After eating a plate of hot abula at Iya Eba’s place at Beckley Street, I strolled slowly back to the Foyer of the High Court of Lagos State. Colleagues were already taking up the offer of Hygeia of free medical screening at the entrance of the Foyer. I had wanted to take part in the screening but there was already a crowd waiting for same so I decided to forfeit and entered the Foyer. The time was 12:55 p.m. and the foyer was still scanty; perhaps, it was because the court was on vacation. I took a seat in the midfield section and exchanged pleasantries with a couple of colleagues.
The meeting commenced at 1:26 p.m. when the Chairman of the Branch called the meeting to order and called on Chief Sadipe to give the opening prayer.
The Chairman announced that Mr. Paul Usoro, SAN was the person sponsoring the meeting for the day, a fact we already knew. He also added that Mr. Usoro, would come in later as he had to go to Abuja to attend the valedictory service organized for Chief J.B. Daodu, SAN who was stepping down as the Chairman of the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee.
We went through the minutes for corrections and amendments. As usual, it appeared most people did not receive the minutes of the meeting held in June 2018. There was no amendment or correction. One Mr. Paul moved for the adoption of the minutes and Mr. Bode Omoboriowo seconded it.
Land for Bar Centre – the Chairman reminded members of the resolution to build the Lagos Bar Centre on the land in Lekki given by the Lagos State Government to the branch. He announced the names of eminent legal practitioners who have been nominated as members of the Building Committee. They include – Chief Wale Babalakin, SAN as the Chairman of the committee, Mr. Gbenga Oyebode as the alternate Chairman, Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, Chief Ayorinde, SAN amongst many others.
The Chairman announced that the Treasurer was on her way and would give the financial report when she comes in.
Mr. Ayo Akintunde, SAN was given the floor to speak about a conference organized by the Business Recovery & Insolvency Practitioners Association of Nigeria (BRIPAN). The learned silk highlighted advantages of attending the conference. The conference was going to hold on the 27th – 28th of September 2018 at Four Points by Sheraton, Oniru, Lekki, Lagos.
NEC Report – the President called the Secretary to give the report on the last NEC meeting. The Secretary gave the report and the Chairman allowed members to make comments. One Mr. Aderemi Oguntade expressed his disappointment over the inadequate materials at the NBA AGC 2018. He stated that the NBA knew the number of the registered members and so it was surprising that there were not enough conference materials. He wanted the executives of the branch to take the matter up by sending a communiqué to the national body on same. The Chairman explained that one of the reasons for the shortage was because the committee on the AGC was constituted late. He assured members that the new administration would deal with the problem. The report was adopted.
Knowledge sharing session – the guest speaker was Ms. Lola Esan, the Director, People and Organizational Practice, Ernst & Young. The topic was ‘Managing a Multigenerational Workforce: Trends and Practices Affecting Law Practice’. The thrust of the session was that employers should endeavor to encourage and accommodate the aspirations of the new generation of lawyers as much as possible.
In the middle of the session, at precisely 3:44 p.m., Mr. Paul Usoro walked in briskly. The hall was momentarily gripped in an Usoro frenzy and the session was put on hold for some seconds. At the end of her lecture Mr. Alex Muoka, the former Lagos NBA Branch Chairman was called upon by the Chairman to give a vote of thanks to Ms. Lola Esan on behalf of the association. Mr. Adewale Adesokan, SAN was also called upon to give a vote of thanks to Mr. Usoro for sponsoring the month’s meeting.
Any Other Matter
A colleague suggested that we should have a permanent item on the agenda of the monthly meetings on welfare of lawyers. He wanted an item on the agenda that discusses the practice of lawyers. He stated that he had applied for the certified true copy of a ruling since January in a Magistrate Court and he has not gotten it by September. He also stated that the High Court Car park is being monetized and preference is given to certain people to park. The Chairman stated that all the complaints will be given to the Judiciary Committee headed by Mrs. Funke Adekoya, SAN and same would be taken up with the authority.
Another colleague, Mr. Olatunji Dawodu raised the issue of NBA seal. He stated that there is delay in receiving the seals and also advocated that there should not be an expiry date on the seals. Mr. Dawodu also stated that he has never gotten financial report and he had consistently written his email in the attendance book.
Dr. Foluke Dada – one Ms. Adefowoke stated that Dr. Foluke Dada sent her appreciation to the Branch for its support in the last NBA elections. That she would have been at the meeting personally but she had to be in Abuja. She thanked the branch on behalf Dr. Foluke Dada.
Human Rights Committee – the Chairman called on the Vice Chairman of the branch to give the report of the Human Rights Committee. The amiable lady stated that the Ikoyi Prison has the official capacity to accommodate 800 inmates but as at the end of the second quarter had 2,912 inmates out of who 2,377 were awaiting trial. She reported that the committee took on 151 matters out of which 50 were in respect of capital offences. She stated that the committee was able to get 61 of the matters struck out to the delight of members. She further stated that the committee needs more hands and financial aid as the matters were done pro bono.
Financial Report – the Treasurer eventually came in and the Chairman called on her to give the report. She gave a summary after which the Chairman invited members to ask questions and make comments. As unusual, members must make remarks here. A colleague stated that members need to get the financial report well ahead of the meeting.
Book Launch – A member, Enyi Oibe was given the opportunity to speak about his book launch. The title of the book is ‘Constitutional Framework of Nigerian Courts and Tribunals: Jurisdiction, Powers, Appeals. He encouraged members to attend the evnt which was going to take place at Kings Court, Adeyemo Alakija, Victoria Island at 10:00 a.m.
The meeting came to an end at 4:48 p.m.