‘Security Will be Top Priority at the 2021 NBA-AGC’

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For the 2021 Annual General Conference (AGC) of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Lawyers will converge on the Garden City of Port Harcourt, Rivers State. The Chairman of Technical Committee on Conference Planning (TCCP), Frank Omubo Briggs assured Onikepo Braithwaite and Jude Igbanoi that, although the Conference themed “Taking the Lead” is hybrid in nature, that is, both physical and virtual, it will be a memorable experience for Conferees who are promised a mentally invigorating, insightful, educative time, as well as fun-filled activities throughout the seven days in Port Harcourt

The Garden City, Port Harcourt will host Nigerian Lawyers to the 2021 Annual General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) from October 22 – 29. Kindly, give us an overview of the Conference, and how will you ensure that the protocols are strictly adhered to prevent the spread of the deadly Corona virus?

It’s a Hybrid Conference, with “Taking The Lead” as its theme. On Friday, the 22nd of October, there will be Jumat Prayers, and the collection of Conference Materials will commence. On Saturday, the 23rd of October, there will be a Health Walk and a Welcome Cocktail. On Sunday, the 24th of October, there will be Multi Denominational Church Service and Opening of the Friendship Centre. On Monday the 25th of October, there will be the Opening Ceremony, One Plenary Session and Four Breakout Sessions. On Tuesday the 26th of October, there will be One Plenary Session and Eight Breakout Sessions. On Wednesday the 27th of October, there will be One Plenary Session and Eight Breakout Sessions. Thursday the 28th of October is for AGMs.

There will be sports and games such as Dance Aerobics, Football, Golf, Table Tennis, Chess and Scrabble and social events every day, namely; Cocktail, Opening of Friendship Centre, Dinners, Rivers Night and UnbaRed 4.0.

Arrangements have been put in place to cater to the needs of the elderly, persons that are physically challenged, and Mothers in need of a Creche.

Is registration still ongoing, and will there be onsite registration?
Registration for physical attendance ended on the 30th of September, 2021 and there will not be onsite registration; however, registration for virtual participation is ongoing.

As the Chairman of the Technical Committee on Conference Planning (TCCP), what would you say Nigerian Lawyers should be looking forward to at this year’s Conference?

A mentally invigorating, insightful, educative and not forgetting a fun time. A memorable experience.

Port Harcourt City used to be known as a logistics nightmare. The traffic was quite unfriendly. We know that the Governor has done a lot of road construction. Has that helped to ease the traffic? How do you intend to ease access to the Conference venue?

We are in partnership with the Federal Road Safety Corps, the Police and other security agencies to ensure a free flow of traffic throughout the period, and indeed, the road constructions by His Excellency, Governor Nyesom Wike, will be a huge plus in aiding the free flow of vehicular traffic, particularly around the Conference venue.

Furthermore, to reduce vehicular traffic around the Conference venue, we have adopted the Park-N-Ride System. Delegates are expected to park their cars at designated venues, to wit: Bori Camp, Airforce Base and Obi Wali Centre; from where our buses, courtesy the Government of Rivers State, will transport them to the Conference venue.

What are your plans regarding the security of Conferees coming to Port Harcourt? We are all aware that the level of insecurity in the country is unprecedented. Though the Governor is well known to take the security of the State very seriously, what should Nigerian Lawyers bear in mind as they come to Port Harcourt, security wise?

In addition to the efforts of the Government of Rivers State to ensure the safety of all conferees, we are in direct contact with the Police and other securities agencies in the State, with a view to ensuring that adequate measures are put in place to guarantee the safety of all conferees.

What are the TCCP’s plans regarding accommodation for Lawyers, especially those who may not be financially buoyant? How will the NBA ease the financial burden of the Conference for young Lawyers, particularly those who will be attending physically?

Lawyers are personally responsible for their accommodation; however, the TCCP through a Logistics Company, NACO Logistics, secured considerable discounts from several hotels in Port Harcourt and this has really helped our members especially young Lawyers
What is the level of cooperation between the TCCP and the NBA Branches in Rivers State? In previous Conferences, Lawyers have noticed some disconnect between the two
There is maximum cooperation between the TCCP and the eight NBA Branches in Rivers State. The Conference is being planned by the TCCP with the support of the Local Organising Committee, comprising the Chairmen of all the Branches in the State and other members, also from the said Branches.
What about Conference materials? The stress involved in Lawyers collecting their Conference bags, have in some instances, resulted in many Lawyers not getting their bags for almost a year.
The collection of Conference bags and other materials will commence in the afternoon on Friday the 22nd of October, and we have taken steps to ensure that it will be a seamless process.

We have enough bags and every delegate will get a bag and other Conference materials, but there will be no collection by proxy, except for those that registered as a group. Only the person nominated as the representative of a group at the time of registration, shall be eligible to collect the bags and other Conference materials for members of the group.

What events have been put in place to enable Lawyers socialise and network amongst themselves?

This year’s AGC is designed to encourage delegates to socialise and network. There will be Dance Aerobics daily from about 6.30am, sports and games every afternoon, and a social event every evening. These programs, without a doubt, will create ample opportunities for networking. Besides, the business/technical sessions on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday will on each day end not later than 2.30pm, which will afford delegates the opportunity and sufficient time for networking.