us. We had six elimination games.
“Today, they were better,” he said. “They won the game. LeBron was amazing.”
The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has described the recently concluded Edo governorship election as generally peaceful.
The decision was reached following the supervision of the observer group constituted by the NBA President Olumide Akpata with membership majorly drawn from different NBA branches in Edo State.
“The 2020 Edo state governorship election was generally peaceful. We have not been able to confirm any death in any polling unit during the election,” the group said.
The observer group observed that the presence of police security and military “appear to have calmed nerves of political stakeholders and their agents,” they also observed that there was no incident of violence in the last 48 hours before Election Day.
The NBA group is also of the opinion that the provision of materials was adequate in the circumstances of the elections conducted in the different units and the materials were available in over 80% of the Polling units as and when due.
See full report of the group below…
Nigeria Bar Association ‘NBA’ Edo State 2020 Governorship election Observer Group. Interim report.
The Nigerian Bar Association ‘NBA’ is one of the foremost professional bodies in Nigeria that the Independent National Electoral Commission ‘INEC’ partners with for the purpose of its statutory elections. As it is conventional, the NBA President constituted a 12-man supervisory observer group ‘the group’ for this purpose. The group is led by the 1st vice President of the NBA, Mr. John Aikpokpo-Martins. The membership of the group was majorly drawn from different NBA branches in Edo state.
The group converged and met in Benin City on Thursday 17th September 2020. We discussed logistics and coverage plan. The group members took possession of their election materials. The group was divided into about seven ‘7’ different groups and we agreed that for the purpose of logistics and adequate coverage, other members of the NBA branches in the state should be co-opted to provide onsite reports of electoral incidents to assist us. The group agreed to utilize different social media platforms for the purpose of dissemination of reports.
The group observed from Thursday17th September to the early hours of Saturday 19th September 2020 ‘election day’ that there was heavy presence of security personnel in every nook and cranny of Edo state. The presence of police security and military appear to have calmed the nerves of political stakeholders and their agents. There was no incident of violence in the last 48 hours before election day. We heard in the news that the People Democratic Party ‘PDP’ Edo election national coordinator, Governor Wike of Rivers state’s hotel was besieged by security operatives. The group made an attempt to verify this report through a visit to the locus, however, we were unable to confirm the precise position.
Election day Observation
As early as 7:30am, the group set out to different wards and Local Government Areas ‘LGAs’ as agreed. The convergence of opinion generally suggests that voting commenced between 9 am and 10 am in about 70% of the polling units throughout the state. The electorate converged as early as 8 am, however, most of the Polling Units officers did not arrive in the stations until about 9am-10am. The accreditation and voting were conducted simultaneously.
The arrival of Election Officials – From the over 250 polling units aggregately covered by the group, we concluded that the arrival time of INEC officials is fair, and we score them 60% in this regard.
Voting – As alluded above, voting commenced between 9am and 10am in most of the polling units. The sensitive materials for the elections did not arrive until about this time. We believe INEC require some improvement around logistics and deployment of ad-hoc staff/election materials.
Provision of materials – Our group is of the opinion that provision of materials was adequate in the circumstances of the elections conducted in the different units. We observed that materials were available in over 80% of the Polling units as and when due.
COVID19 compliance – The overall impression of the group in the areas covered suggests that there was a disappointing observance of COVID19 protocols. INEC officials could have done better by organising voters in this instance. We strongly hold the opinion that COVID19 protocols compliance at the just-concluded Edo election was abysmal and it is rated 25%. Protocols like washing of hands and social distancing were not observed at all.
Electorate/Voters turnout – The turnout was low. However, it is important to state that the people who turned out were enthusiastic about the process and there was a considerable level of interest in most of the Polling units visited in the state. There was obvious voter apathy.
Demographics of voters
The older voters from age 40 and above came out to vote, while the youths did not come out.
The female citizens represented about 70% of voters during the election.
Agents of political parties – The agents of most political parties were generally satisfied with the election. We spoke to several agents and they expressed satisfaction.
Card Readers – In the units covered by the group, the card readers malfunctioned minimally. The device worked well in most polling units and we observed that there is substantial improvement in the deployment of card readers. In one or two units where the card readers broke down, the officials informed us that they had requested for back up card reader.
Security – There was more than adequate security in the state. The polling units had a heavy presence of security and we observed that the security personnel were not in the faces of the voters. They did not intimidate the voters.
The only snag we observed is the fact that the Policemen were either not professionally trained about election protocol or they were not informed that observers are part of the election process. We recommend that INEC should improve in this area of enlightenment engagement with security forces.
Vote Buying/Inducement – The group only heard about vote-buying and distribution of money to induce voters, however, we did not see or encounter any of such incident on the day of the election.
