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NBA conference: Over 400 Nigerians sign petition to demand removal of El-Rufai as speaker


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FOLLOWING virtual protests against the inclusion of Nasir El-Rufai, Governor of Kaduna State as one of the speakers in the forthcoming Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) annual conference, some lawyers have raised a petition to demand the removal of the governor from the panel.

The petition created by a Usani Odum, a Twitter user who is also a lawyer had attracted 416 signatures to demand that El-Rufai be stopped from appearing at the conference due to the ongoing killings in Southern Kaduna.

Odum in the petition that domiciled on Change.org condemned the ongoing genocide in Southern Kaduna, stating that El-Rufai’s comment on the happenings was ‘diversionary’ and as such isn’t qualified to be on the panel of speakers lined up for the event.

The petition is titled : Help stop Nasir El-Rufai from speaking at NBA AGC.

“The senseless killings in Southern Kaduna must stop!! The political correctness of Governor El-Rufai on national television is diversionary. It is a reversal to have him speak to lawyers on security, when Governor Zulum of Borno is a better person to do so,” the petition read.

“We may not be able to do anything to stop the killings, but we can stop the governor from speaking at the NBA-AGC to show our disapproval of the manner he has handled the situation.”

Many of those who signed the petition also dropped their reasons for not wanting El-Rufai to speak at the conference.

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“El Rufai is evil and has nothing to tell Lawyers. This madness must stop. NBA cannot aid the ongoing genocide/ ethnic cleansing going on under Nasir El Rufai’s watch in the Christian dominated part of Southern Kaduna. Any speech made by El Rufai will surely have an inprint of blood!” wrote Lazkings Chikezie.

Favour Njoku said, ” NBA we cannot aid this madness!!! Elrufai has nothing to tell us.”

On Tuesday, The ICIR reported that some lawyers kicked against the choice of the Kaduna State Governor as a speaker at the conference, citing the violent attacks in the state under this watch.

They threatened to boycott the conference if organisers failed to drop his name from the list of 10 speakers invited for the virtual conference.

Paul Usoro, outgoing president of the NBA, had said the 2019 Annual General Conference of association recorded an attendance of over 12,000 delegates, noting that the upcoming 2020 conference is expected to record a higher number of participants.

Other speakers expected at the conference are Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Nyesom Wike, Governor of Rivers State  Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker of House of Representatives, Olusegun Obasanjo, former President and Tanko Muhammad, Chief Justice of Nigeria,

Ike Ekweremadu, former Deputy Senate President, Abubakar Malami, Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Brian Speers, President of the Commonwealth Lawyers Association, Linda Dobbs, Director of Training at the Judicial Institute for Africa are also expected to speak at the conference.

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The NBA is yet to address the grievances of lawyers at the time of filing this report.

Seun Durojaiye is a journalist with International Center for Investigative Reporting (ICIR).

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