The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Conference Incident Investigation Committee set up to investigate the vandalisation and looting of the accreditation centre and conference materials during the 62nd Annual General Conference in Lagos, has identified 12 persons who were shown to have actively participated in the disturbances.
The Chairman of the Committee, Olawale Fapohunda, made this known when he submitted a 50-page final report of the committee at the meeting of the National Executive Council of the NBA which held in Birnin Kebbi, Kebbi State from the 22nd to the 24th of March, 2023.
Fapohunda in his presentation, said while there cannot be any possible justification for the unruly conduct of any members of the NBA, a key finding of the Committee is that the delay in the delivery of Conference Bags to the NBA and the consequential inability of the NBA to hand over bags to a large number of conferees were mainly responsible for the disturbances during the Conference.
While not ruling out outside interference, the committee also found that those responsible for the disturbances were mostly lawyers.
He said the conduct of those members involved brought shame and embarrassment to the NBA specifically and the legal profession generally.
The Learned Silk further stated that the Committee found that the decision of the NBA to engage Antochie Limited as the supplier of the Conference bags, was “a fundamental error”, as the limited due diligence that was undertaken before the engagement of the company was at best ineffective.
A part of the committeee report says “the apparent mis-understanding between the NBA and Antochie Limited, of the terms, conditions, duties and responsibilities of both parties to the contract and that this was an important contributory factor to the disturbance”.
The report recommended that the NBA secretariat staff must play a central role in the organisation and delivery of future AGCs. The vision must be to achieve an ideal where all NBA Conferences and activities are delivered by its staff.
The committee made this recommendation because it found evidence of over-concentration of powers in the TCCP without accommodating or delineating responsibilities to other stakeholders such as NBA Staff, Branch Chairmen, etc.
On the Identification of persons responsible for vandalization and looting, Fapohunda stated that his committee regrets the non-cooperation of members of the Bar particularly those who witnessed the vandalization and the looting.