MEMBERS of Muslim Lawyers Association of Nigeria (MULAN), Kaduna State Chapter Saturday, described the decision of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) to withdraw its invitation to Nasir El Rufai, Governor of Kaduna State as parochial and ethno-religious.
The lawyers who said they were disappointed at the unfortunate de-invitation of El-Rufai to the NBA annual conference starting on August 26, also said they were boycotting the conference.
Abbas Masanawa, Chairman Kaduna State branch of MULAN speaking during a press conference accused the NBA of partiality stressing that its National Executive Committee (NEC) had engaged in actions capable of splitting the Bar association.
“MULAN is disappointed at the unfortunate de-invitation of mallam Nasir el-rufai to the AGC of the association, 2020. The same position of the NBA NEC is deemed by MULAN Kaduna branch has been parochial, sentimental, disuniting and tainted with favouritism and ethnoreligious considerations,” Masanawa stated.
He also accused the NBA of extending its invitation to Nyesom Wike, the River State Governor while El-rufai was left out.
According to the group, Rivers is known to be a christian state which they maintained is against the nation’s constituional provisions for a state to adopt a particular religion.
“Without mincing words, the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 precisely, Section 10 states in clear terms that “the Government of Federation or of any state shall not adopt any religion as a State Religion”. We are witnesses to how Governor Nyesom Wike demolished a Mosque and came out openly to say, ‘I repeat once again without apologies, Rivers is a Christian State. That is why nobody can touch us,” he said.
“We believe that NBA NEC deemed these utterances glorious hence the lofty invitation to Nyesom Wike to use cur hallowed platform to propagate his governance inklings and dis-invitation of Governor El-Rufai. MULAN Kaduna Branch believes what is sauce for the goose should be sauce for the gander.
“…In conclusion and in view of the unfortunate decision of the NBA NEC, MULAN Kaduna Branch is left with no option than to instruct its members to withdraw their participation in the forthcoming NBA AGC and enjoins all Muslim Lawyers in Nigeria to join in the boycott,” the group stated.
The NBA NEC had withdrawn its invite to El-Rufai to speak at the 60th annual conference following protest by some lawyers against the governor on the ground that he has always violated rule of law and also condoned killings in Southern Kaduna.
Some aggrieved members of the legal profession who also threatened to boycott the conference said the governor lacks moral uprightness to speak at the virtual due to insecurity situation in Kaduna State.
They argued that El Rufai swore an oath to protect lives and property and ensure peaceful co-existence in the territory but the reverse is the case.
Open Bar Initiative, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) which focus on social justice and advocacy also joined the bandwagon.
“El-Rufai has been an agent of impunity and division who supports extra-judicial killings and buildings of mass graves,” the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) asserted through Ibrahim Musato, its spokesperson.
But MULAN members insisted insecurity is not peculiar to the state as banditry and other forms of attacks occur around various parts of Kaduna.
They argued further on why the NBA resolved to take action against the governor on the basis of killings despite the insecurity situation in the northeastern part of the country.
“The NBA has clearly shown where it has belonged, having kept quiet all this while over the killings in other parts of North East, and even the issues of banditry in other parts of Kaduna State, but particularly picked a side on the issue of southern Kaduna crisis which is no different from other crisis in some parts of the north,” the group stated.
“The reason is religious bias.”
The group, however, applauded members of the public, especially the Muslim community for their support against what it described as ‘daylight bias’ by the NBA.
Kaduna State has over the years recorded persistent killings, banditry and other forms of insecurity. Though, the insecurity situation is not peculiar to the state, stakeholders in the state queried the governor of alleged incompetence to fix the communal crisis ravaging the state.