The Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria-herein after referred to as JUSUN- declared indefinite strike action has been over three weeks since its commencement. The Nigerian Bar Association-herein after referred to as the NBA- has commended and supported the declared indefinite strike despite the adverse effect of the strike action on its members with whose money/fees the NBA Executives run the association! The NBA has,with due respect to it, refused and or rejected and or pretended and or failed to reason and or consider and or sympathise and or find out how its members survive during this strike action but has rather paid deaf and non-compassionate ears to the continuous silent-cries of its members! There are young lawyers who have to struggle for themselvesand survive through litigation process and by the token that they receive from some of their clients! At least, fingers, they say, are not equal!With due respect, the NBA’s nonchalant attitude towards its members at this time has created some doubts in me as to whether NBA is still a pressure group fighting for the interests of its members?! Some senior lawyers, with due respect to them, have also given their support for the indefinite strike action! Surprisingly, everyone/lawyer at this time, almost seem to find his name on the media to prove that he exists as a lawyer and almost everyone/lawyer wishes his name rises in the media as an ‘activist’ especially at this time as having spoken and to win more clients (may be)! To me, this is more hypocritical than could be imagined!
NBA has shown clearly to me, as far as I am concerned, that it is not for the interest of its members who finance its administration and or operations! It then turns out that members are being encouraged to pay for ammunition that would be used to annihilate their existence! That is the similitude and or comparison of what the NBA has done in this instance by supporting JUSUN and without making efforts to discourage the continuity of the strike action! I no more even see NBA as‘activists’’ pressure group!
The question now is whether the lawyers as members of the NBA in litigation are suffering because of the personality of their President who is much more into Corporate practice?! This question in my humble viewis possibly in the affirmative! In my respectful view, the NBA President’s professional status as a corporate lawyer much more than a litigation lawyer has become a menace to litigation lawyers! I am compelled to advise and or encourage litigation lawyers to establish a new professional association for themselves to cater for their welfare and their interests rather than relying on NBA! I would also not hesitate to be a member of such association if called upon, God willing! To worsen the current situation, NBA is not even interested in provision of palliatives for its members to cushion the effects of the indefinite strike action on its members! What then is the NBA doing for lawyers in litigation?! This is first of its kind! For posterity, future NBA President must be voted into office and or elected considering his legal practice especially someone in the field of litigation must be prioritised! It seems lawyers in the other field of law aside litigation are out to use this opportunity of the JUSUN’s strike to manifest their untold hatred for litigation and the litigation practitioners! This is why I no more see NBA as a pressure group of lawyers anymore than an association of personal interest of some few lawyers in control, with due respect! NBA carries out protest to support JUSUN but has not carried our protest to fight for the interests of its members who are likely to suffer and are suffering as a result of the impact of the indefinite strike of JUSUN! I have found this situation of the NBA as very disturbing, unimaginable, unprecedented, cunning and wicked to me (as a litigation lawyer and a financial member) and other lawyers who are in my shoes! Some young lawyers have consulted me on the impacts of the strike action on them! I am not NBA! I believe NBA should receive more of their complaints than I do! So, if the NBA cares, the situation would not have been the same for its innocent members! Members especially financial members must rise up now and claim that which belongs to them from the NBA! NBA cannot be collecting its members’ hard earned money and encourage them to continue to pay to the association but without spending same money for the benefits of its members! I have always been a financial member both to the NBA (national) and to my branch (ABUJA BRANCH (UNITY BAR))! But what have I gained from the NBA at this time?! Disappointment! Unreasonably supporting JUSUN’s strike action at the detriment of its own members!
I, therefore, ask disappointingly once again and on a final note (in a way, rhetorically) ‘IS THE NIGERIAN BAR ASSOCIATION NO MORE A PRESSURE GROUP FOR ITS MEMBERS’ INTERESTS?!’