Interference by Election officials – The election officials did not interfere with the voters in almost 100% of the units we covered.
The 2020 Edo state governorship election was generally peaceful. We have not been able to confirm any death in any polling unit during the election. Our observation ended at about 4pm on the day of the election and we have deliberately excluded the final process of result collation since we did not cover that aspect. In a subsequent report, we shall elaborate on additional recommendations for INEC during future elections.
The Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) says it is closely monitoring the activities leading to the governorship election in Edo State.
NBA First Vice President, John Aikpokpo-Martins, disclosed this on Thursday during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily in Abuja.
He explained that the body is satisfied with the peaceful manner political actors have conducted themselves so far.
“The NBA does not have the resources to follow up from the beginning to the end. As an association, this particular team was set up to observe from tomorrow till the election will be over; that is to say to the announcement of the result.
“However, we have been watching and observing all that is going on. For now, we are satisfied to the extent that the parties have conducted themselves very well, they have campaigned hard,” he said.
Speaking on the possibility of violence in the polls, the legal practitioner said there have been allegations of “threat to violence but not actual violence yet.”
The NBA leader said the allegations and counter-allegations do not automatically translate to violence on the election day.
Aikpokpo-Martins, who is also an indigene of Edo State, said the state does not have a history of violence in previous elections.
Although he admitted that the political atmosphere is tensed with the “temperature very high,” he is however optimistic of peaceful conduct of the exercise on September 19.
“The security is very tight now. There are a lot of soldiers, a lot of policemen on the streets. I am very sure that will dissuade merchants of violence from going out to disrupt the election in a violent way,” he said.
His remarks come two days after the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate and incumbent governor, Godwin Obaseki embraced his main rival and contender in the poll, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The duo beaming with smiles warmly hugged each other, an indication that they have decided to toe the line of peace and avoid unnecessary bloodshed in the election.
The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has constituted an Observer Group for the Edo State governorship elections slated for Saturday 19th of September, 2020.
A statement from the NBA says the Group will be led by its 1st Vice-President, John Aikpokpo-Martins.
Read the full statement below:
NBA OBSERVER GROUP FOR EDO STATE GUBERNATORIAL ELECTION Dear Colleagues, The Edo State Gubernatorial election will take place this Saturday, the 19th day of September 2020. The President of the Nigerian Bar Association – Olumide Akpata has appointed the following persons as members of the NBA observer Group for the Edo State Gubernatorial election. They are: 1. John Aikpokpo-Martins – NBA 1st Vice-president 2. Kunle Edun – NBA Welfare Secretary 3. Solomon Odiase – NBA Benin Branch 4. A. A. Atemagbo – NBA Auchi Branch 5. Okoduwa Maile – Chairman NBA Ekpoma Branch 6. Chris Ekuze – Chairman NBA Uromi Branch 7. Kolade Olorunmola – Chairman NBA Igarra Branch 8. Ogaga Emoghware – NBA Benin Branch 9. Prof. Izevbuwa – NBA Benin Branch 10. Prof. Inegbedion – NBA Ekpoma Branch 11. Aderemi Oguntoye – NBA Lagos Branch 12. Osadorlor Okunkpolor – NBA Benin Branch.
The team will be led by John Aikpokpo-Martins – NBA 1st Vice President.
Dr. Rapulu Nduka Publicity Secretary, Nigerian Bar Association
LeBron James had 29 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists as the Los Angeles Lakers advanced to their first NBA Western Conference final in a decade with a 119-96 blowout win over the Houston Rockets on Saturday.
Anthony Davis tallied 13 points and 11 rebounds, Kyle Kuzma had 17 and Markieff Morris finished with 16 for the Lakers, who eliminated the Rockets in five games in the quarantine bubble in Orlando, Florida.
Los Angeles advanced to their first NBA final four since the Kobe Bryant-led Lakers beat Phoenix for the conference title and then defeated Boston for the 2010 NBA championship, the last time they won.
“It’s the reason I wanted to be a part of this franchise is to take them back to a place they were accustomed to being. And that’s competing for a championship,” said James.
“It’s an honour for me to wear the purple and gold and for us to just try to continue the legacy and just play great basketball for our fans.”
This will be James’s 11th career conference finals but when asked by reporters how it feels, he changed the subject to talk about the group as a whole.
“Every game is a learning experience for us. Every game is another opportunity for us to get better. We want to continue to build,” said James.
They will face either the Los Angeles Clippers or the Denver Nuggets in the next playoff round. The Clippers lead that series 3-2.
The Lakers got off to their best start of the series, dominating the opening plays to take a 35-20 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Their only lull of the game came in the start of the second quarter when Houston briefly woke from their slumber and cut the lead to seven, 38-31.
