Outraged by members reactions, the leadership of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) says it has withdrawn its invitation to Kaduna State Gov. Nasir el-Rufai to speak at its 2020 Annual General Conference.
The protests from some lawyers shook the association to its roots as it bowed to their wishes.
The NBA said in a tweet on Thursday via its Twitter handle @NigBarAssoc: “The National Executive Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association at its ongoing meeting resolves that the invitation to the Kaduna State Governor, H.E. Nasir El-Rufai, by the 2020 Annual General Conference Planning committee be withdrawn and decision communicated to the Governor.”
The theme of the conference which holds from August 24-26, 2020, is: “Am I a Nigerian – A Debate on National Identity, the Indigeneship-Citizenship Conundrum.”
Persecondnews had reported that a group of lawyers under the aegis of 0pen Bar Initiative had forwarded a petition signed by Silas Onu and Auta Nyada,
to the Chairman, Technical Committee on Conference Planning, Prof. Koyinsola Ajayi, that the governor must not be allowed to speak at the conference.
They listed 10 allegations against el-Rufai and his son, Bello, who is a Special Adviser to Kaduna Central lawmaker, Senator Uba Sani.
Also, a lawyer, Mr Usani Odum, had protested and garnered over 3,150 signatures on Change.Org as of 4 pm on Thursday.
The lawyers cited el-Rufai’s alleged poor human rights record and his inability to stop the killings, particularly in southern Kaduna.
They also recalled many controversial utterances of the governor, including a threat during the run-up to the general elections in 2019 that any foreigner that interfered in the poll would leave Nigeria in body bags.
Guest speakers include former President Olusegun, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), former Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State, Governor Wike of Rivers State and a former Minister of Education, Oby Ezekwesili.
Others are Sokoto Gov. Aminu Tambowwal and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila.