The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Covid-19 Welfare Committee has raised the sum of N84,223,000.00 from lawyers and other public spirited Nigerians as at Friday, May 29, 2020.
The above was revealed in a statement by the NBA President Mr. Paul Usoro SAN.
The Committee set up about 45 days ago by Mr. Usoro was given the mandate to raise fund to support indigent members of the legal profession during the pandemic.
Expressing satisfaction with the performance of the 18 member committee led by Dr. Olawale Babalakin SAN, Mr. Usoro who is also thrilled by the fact that the donations were made almost entirely by members of the profession noted:
“I am thrilled to inform our members that the Committee, ably led by Dr. Olawale Babalakin, SAN, working with the other distinguished members, has lived exceedingly up to its billing in the execution of its mandate. Even more exciting and humbling is the fact that our colleagues have responded to the Committee’s clarion call in a landmark manner, perhaps, never seen in the history of NBA. As at Friday, 29 May 2020, the NBA COVID-19 Relief Fund Account had a credit balance of N84,223,000.00 donated almost entirely by our distinguished colleagues.”
Some of the donors were identified in the statement by Mr. Usoro while noting that a comprehensive list of all donors would be published subsequently.
“Just to mention but a few, the Chairman of the Committee, Dr. Babalakin, through his Company, Bi-Courtney Limited, donated N10m; he also procured another organization to donate N10m; Lateef Fagbemi, SAN has donated N5m while our past President and leading light, Chief Wole Olanipekun, OFR SAN donated N2.5m.”
“Yusuf Ali, SAN, Ukiri & Lijadu, Dr. Onyechi Ikpeazu, OON, SAN and S. I. Muhammed & Co all donated N2m each while Babalakin & Co donated N2,002,000.00 (independent of the donations by Dr. Babalakin specified in the preceding paragraph) and our indomitable Mia Essien, SAN donated N1m, with another N1m donated by her and her colleagues in Principles Law Partnership, in addition to her working tirelessly with other Committee members to raise the funds.”
“. . . and the list goes on and on. However, just before leaving this point, I must specially thank our Honorable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN who donated N1m and of course, our SolicitorGeneral of the Federation and Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Justice, Dayo Apata, SAN who also contributed handsomely. Special mention must also be made of our respected Past President and Chairman of the Body of Benchers, Mr. O C J Okocha, MFR, SAN who was one of the first donors to the Fund. We thank you, Sir, for always leading by example. There are a few of our colleagues who donated generously but insist on remaining anonymous. I of course know them and will reach out to them to express the sincere appreciation of our members.”
“I am truly overwhelmed by these outpouring of love and generosity by our colleagues and can only pray that the Almighty reward them all abundantly and replace in multiple folds the storehouse from which they donated. I must salute the Welfare Committee very specially for their focus and hard work. They have been tireless in knocking on our colleagues’ doors and getting donations for the Fund. It is a tribute to their commitment and industry that we have raised as much funds as we have. Literally all the members of the Committee have also donated to the Fund apart from mobilizing donations from our other colleagues. God bless and reward all of you bounteously. The full list of all the donors will of course be published upon the conclusion of this chapter of the Committee’s assignment and the donors will be captured in an NBA Roll of Honor.”
On the distribution of the palliatives to deserving members of the profession, Mr. Usoro stated:
“The Welfare Committee was saddled with a second significant assignment upon its constitution, to wit, “work with me in designing the most equitable and integrity-proof model for identifying the genuinely needy beneficiaries of the relief materials. Part of the Committee’s responsibility would also be to determine the form that the reliefs should take e.g. cash or kind (illustratively, food items and the like) or a combination of the two or any other form”. That part of the assignment remains outstanding. I have been assured by the Committee that their focus has so far been on “baking the cake”, in a manner of speaking, and that they would shortly proceed to and with that follow-through assignment of distributing the funds to the truly needy members of our Association. I would work with them in that regard and would keep our members fully informed and updated.”
He also urged members who are yet to donate to this cause to take advantage of this period to show generosity.
“By the way, the Committee has not drawn the line on donations; we still expect more donations from you, our dear colleagues who are yet to make your contributions or wish to add to your current donations. Please, send your donation to the following account: Account Name: NBA COVID-19 Relief Fund Account No. Account Number: 1387741801 Bank: Access Bank Plc.”