A Lagos based legal practitioner, Kofi Ambrose Esq., has made a passionate appeal in an open letter to the president of Nigerian Bar Association, Mr Paul Usoro SAN to allow for the payment of bar practicing fees and branch dues for some lawyers that were unable to do so due to the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic which destabilized their practice.
The open letter which was made available to Lex Community NG reads as follows:
“This is an open letter to you Mr. President to once again look at the issue of payment of Bar Practicing Fee and Branch Due. This call is premised on the fact that so many lawyers couldn’t make the payments this year in view of the covid-19 pandemic.
I am aware that so many lawyers have made countless pleas and appeals to your goodself and by extension, the office of the Nigeria Bar Association President to extend the time within which these payments can be made, essentially to prevent a situation where so many Nigerian lawyers will be disenfranchised from voting in the forth coming National Election of the Bar and other privileges that come with the payment. I have it on good authority that more than ever before, the number of Lawyers who couldn’t pay this year due to covid-19 is alarming, hence the need for this call yet again.
Furthermore, In your response to some of the appeals before now, you had said that the provision of our constitution is sacrosanct and therefore your hands are tied even in the face of the ravaging covid-19, where all Nations are making adjustments to their respective rigid rules and constitutions.
However, Mr President, the good news came to us as a rude shock when you unilaterally suspended the constitution with regards to eligibility to vote and be voted for in the forth coming NBA Branch Elections. Mr President, you have set a precedent albeit dangerous, but I would like to believe that what is good for the goose is good for the gander.
So, in the spirit of suspension of the constitution for the reasons of covid-19, I pray that you extend the same gesture to a more pressing issue of the payments of BPF AND BRANCH DUES.
Mr President sir, it is important to note that in the case of BPF and Branch dues, several Nigerian Lawyers have been on their knees begging you for the suspension of the constitution to allow for the extension of the payment and you have blatantly refused to consider the cries of Nigerian Lawyers, even though you are our revered President.
However, on the issue of suspension of the provision of the constitution for branch elections, nobody sought your interference, intervention and/or assistance, but you unilaterally decided to suspend the constitution.
Mr President, this new development of yours is highly worrisome and suspicious, especially coming from the chief custodian of the constitution. I still remember just about two years ago at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, when we, your die hard supporters were jubilating as you took the oath of office as our dear president and that golden line of your oath came to mind where you swore to uphold, defend and protect the constitution of the NBA. Here we are, less than two years into your administration and we no longer have a president standing by the oath of his office.
In every bad situation, there is always a good side to it and the good side in this one is the part where you have set the precedent under which our BPF and Branch dues can now be extended and it is on this note that I ask you to kindly extend the payment period, as not doing so will expose the alleged mischief behind your suspension of the constitution with respect to the branch election.
I trust that wisdom will prevail My President.
Kofi Ambrose. Esq from Lagos Branch“