Over 1,300 people have signed a petition asking the Nigerian Bar Association to remove Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai, from the list of speakers in the Annual General Conference of the NBA which begins on August 24, 2020.
This is just as some lawyers called on the NBA leadership to remove el-Rufai from the list of speakers over the manner the governor had been handling the crisis in southern Kaduna.
The petition, which was started by Usani Odum, had garnered over 1,300 signatures as of 9.55pm on Change.Org.
The summary of the petition read, “The senseless killings in southern Kaduna must stop. The political correctness of Governor El-Rufai on national TV is diversionary. It is a reversal to have him speak to lawyers on security, when Governor (Babagana) Zulum of Borno a better person can do so.
“We may not be able to do anything to stop the killings, but we can stop the governor from speaking at the NBA-AGC to show our disapproval of the manner he has handled the situation!!”
Meanwhile, several lawyers have publicly indicated that they will not be attending the NBA conference if the leadership of the bar insists on el-Rufai.
In a letter titled, ‘Request to Withdraw the Offer of Platform at the 2020 Annual General Conference of the NBA to Mallam Nasir El-Rufai’ addressed to the Chairman, Technical Committee on Conference Planning, NBA, Prof Koyinsola Ajayi, some lawyers said the governor must not be allowed to speak at the conference.
The letter, which was signed by Silas Onu and Auta Nyada, listed 10 allegations against el-Rufai and his son, Bello, who is a Special Adviser to Kaduna Central lawmaker, Senator Uba Sani.
The lawyers recalled that el-Rufai had during the run-up to the 2019 general elections threatened that any foreigner who interfered in the election would leave Nigeria in “body bags”.
The lawyers said under el-Rufai’s government, several persons had been arrested illegally while some including popular critic, Abubakar Idris, better known as Dadiyata, had gone missing.
When contacted on the telephone, the spokesman for the NBA, Kunle Edun, told The PUNCH that he was not aware of the petitions.
“I am not aware of the NBA receiving any petition,” Edun said.
Also, El-Rufai’s Special Adviser on Media and Communications, Mr. Muyiwa Adekeye did not take his calls and had yet to respond to a text message sent to his mobile phone by our correspondent.
However, a former chairman of the NBA, Ikeja branch, Mr Adesina Ogunlana, said El-Rufai was a wrong choice because of his alleged bigot disposition.
Ogunlana said his group, Radical Agenda Movement in the NBA, aligned with those rejecting El-Rufai’s participation at the NBA conference.
Ogunlana said, “I am speaking as the Chairman of the Radical Agenda Movement in the NBA. We are fully in agreement with those who are opposed to Governor El-Rufai participating in the NBA AGC in any capacity. If he were to be a lawyer, we can probably understand his participation.”