NBA Elections 2020: My Welfare Manifesto for Nigerian Lawyers -By Sabastine Anyia Esq.

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I have been in NBA for quite a while now and have led a branch as the chairman. In view of this privilege, I am fully aware of the yearnings and aspirations of majority of bar men especially the young lawyers. When elected as the welfare Secretary of the NBA, I shall work with Mr. President to promote the following:

1. NBA TRUST FUND : Our association shall set up a trust fund for her members in dire situations like the one we experienced with the Covid – 19 pandemic. I promise to prioritize The establishment of a Trust Fund. This would be done with the donations and contributions from willing seniors and organizations. From interactions with many senior members of the bar, there is the abundant willingness from our privileged colleagues to be of help to other lawyers. But what I think is missing is the coordinated and organized platform to do so. This Trust Fund when established would be that missing link.

2. When elected, I will work with Mr. President for a change that would entitle all lawyers who pay their practicing fee as at when due to one free pack of stamp and seal as an incentive. They can only be required to pay for any subsequent order or where multiple packs are ordered after the timely payment of BPF, the first pack shall be issued free.

3. The world is now a global village, technology has taken over. In years to come, paper reports of court judgement will be extinct. This now calls for the need for NBA to form strategic partnership with selected service providers to deliver electronic legal tools to lawyers at a hugely discounted rate. (Young lawyers shall be sponsored to obtain the requisite tools for free)

4. SETTING BASIC THRESHOLDS FOR THE RENUMERATION OF YOUNG LAWYERS
When elected I would advocate for the bar to set and monitor basic threshold for the remuneration of juniors. This would ensure that every junior in every chamber is remunerated properly depending on the location of the Chambers. This will motivate them to work harder and serve the chambers with all their zeal.

5. ESTABLISHMENT OF NBA MEDICAL SCHEME
I promise to promote the establishment of a scheme that would besides other activities ensure access to affordable medical service by all lawyers. This scheme would also ensure that young lawyers and deserving members who are hospitalized for any terminal illness/diseases receives support.

7. STANDARDISATION OF CHARGES
I would promote an initiative for the NBA to standardize certain charges. For instance, every agreement prepared by a lawyer young or old must attract at least 10% of the consideration. With this, young lawyers can leverage on this provision to improve financially.

8. PARTNERSHIP WITH THE CORPORATE AFFAIRS COMMISSION FOR CERTAIN PRIVILLEGES FOR LAWYERS

Although it is the right of CAC to set it rules, when elected, I’ll encourage an engagement with the Commission for certain exclusive rights for lawyers. This could be by ways of waivers or ensuring that only lawyers are allowed to conduct certain businesses with the commission. This will bring job and employment for our lawyers especially the young lawyers.

9. Police brutality; On police brutality, I will work closely with Mr. President to making sure that the Inspector General of Police and other security agencies including the Road Safety Corps sign a Memorandum of understanding with the NBA to ensure that any officer involved in such dastardly act with any lawyer if found guilty should be severely punished by the agencies. This will serve as deterrent for others. We shall work hard to improve our relationship with them.

10. ENGAGEMENT WITH THE AGF AND IGP. I will initiate an engagement with the AGF and the IGP on the prosecution of cases in the courts. We wud further engage the Ministry of Justice to open offices in all L.G.As of this country to provide vacancy where young lawyers can be posted. These lawyers will take over the prosecution of cases from the police, especially the over night ones. It will engage thousands of lawyers that are called to bar every year.

This move would also accentuate the sacrosanctity of the principle of fair hearing. It is even against the principle of fair hearing for the police who claimed to have investigated the case against the accused person, to be the same people to prosecute it. Above all, we cannot allow the police to take over our job knowing fully well that they do not all have the requisite training to do so.

11. I shall introduce an NBA Call Centre that shall actively engage with the local branch especially when lawyers are having challenges with security agencies until the said problem (s) is or are sorted out. This would bring the weight of the Bar behind any and every lawyer facing such problems in carrying out their legitimate duties.

12. Members of this noble profession must see reasons why they should pay for their practicing fee every year.

Sabastine Anyia Esq.


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