The EXCO of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Abuja Branch buoyed by the agenda to reach out to critical stakeholders that are important in the work which the Branch does, and led by the Chairman Ms. Hauwa Shekarau paid a courtesy visit to Julie-Okah Donli, the Director-General of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) on Thursday 6th August, 2020.
The DG, NAPTIP expressed happiness at the visit and welcomed the EXCO accordingly.
The Chairman in her address to the DG recounted how she had worked closely with the Agency while serving as Chairman of the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) Abuja Branch and reiterated the desire to do same in her present position. She recalled being part of the set up that recommended NAPTIP as implementer of the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act (VAPPA), 2015 and commended the DG for welcoming the added responsibility to ensure that the law does not suffer the same fate as the Child Rights Act, 2003 which risks becoming obsolete without an implementing authority.
Ms. Shekarau also spoke about the need for the Branch under her leadership to have a Bar Centre as befits its status, and further added that a parcel of land and building design had already been procured to that effect. She used the opportunity to inform the DG about the soon to come ground-breaking foundation laying ceremony of the Bar Centre, inviting the Agency to support and collaborate with the NBA Abuja Branch on the project.
She rounded up on the need for lawyers occupying several positions and working in various spheres of life to always rally behind the NBA, a body the DG of NAPTIP is also a member of, since they are first lawyers before anything else.
Mrs. Donli stated that NAPTIP’s major challenge under her watch had been the issue of dealing with some lawyers from the NBA Abuja Branch fond of exhibiting unprofessional conduct while representing suspects. She spoke at length about the fact that some lawyers engage in sharp practices to aid suspects escape the law thereby disrespecting the system in place and the Agency, and expressed readiness to send correspondence to the Branch to ensure that such lawyers are punished in accordance with extant rules.