Lawyers Reject el-Rufai as Speaker at NBA Conference

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Some lawyers have asked the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) to withdraw its invitation to the Governor of Kaduna State, Malam Nasir el-Rufai, to speak at the association’s annual general conference.

In a petition to the Chairman of the Technical Committee on the NBA Conference Planning, Mr. Koyinsola Ajayi (SAN), the lawyers under the aegis of Open Bar Initiative described the invitation as a “reward for misrule.”

In the petition, the Convener of the group, Mr. Silas Onu, said the governor “represents the very anti-thesis of what we profess to defend.”

The group also said that in addition to governing a state that has been described as “the most dangerous state in Nigeria in 2020, el-Rufai has on several occasions abused the rights of Nigerians”.

It added that “a major focus of the intolerance of Mallam el-Rufai has been lawyers and the legal profession,” recalling when, in 2016, the governor allegedly threatened to abduct Gloria Ballason, a lawyer, “because she had criticised him in a news article.”

The lawyers further said while speaking at the conference may be argued as an opportunity for el-Rufai to be examined by the participants, lawyers who have criticised him “have suffered untold persecution” from the governor.

“As Governor, Mallam el-Rufai has shown no regard for the rule of law, for human rights or for human beings,” the petition read.

“He has been reckless in his utterances, hubristic in his outlook and irresponsible with power. Offering him the platform of the NBA Annual General Conference 2020 is reward for misrule.”