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Tuesday, October 4, 2022

The National Executive Committee of the Nigeria Bar Association, NBA, has suspended the association’s General Secretary, Mrs Joyce Oduah from office with immediate effect on the grounds of gross misconduct pending the pre-Conference meeting of the NBA-NEC scheduled to hold on Sunday 21st August 2022.

This was disclosed on Monday by the NBA Publicity Secretary, Rapulu Nduka, in the resolution reached by the National Executive Committee at its Emergency Meeting.

This is following a major disagreement between the outgoing NBA President, Olumide Akpata and Oduah on issues bordering on the proposed Constitutional Amendment.

Disobedience To Lawful Order, Reason For Oduah’s Suspension

In an internal memo from the NBA National Officers to Akpata on August 14, they referred “in particular to the actions of Mrs. Joyce Oduah, the General Secretary of the Association who has from the very beginning of this administration constituted a clog in the smooth administration of the Association by various acts of dereliction of duty, disobedience to lawful orders, misconducting herself and being involved in acts and behaviors which are likely to, and have indeed brought the Association into disrepute.”

In the memo released, Oduah was accused by the national officers of lacking proper temperament expected of the General Secretary in the management of secretariat staff as well as her inability to diligently discharge the duties of her office.

Proposed Constitutional Amendment Imperative To Sustain Growth Of Association

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According to the Officers’ memo, in the course of the current administration, they had to recognise some very critical imperatives that needed to be constitutionally institutionalized to sustain the growth and progress of the association.

But it added that in respect of several meetings of the National Executive Committee, the General Secretary, who attended the meetings and noted the deliberations, sent out different information to members, particularly with regards to the proposed constitutional amendment of the NBA, on August 12.

The initial proposed amendment include: “Such critical objects were the establishment of a stabilization fund, the backbone to the implementation and sustainability of the access to finance scheme introduced by this administration; review of the disciplinary process of legal practitioners (most members will note that the disciplinary process has collapsed); the recurrent issue of whether administrations in branches should be truncated to enable uniform conduct of elections in June of an election years regardless of the time of assumption of the administration (Ikeja case as a reference herein); retrospective interpretation of Article 6(3) of the uniform Bye Laws for Branches; limitation of qualification and eligibility to contest for membership of the General Council of the Bar, because of the increasing external threats; increment of remittances to the branches from 10% to 20% and sundry issues that militate against a better delivery of good governance and inclusiveness in the affairs of the Association by members.”

In a resolution signed on Monday by NBA First Vice President, John Aikpokpo-Martins and other Committee members, the Assistant General Secretary, Ms. Uchenna Nwadialo, shall immediately act as the General Secretary, adding that the urgent action is geared towards forestalling a crisis in the NBA.

Moreso, the NBA President, had already issued an email to members asking them to ignore the letter (Withdrawal of Notice of Proposed Amendments To The Constitution of the Nigerian Bar Association 2015 amended in 2021) issued by the General Secretary insisting that it was not approved by him or any other National Officers.

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