A senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. A.U. Mustapha, who is the counsel to Kaduna, Governor Mallam Nasir El-Rufai has protested to the Nigerian Bar Association(NBA) for its alleged bias against the Governor.
He said the disinvitation of the Governor by the association to its conference was politically motivated.
He also said it was unfortunate that El-Rufai was not given fair hearing by an association of legal minds.
Mustapha made his position known in an August 21 letter to the outgoing President of NBA, Mr. Paul Usoro (SAN).
He said an association, which ought to serve as expected to serve as the conscience of the nation, has descended into the realm of partisanship,
The statement reads: “The decision taken by the NBA to withdraw their invitation to Governor El-Rufai on the basis of the wild and unsubstantiated allegations contained in the Open Bar Initiative petition without any reference to the governor is not only a naked affront on the rule of law but also a contradiction of the NBA’s motto which held itself out as the custodian, defender and guardian Angel of the rule of law in Nigeria.”
“The implications of this grievous decision by the NBA demonstrate a total disregard for the basic constitutional provision of fair hearing which is the foundation and bedrock of the rule of law designed for the safeguard of fundamental right and freedom in any civilized and democratic society.
“It therefore beats all imagination that an elitist professional body like the NBA could take a decision that negates the very essence of this fundamental constitutional provision, no matter how tempting or appealing the reason may be.”
He said NBA’s decision negated the rule of law especially the right to fair hearing for El-Rufai.
He said it will not be out of place to insinuate political motives behind the disinvitation.
He added: “Going further, it is also instructive to note that the NBA sat down, constituted itself unto a court and adjudged Governor El-Rufai guilty of all the allegations contained in the said petition without hearing a word from the Governor and thereafter proceeded to apply the sanction requested by the petitioners which is a withdrawal of the invitation. What a “court?” Can this be called justice and fairness? Is this exemplary?
“It would certainly not be out of place to insinuate political motives behind this unfortunate decision as the NBA as a professional body which is supposed to be in the fore front of the protection and promotion of the rule of law in Nigeria should know better than this.
“After all, members of the NBA Executive and Annual Conference Planning Committee as constituted can be counted among the brightest legal minds in Nigeria.”
He advised NBA to remain apolitical instead of taking actions which can cause discord.