The Registrar- General (RG), Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), Alhaji Abubakar Garba has vowed to support the Hauwa Shekarau-led EXCO of the Nigerian Bar Association, Abuja Branch (Unity Bar).
The Branch led by the chairman, Ms. Hauwa Shekarau paid a courtesy visit to the RG today, 7th July 2020 in a bid to familiarize and extend a hand of fellowship to ensure a robust engagement between the Bar and the Commission.
The Chairman in her address thanked the RG for granting the branch audience despite his very busy schedule and commended him for his good works in bringing about reforms within the CAC. She also stated that his good works will also extend to responding to the yearnings of its stakeholders.
Ms. Shekarau further stated that attempts are being made to ensure that the NBA takes its pride of place and it cannot do that if there is disunity. Thus, her major agenda is to bring about peace and unity in the NBA and attempts have been made through meetings to bring the other group on board as no persons interest is higher than that of the bar. She added that discussions are still in place and the branch has received support from the Heads of Courts within the FCT.
The Chairman also stated that the CAC is very critical to lawyers and we want to ensure that that symbiotic relationship is well maintained as conflicts over the years have contributed to it dwindling. The Branch wants to have a lasting and mutually benefiting relationship with the Commission and a Committee on CAC relations has been set up in the branch to that effect.
Ms. Hauwa Shekarau also requested the support of the Commission for the building of a befitting Bar Center of the Abuja Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association. She stated that it is not a thing of pride that the branch having being in existence for over 36 years cannot boast of a bar center and it is part of the agenda of her administration to ensure that the project is started.
The RG of the Commission in his response stated that he is aware of the election of Ms Hauwa Shekarau as the Chairman of NBA Abuja branch and as far as he is concerned the commission cannot deal with two bodies. The RG agreed with the Chairman that the fact that the Chief Judge of the High Court of the FCT sworn the EXCO of the branch clearly adds legitimacy to their administration.
He stated that some people only see a business opportunity in the conflict and a contributing factor to the existence of the other group is the fact that organisations are dealing with them. He added that by the time these organisations stop dealing with them they would no longer see any benefit to continue in that manner. On the issue, he concluded by saying that he will have no dealing with any other group parading as the EXCO of NBA Abuja branch.
He further stated that the there has always been a symbiotic relationship between the CAC and the Branch giving the advantage of being the local branch in the city where the headquarters of the Commission is hosted as most of the customers belong to the branch. He added that the Commission has a responsibility to collaborate and deal with the branch within its location.
Alh. Abubakar added that the Commission has always engaged the Bar during their customers forum and other stakeholders engagement because the Bar is the leading stakeholder in the Commission. There is a representative of the Bar in the board of the Commission, there has always been a joint committee with the Unity bar and a joint committee with the NBA section on business law.
The Registrar General also said that the Commission is facing challenges some of which is non-compliance with the Commission’s guidelines as well as misconduct by members of the branch. He urged the Chairman to ensure that disciplinary arm of the branch is fully equipped to enforce disciplinary actions on erring members.
On the issue of the bar center, the Registrar General said it is a welcome development and within the limit of its resources, the Commission will support the project.
The Chairman in response to the issue of indiscipline of members of the branch stated that the branch is setting up 3 disciplinary committees to enforce disciplinary action on erring members and she looks forward to receiving the petitions against such lawyers. She added that indiscipline will not be tolerated and the branch will not hesitate to set an example because there are certain conducts that are completely unacceptable. She vowed that under her watch the branch will protect the rule of law and the integrity of lawyers.
The Secretary of the branch, Prince Adebiyi Adetosoye in giving the vote of thanks expressed gratitude to the Commission for its show of support and re-stated that the branch will do all it can to ensure that the commission’s work with the Nigerian Bar Association being its major stakeholder is very seamless.