The President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Olumide Akpata has said that better laws would be made for the advancement of the society.
According to him, taking an active interest and participating in the law-making process is the core of NBA’s duty to the society.
In the association’s monthly report for November and December 2020, Akpata noted that his office has been engaging the National Assembly on a collaboration that would see the NBA providing technical and specialist support to the legislature on key bills that are presented for enactment.
“The NBA will play this role through an adequately resourced law reform committee with a secretariat at the National Assembly that will act as a liasion between the NBA and the National Assembly and represent the NBA at public hearings by the legislature,” he said.
On the aspect of NBA’s position on national issues, Akpata noted that his administration has remained committed and is consistently taking steps to ensure that the Bar remains the conscience of the society and a clear voice on all national issues.
His words: “During the period under review, we among other things, took a firm stand on, and intervened in the infamous killings in Oyibo community; intervened in the freezing of accounts and seizure of passports of some known EndSARS advocates; reiterated at different times the NBA’s position that respect for the fundamental rights of citizens is non-negotiable and in the wake of kidnapping of scores of school boys in Kastina.
“We called on the Service Chiefs to live up to their responsibilities or resign from their positions as Nigerians would no longer accept the mediocre performance recorded in addressing the insecurity challenges in our nation.” He added that NBA will continue to render their voice in the call for good governance and accountability.
Akpata further added that NBA has expressed commitment by providing institutional support towards the reform of the Nigerian Police.
“I served as a panelist at the Legislative Agenda and Public Policy Dialogue Series organised by the House of Representatives on ‘Policing and Human Rights in Nigeria’.
“I also participated at a Town Hall meeting on Police Reforms hosted by Channels Television,” he said. He also noted that NBA under his watch is now playing very active and diverse roles on the holistic reforms of the police in Nigeria.
The NBA president also stated that the Association has provided certain insurance cover at no additional cost to its financial members through Leadway Assurance. He added that the insurance is different from the health insurance cover, which they are institutionalizing.
“Our meeting with the Chief Executive Officer of Leadway Assurance sought to expand the scope of insurance cover for lawyers, increase by 100 per cent the insurance payout of our members and to ease the process of making claims,” he said. He added that the meeting yielded positive results, which will be communicated this new year.
Akpata further noted that all eligible but outstanding payments of death benefits or claims submitted to or pending at NBA both before and during his administration were settled. “Our goal is to coordinate the prompt settlement of all eligible claims going forward,” he explained.