A group in the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA is putting pressure on the association to withdraw the invitation of former President Olusegun Obasanjo and Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State as speakers at its 60th Annual General Conference, AGC.
The Radical Agenda Movement in the Nigerian Bar Association, RAMINBA claims that Obasanjo and Wike have at one time or the other acted against the rule of law.
The group apparently took a cue from another group of lawyers Open Bar Initiative, whose petition against Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State led to the withdrawal of the invitation extended to the governor as one of the guest speakers.
Open Bar Initiative had accused the governor of representing the very antithesis of what they profess to defend.
Kaduna Muslim Lawyers and the Damaturu branch of the NBA yesterday joined the Jigawa and Bauchi branches in threatening to boycott the AGC unless the treatment given El-Rufai was reversed.
In a statement yesterday, RAMINBA chairman, Adesina Ogunlana, and the secretary, Ayo Ademiluyi, alleged that Obasanjo masterminded the1999 Odi massacre and attempted to tamper with Nigeria’s constitution for a third-term agenda.
Wike, on the other hand, it said, destroyed some properties during the COVID-19 lockdown in his state despite a court order against his action.
“He is the same governor who ordered the demolition without a court order of two hotels in Rivers State recently. The Rivers States task force under the control of Governor Wike is an agency notorious for violation of the human rights of citizens in carrying out their tasks,” the lawyers said.
Wike himself is a lawyer.
The group said it was “baffled” that the list of speakers at the conference still retains the names of Ex-President Obasanjo and Governor Wike.
t added:“We are persuaded that these men, by their antecedents vis-a-vis respect for and promotion of the rule of law and due process, are not fit for an invitation as speakers in a function such as the conference of the Nigerian Bar Association, whose mantra remains to promote the rule of law.
“Balogun Obasanjo is known in Nigeria’s most recent history to have launched some of the most brutal assaults on the concept of rule of law. Kindly recall that it was Obasanjo, who swore to uphold the constitution of the land, who refused to obey the Supreme Court order for the release of the N21 billion Lagos State local government funds illegally and oppressively withheld by his administration.
“Despite the popular outcry that the Supreme Court is obeyed, President Obasanjo arrogantly declined obedience. He remained adamant all through his administration and it was President Yaradua who later complied with the judgment.”