But the Lakers outscored the Rockets 33-18 in the third to take full command.
They drained 19 three-pointers and shot 52 percent from the floor.
With the game in hand, the Lakers sat three-time NBA champion James and Davis for much of the fourth quarter.
“Everything is falling into place. When I got here the goal was to win a championship and now we are eight wins away,” said Davis.
– ‘A piece away’ –
Once again the James Harden-led Rockets put up little resistance as Houston, after surprising the Lakers in game one of the series, lost their fourth straight and their third in a row by more than 10 points.
Harden led the Rockets with 30 points and Russell Westbrook scored just 10 in the loss.
Harden had a disappointing series, delivering another series of fourth-quarter playoff disappearing acts that have pockmarked his career.
“Tough season for us. Obviously it didn’t end the way we wanted it to. So, we just got to figure it out,” he said.
In the past five years, Harden has shot less than 25 percent from beyond the arc in post-season fourth quarters and overtime. He finished two-of-eight from three-point range on Saturday.
Harden said Saturday all they need to become great is to add one more piece to the puzzle.
“It’s very, very frustrating. Especially the amount of work individually I put in,” he said. “But I’ve got to keep chipping away. I’ve got to keep going and keep going until I can’t go anymore.
“I feel like we’re a piece away and we’ve just got keep trying to figure it out. Keep trying to put the pieces around me and Russ to get us where we want to go,” said Harden.
Tempers flared in the fourth quarter both on and off the floor. The brother of Lakers Rajon Rondo now has the dubious honour of being the first fan thrown out of a bubble game after he exchanged words with Houston’s Westbrook.
The public is not allowed in the arena because of the coronavirus pandemic but players are allowed to invite a limited number of family and friends to watch the games in person.
Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni, whose contract expires at the end of the season, couldn’t say whether he will be back.
“We’ll see what happens. I had four years. Hopefully it keeps going, but you just never know,” he said.
The Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (BOSAN), has set up a Committee to audit the national elections of the Nigerian Bar Association for the years 2016, 2018 and 2020.
The BOSAN meeting which held over the weekend was presided over by the first female Senior Advocate, Mrs Folake Solanke.
At his inaugural address, the President of the Bar, Olumide Akpata had announced the setting up of an Electoral Audit and Reforms Committee to audit the 2016, 2018 and 2020 elections and recommend reforms to guide future elections.
But there are those who believe that this procedure is wrong as it should have been the decision of the National Executive Committee of the NBA especially as Mr Akpata is the beneficiary of the flawed elections.
Channels Television gathered that BOSAN feels equally concerned about the outcome of the last three elections and wants the committee to embark on a fact-finding mission to unravel what happened so that the NBA can have credible elections going forward.
Some negative reactions have, however, trailed the move. A statement by a group, Open Bar Initiative insists that BOSAN’s move to audit the elections is only because a non-SAN emerged as President of the Bar.
In the statement signed by the convener, Silas Onu, the group called on the Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (BOSAN) to desist from its attempt to audit the 2020 NBA Elections as it amounts to an attempt to supervise, meddle and undermine the NBA.
The statement further says that “the entire membership of BOSAN is less than 600 and as such, they aren’t in any position to act or speak for the over 120,000 lawyers in Nigeria.
The Open Bar Initiative concluded by saying that it is set to take BOSAN to court if it insists on acting unilaterally in ways that undermine the core purpose and responsibilities of the Nigerian Bar Association.
In a swift reaction, a member of the BOSAN Audit Committee, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa (SAN), debunked insinuations that the BOSAN committee was set up to rival the audit committee set up by the President of the Bar, Olumide Akpata.
Adegboruwa said the setting up of the BOSAN commuter was a unanimous decision of the body with no ill motive or foul play in mind.
According to him: “the insinuation of alleged foul play is totally unwarranted, being a deliberate attempt to twist the narrative of the BOSAN meeting, with the sole aim of blackmailing the noble men and women of the Inner Bar, into silence.
He also said all stakeholders in the legal profession are working towards a solution to the perennial complaints following the experiences with electronic voting and it is, therefore, not outside BOSAB’s mandate as lawyers to help the Bar to chart a way forward in this regard, in collaboration with the NBA and other relevant stakeholders.
See the full responses of the Open Bar Initiative and Ebun Adegboruwa’s response below:
Our attention has been drawn to the sinister activity of a group known and referred to as the Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (BOSAN), an independent incorporated trustee, with no connection to the NBA whatsoever, as it constitutes itself into a supervising body of the Nigerian Bar Association.
