The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has reaffirmed its support for Gender equity and empowerment. The reaffirmation is contained in a speech by the President of the NBA, Mr. Paul Usoro SAN to mark the celebration of the International Women’s Day.
Mr. Usoro’s speech
- On this International Women’s Day, we salute and congratulate all the women in our lives including but not limited to all our female colleagues who, as lawyers, make us and indeed, the profession, proud with their strides and achievements. In particular, today is dedicated, amongst others, to our female colleagues who serve diligently on the Bench and have over the years rose steadily, doggedly and purposefully to occupy leadership positions in our various Courts including but not limited to the apex Court. In our lifetimes, we have had a female Chief Justice of the Federation and a female President of the Court of Appeal, Honorable Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, CFR who meritoriously retired two days ago, on 06 March 2020 and has been succeeded, albeit, in an acting capacity, by another female President.
- We must, at this point, commend and congratulate President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, for the appointment of Honorable Justice Monica Dongbam-Mensem as the acting President of the Court of Appeal and indeed for the several other genderbalancing appointments that he has made. We encourage His Excellency, President Buhari, and Your Excellencies, the Governors of the various States of Nigeria to do even more in acknowledgement and appreciation of the value that our women folks bring to the governance and justice administration tables.
- Amongst the women that we celebrate today also are our female Chief Judges of the Federal and State High Courts, retired and serving, and uncountable female Justices and Judges of Appellate and High Courts, both retired and serving. These women who, in their own rights, are intellectual powerhouses, have become mentors and role models to our young and upcoming colleagues, male and female.
- We also celebrate and salute our female lawyers in the public and private sectors, a number of whom belong to the esteemed ranks of our Senior Advocates of Nigeria while others serve as leading lights in transaction and advisory practice. Others are outstanding corporate icons who utilize their legal background and training in managing and leading mega industries and corporations. Within these ranks are our female law teachers, some of whom are proud award-winning scholars and professors of law, Deans and heads of institutions. We also pay tribute to our female politicians and elected officials and our female activists whose labors and struggles secure our freedom and rights.
- Worthy of mention are our female colleagues who serve at the top echelon of our various security and law enforcement agencies, and, yes, we have others who, with their legal training, background and discipline, make us proud as Ministers of the Federal Republic, Heads of Ministerial Departments and Agencies, Permanent Secretaries (including but not limited to Solicitors-General), Secretaries to Governments, etc. Deserving of special mention are our diligent, workaday, mothers, aunties, sisters, daughters and female friends, all of whom, in different ways and with their love and care, have nurtured, shaped and modelled our lives.
- Society indeed owes our women plenty and we must do more to promote gender equality and emancipation starting with the safety, education and protection of our girl-child and gender empowerment and gender equity in the various facets of our lives. These issues bear emphasis today in the face of perceived and, in some cases, obvious brazen and patent discrimination against our women folks, amongst others, in appointments even in the justice sector. The NBA proudly identifies as an advocate of gender equity and empowerment acknowledging as we do that balance leads to a better and equitable society. We salute and celebrate all our women folks and wish them bountiful successes coupled with the Grace, blessings and protection of the Almighty. #EachforEqual