Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), has denied cancelling the invitation of Kano State Governor Nasir El-Rufai as one of speakers at its panel sessions at the forthcoming conference of its members, for ethnic or religious reasons.
This position was clarified in a statement by the National Executive Council of NBA on Friday.
This year’s NBA Annual General Conference, which is the 60th, has been scheduled to hold between 26 to 29 of this month.
NBA President, Paul Usoro, (SAN), stated this while reacting to the controversy triggered by the association’s decision.
Usoro revealed that some of those who spoke against the governor’s attendance share the same faith with him, and others from the Northern part of the country.
According to him, by its decision, NBA-NEC, is not passing any judgment on Governor El-Rufai, adding that NEC is also not in a position to pass such judgments without being fair to all parties.
Usoro stated that NEC did not deliberate the substance of the issues that were raised against the governor by the different individuals and groups.
Usoro said, “I have received several messages from our members that have attributed ethnic and religious considerations to the decision. That is not correct and is very far from the truth. Neither the NBA nor NEC belongs to any religious or ethnic group. We are lawyers and professionals dedicated to the ideals and the promotion and preservation of the Rule of Law and we belong to one indivisible family of the NBA.”
“As I point out in my letter, neither the NBA nor NEC set out to sit in judgment against Mallam el-Rufai and even from that prism, the principle of fair hearing does not apply.”
Further, Usoro said none of the persons or parties that kicked against the invitation of Mr El-Rufai to the conference has been offered the opportunity to state their positions and positions the principle of not hearing the other side doesn’t arise.
He insisted that the claims that the NEC decision was based on religion and ethnicity were not correct, stressing that they were far from the truth.