NBA AGC 2023 Recap (Day 3) As Compiled By Law Pavilion


Day 3 at the M.K.O Abiola Stadium in Abuja saw an interesting continuation of the NBA AGC 2023 technical sessions.

Let’s dive into the most significant highlights of the day.



During this plenary session which started at 9:15am, renowned speakers; Mr. Bryan Stevenson (Lead Speaker); Mr. Chukwuka Ikwuazom, SAN; Prof. Joy Ngozi Ezeilo, OON, SAN; Mrs. Titilola Vivour-Adeniyi and Mr. Duma Gideon Boko ignited a spirited discourse on one of Nigeria’s most pressing issues – access to justice.

The Lead Speaker, Mr. Bryan Stevenson: Mr. Bryan Stevenson highlighted the exclusion of many from the rule of law as a massive threat to justice and democracy. He stressed that lawyers’ words carry tremendous weight, and they should act with confidence, changing narratives through their personal sacrifices.

He encouraged lawyers to be instruments of change for the poor and marginalized in society, emphasizing the importance of recognizing human and people’s rights, particularly those of less privileged citizens. Access to justice, Mr. Stevenson argued, holds immense significance as it:

  • Changes discriminatory narratives.
  • Alters the narrative of a civil society.
  • Offers hope to the hopeless in a civil society.

Mr. Stevenson concluded with a powerful message, reminding legal professionals that hopelessness is the enemy of justice, as it erodes justice itself. Thus, he called upon lawyers to be beacons of hope.

Prof. Joy Ngozi Ezeilo, OON, SAN ignited the discussion by raising a fundamental question as to whether equal access to justice can be achieved, given the unmet justice needs of Nigerians. She underscored the essential components of justice, emphasizing equal protection before the law, legal aid, effective remedies, and the necessary structures to make justice accessible. Key takeaways from her address included:

  • Access to justice is a right, a duty that governments owe to their citizens.
  • It encompasses access to information and legal assistance.
  • It encompasses the right to court and legal representation.
  • The NBA should play a pivotal role in ensuring accountability and human rights enforcement.
  • Establishing funds for legal aid and partnerships with organizations to support the vulnerable.
  • Sensitizing the public to respond to the violation of their rights.

Mr. Chukwuka Ikwuazom, SAN delved deeper into the concept of access to justice, emphasizing that it transcends mere access to the courts; it involves obtaining quality and affordable legal representation and substantive justice. He emphasized that a strong judiciary is important in guaranteeing access to justice and identified key challenges hindering access to justice in Nigeria, including:

  • Inordinate delays in adjudication due to adjournments and antiquated recording methods.
  • The filing of frivolous cases.
  • A shortage of judges.
  • Issues surrounding the appointment of judges.
  • The quality of lawyers and judges.
  • The disposition of legal practitioners towards litigation.
  • Judicial inefficiencies, such as a judge unnecessarily deciding not to sit.
  • A dependence on executive goodwill within the judiciary.
  • Inadequate remuneration of judges.
  • The specter of corruption within the judicial system.

Mr. Ikwuazom urged the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) to continue its fight for a more efficient and accountable judiciary.

Mrs. Titilola Vivour-Adeniyi began by outlining the factors that hinder access to justice, such as fear of the unknown, lack of access to information, the absence of judicial precedent, and economic factors amongst others. In addressing gender-based violence, she offered solutions including:

  • Active involvement in pro bono cases.
  • Establishment of law firm branches in rural areas.
  • Incentives for pro bono participation.
  • Promotion of public interest litigation.
  • Adequate rewards for lawyers engaged in pro bono services.

Mr. Duma Gideon Boko passionately emphasized that all lawyers should champion restorative justice, emphasizing that access to justice is often a matter of life and death for many. He urged legal practitioners to make access to justice their foremost priority, signifying justice as the beacon guiding their actions.



In this session, the speakers espoused the importance of empowering women in the Nigerian legal profession.

Prof. Dorothy Udeme Ufot, SAN set the tone by highlighting preparedness as the key to strengthening women’s positions in the legal profession. She celebrated the progress made since 1981 in the Nigerian Legal Industry when Mrs. Folake Solanke received the prestigious SAN title. However, she acknowledged persistent challenges such as a skewed playing field, gender bias, and work-life imbalances. Prof. Ufot noted that the International Bar Association initiated a project aimed and achieving 50/50 parity by 2020, in view of this, she encouraged female lawyers to be intentional and offered the “9 Ps for success” – Purpose, Plan, Passion, Persistence, Perseverance, Proactivity, Painstaking effort, Preparedness, and prayer. She concluded by emphasizing the individual female lawyer’s role in breaking barriers and achieving success.

