At the October General Meeting of the Nigerian Bar Association, Uyo Branch, the Bar took a decision to commence the boycott of all courts in the State to press home its demand for a better and more humane approach to the implementation of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) policy as it concerns the courts and filing of court processes in the State. The three (3) other Branches of the Bar in the State, Eket, Ikot Ekpene and Oron, took a concurrent decision on the same issue in their various Branches to commence the boycott of courts. To this end, the Branches have agreed as follows:
1. That the Treasury Single Account (TSA) policy of the government has occasioned much hardship on lawyers, litigants and legal practice in general in the State, where filing of court processes have become a nightmare. In some instances, due to network issues at the banks or the non availability of banks in most of the court locations, cases have been jeopardised and in many extreme cases, frustrated and caught up by time limitations.
2. That in quest for a solution to the problem, the four Branches of NBA (Nigerian Bar Association) in Akwa Ibom State and specifically Uyo Branch, have had meetings with very high ranking officials of Government, among which are the Honourable Chief Judge of the State, the Honourable Attorney General of Akwa Ibom State, the Head of Civil Service, and other relevant agencies, all to no avail.
3. That while we are not averse to the Treasury Single Account (TSA) policy of the government, we believe that its design and operation in the legal practice sector should be such that should aid and enable practice, and not impede or strangulate lawyers in their profession, and frustrate the protection of the rights of citizens, through failure to file processes in court.
4. That we are demanding that lawyers and litigants should not be made to bear the brunt of bad or unavailable network in Banks, and the avoidable crisscrossing of the State, in order to file. We insist that payments can be made within the vicinity of various Court Registries if Government decides to be sensitive to the plight of the Legal Practitioners in the State, and we so implore, noting that time is of the essence in Legal Practice, the failure of which has no negative effect on Government, but devastating effects on lawyers and their practice, and the poor, innocent litigants, whose cases are most times, limited by Statutes.
5. That we call out all lawyers in the four Branches of NBA in Akwa Ibom State to commence the boycott of courts in the State with effect from 13th December, 2018, until our demands are met.
Eno-Obong Akpan, Esq
Chairman, Uyo Branch
On behalf of Uyo, Ikot Ekpene, Eket and Oron Branches of the NBA.