Today, they plan to announce a committee of that body to audit the just-concluded NBA Election. It is evident that many Senior Advocates who personally felt defeated by a non-SAN are now working overtime to supplant the Nigerian Bar Association with a group formed only for the SANs.
This is not the only overbearing activity embarked upon by the group without any authority from Nigerian Lawyers.
They have also constituted themselves into the drafters of the proposed amendment to the Legal Practitioner’s Act and therein attempting to give the body a statutory flavour.
This attempts to undermine the Nigerian Bar Association simply because a Non-SAN is the current President by promoting another platform that will speak for and on behalf of lawyers is unfortunate and hereby condemned.
It cannot stand and must be resisted by all well-meaning Nigerian lawyers.
Senior Advocates, like Young Lawyers, have the right to come together under a forum that is subject to the Nigerian Bar Association. However, incorporating an independent body with the aim of surreptitiously taking over the core responsibilities of the Nigerian Bar Association is, sadly, demonstrative of the rot that some of these Seniors have brought to this profession.
The only reason for such a body is to show a distinction between “ordinary” lawyers and the “extraordinary” Senior Advocates, who have now surpassed the level of being called lawyers, or so we imagine.
The Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria, being an independent incorporated trustee has no business whatsoever in meddling with NBA Election under any guise and should discontinue any attempt to so interfere forthwith. They can organise an election for their preferred candidates to lead their own body and it won’t be our business at all.
Also, the body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria is not known to the legal practitioner’s Act and has no place in the proposed amendment of the said Act. If they have any input to make, it should be routed through the recognized body of lawyers, the Nigerian Bar Association. They cannot constitute themselves as a body acting for or on behalf of lawyers.
Their entire membership is less than 600 and as such, they aren’t in any position to act or speak for the over 120, 000 lawyers in Nigeria. They are to desist from further usurpation of responsibilities that does not fall within their purview.
We are resolved to drag that body to court if it insists on acting unilaterally in ways that undermine the core purpose and responsibilities of the Nigerian Bar Association.
We know that not all Senior Advocates subscribe to the objectives of this body and therefore call on the very respected Senior Advocates of Nigeria, properly so-called, to dissociate themselves from this attempt to undermine the Nigerian Bar Association simply because a Non-SAN is presently the President.
Silas Joseph Onu, MCIArb Past Publicity Secretary, Nigerian Bar Association, Abuja Branch. & Convener, Open Bar Initiative.
COMMITTEE TO AUDIT NBA ELECTIONS
My attention has been drawn to a news item currently circulating, to the effect that the Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria, BOSAN, has set up a parallel Committee to audit the national elections of the Nigerian Bar Association for the year 2016, 2018 and 2020. The said report suggests that BOSAN may have done this in order to undermine the Committee set up by the NBA for the same purpose.
I attended the meeting of BOSAN held on September 5, 2020, as a bona fide member of the said organization, which is duly registered under the relevant laws of Nigeria for the protection of the interests of its members, as permitted under section 40 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended.
I was nominated along with other distinguished members of BOSAN, for a national assignment, as a patriotic member of the legal profession in Nigeria. It was a unanimous decision of BOSAN, with no ill motive or foul play in mind. The meeting was presided over by the first female Senior Advocate, Mrs. Folake Solanke, who sacrificed her time for the said meeting that lasted well over four hours, at well over 80 years of age, for the common good of all.
All stakeholders in the legal profession are working towards a solution to the perennial complaints following our experiences with electronic voting, it is therefore not outside our mandate as lawyers to help the Bar to chart a way forward in this regard, in collaboration with the NBA and other relevant stakeholders.
The insinuation of alleged foul play is totally unwarranted, being a deliberate attempt to twist the narrative of the BOSAN meeting, with the sole aim of blackmailing the noble men and women of the Inner Bar, into silence.
Personally, I am embarrassed that a meeting held to discuss the progress of the Bar and indeed Nigeria, is being bandied as a gang up, even when no official statement or communique has been issued by the executive council of BOSAN.
I verily believe that those spreading this falsehood are enemies of the Bar, who are out on a sadistic mission to pit the NBA against BOSAN, without any justification whatsoever, given that both bodies exist to complement each other.
I’m concerned that the good reputation of patriotic Bar leaders is being maligned recklessly on the altar of Bar politics, or else I cannot fathom the reason why anyone should lose sleep over attempts to build a united, strong and virile Bar.
From available history, BOSAN has never been in rivalry with any NBA Exco; it has been in existence before the new Exco assumed office and it will continue to partner with all NBA Excos for the progress of the Bar and Nigeria at large.
Personally, I offer to work with all stakeholders within the Bar, including the present leadership of the NBA, for the common good of the legal profession and our country, Nigeria, as I do in other national issues.