Mrs. Folashade Alli C.Arb: Addressing the underrepresentation of women in the legal profession, Mrs. Alli acknowledged progress while stressing that more needs to be done. She called for an enabling environment and a shift in the female mindset. Mrs. Alli urged the NBA and NJC to play a pivotal role in reshaping industry attitudes.

Mr. Asama Kadiri SAN underscored the importance of individual commitment in creating change. He noted that many female lawyers leave litigation practice after spending about 5-7 years in litigation, hindering their representation at higher levels. He suggested continuous sensitization and diversification of law firms into multiple practice areas. Furthermore, he recommended addressing challenges outside law firms that hinder women’s advancement.

Mrs. Amina Suzanah Agbaje emphasized that discussions like this are a step in the right direction and advocated for technology adoption to achieve work-life balance. She encouraged female lawyers to acquire tech skills and use them to excel in the profession. Lastly, she urged female lawyers to pave the way for others once they reach their desired heights.

Representing the perspective of young female lawyers, Prada Uzodinma emphasized the lack of representation and mentorship for this demographic. She called for action beyond conversation and more networking opportunities for young female lawyers. She appealed to the NBA to provide platforms for young female lawyers to showcase their talents and contribute to the profession’s growth.



This captivating session moderated by the astute Mrs. Jean Anishere, SAN with a stellar lineup of speakers was nothing short of enlightening.

The Lead Speaker, Mrs. Funmi Roberts provided an insightful overview of the Arbitration and Mediation Act, 2023, outlining its objectives: the promotion of fair dispute resolution, impartial arbitration without undue delays or expenses, and the expeditious nature of arbitration law. She emphasized that the AMA is fundamentally party-driven, party-oriented, and upholds the vital principle of party autonomy.

Mrs. Roberts highlighted the principles of interpreting the AMA:

  • Consideration of its international origins.
  • Promotion of uniformity in application and the observance of good faith.
  • Resorting to model laws in cases where any provision of the AMA is unclear.

Other Distinguished Speakers, Dr. Agada Elachi and Mr. Seyilayo Ojo brought the innovative spirit of the AMA to the forefront. According to Dr. Elachi, the innovations include:

  • Default appointment of one arbitrator if parties fail to agree on the number.
  • Recognition of electronic documents for meeting the requirement of a written arbitration agreement.
  • Automatic stay of court proceedings once the intention of arbitration is established.
  • Appointment of emergency arbitrators for interim protection measures.
  • Provisions for consolidation and concurrent hearings.
  • Joinder.

Dr. Yemi Agbelusi elaborated on the AMA’s alignment with the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, filling gaps with innovations. Notable mentions included the immunity of arbitrators, mediators, and their employees, except in cases of fee recovery. He also expatiated on the newfound power of arbitrators to grant specific remedies and the inclusion of third-party funding.



The panel of legal veterans in this session shared invaluable insights for young lawyers to thrive in their careers.

Learned Silk in person of Mr.Oyetola Atoyebi SAN emphasized the pivotal role of attitude in a young lawyer’s success journey. He stressed the importance of a positive mindset and the significance of professional appearance. Young lawyers were encouraged to cultivate a wide network, set clear boundaries, and harness the advantages of the technology age judiciously.

Ms. Chinwe Odigboegwu underscored the significance of self-awareness, advocating personality tests as a means to achieve it. She introduced the ART approach – goals should be Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound, serving as key drivers for young lawyers.

Prince Damilotun Aderemi highlighted the importance of a strong starting point for young lawyers. He emphasized the need for clear goal-setting, dedication, and the meticulous management of one’s reputation. The importance of associating with the right people and mastering the fundamentals was also stressed.

Mr. Lamar Gadzama advised young lawyers to understand the direction of their legal careers and be persistent in pursuing their goals. Leveraging all available resources and effectively packaging and promoting oneself were deemed crucial. He also stressed the importance of utilizing connections wisely, as mentorship typically requires substance.

Mr. Ikechukwu Uwanna (AG Abia State) reiterated the importance of well-defined goals for young lawyers. He emphasized the value of mentorship and how it can enhance a young lawyer’s journey. Personal branding, determining what one will be known for in the profession, was highlighted as a key aspect of building a successful legal career.

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