DEBORAH YAKUBU: NBA-SPIDEL POSTPONES ANNUAL CONFERENCE; AKPATA SAYS IT WAS A “PAINFUL DECISION”
L – R: Olumide Akpata, President of the Nigerian Bar Association; Aminu Tambuwal, Governor of Sokoto State; and Monday Ubani, Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association Section on Public Interest and Development Law (NBA-SPIDEL.
The Nigerian Bar Association Section on Public Interest and Development Law (NBA-SPIDEL) annual conference, which was scheduled to take place in Sokoto State, has been rescheduled. The President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Olumide Akpata, made the “painful decision” public in a press statement made available to the National Association of Online Security News Publishers, NAOSNP.
In the press release, NBA President Olumide Akpata stated, “The NBA is deeply concerned not only by the chilling news of Miss Deborah Yakubu’s murder, but also by the sudden and sad turn of events and the deteriorating security situation in Sokoto State,”
As a result of critically reviewing the current security situation in Sokoto, it has become clear that we cannot guarantee the safety of our guest speakers, delegates, and other stakeholders who have committed to attend the NBA-conference, SPIDEL’s which was intended to put the State in the global spotlight for the duration of the conference and beyond.
“As a result, the NBA-SPIDEL Executive Committee made the difficult decision, which I approved, to postpone the 2022 NBA-SPIDEL Annual Conference not only for the safety of our conferees and guests, but also as a mark of respect for the memory of the slain Miss Deborah Yakubu.”
The NBA recognises the Sokoto State Government’s contributions to the conference, which is now hampered by the current security situation. While we acknowledge that the Sokoto State Government has imposed a curfew to quell the unrest, the NBA urges the State Government to fully collaborate with the Federal Government to initiate measures — and, if necessary, deploy coercive instruments — to restore peace and order to the State, protect lives and property, and discourage vandalism and impunity,’
“The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) is saddened by these developments and unequivocally condemns extra-judicial killings in any part of the country as reprehensible, barbaric, and unacceptable,” Akpata said of Deborah Samuel, among other tragic incidents in the country.
“Our security agencies must do more to halt these heinous acts and ensure that the perpetrators, wherever or whomever they may be, face the full wrath of the law. To send a strong signal that such acts will no longer be tolerated in Nigeria, the government should immediately begin prosecuting all suspects involved in these brutal and arbitrary killings.”
“The NBA also believes that the alleged killers’ prompt and effective prosecution will instil trust in citizens, promote accountability, and demonstrate the government’s commitment to the rule of law.”
In the midst of the uproar over Deborah’s death, the NBA observed: “While the expectation of Nigerians and the international community is that the culprits should be brought to justice quickly for the appropriate offences, the demand for the release of the suspects by some protesting youths coupled with assault on innocent citizens, burning of worship centres, and destruction of property has added an entirely new and worrisome dimension to the unfortunate incident,” the NBA said. This is clearly a test of the state’s willingness to fully enforce its laws and foster the rule of law.’
“We thank our delegates and our guest speakers who have made various expenses and commitments towards participating in the Conference,” he said to the expected speakers and attendees.
We apologise for any inconvenience caused by this postponement. The NBA will continue to monitor the situation and will provide more information on next steps when normalcy returns.’
Since 2019, the Nigerian Bar Association Section on Public Interest and Development Law (NBA-SPIDEL) has rotated its annual conference to promote peaceful coexistence and unity in the country. “It is worth noting that the NBA Section on Public Interest and Development Law (NBA-SPIDEL) held its 2019 Annual Conference in Aba, Abia State, while its next conference (2021) was held in the ancient city of Ibadan, Oyo State, after the 2020 conference was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. After holding the two annual conferences in the old Eastern and Western regions, the NBA-SPIDEL Executive Committee unanimously decided that the 2022 Annual Conference should be held in the Northern region, in keeping with the NBA’s inclusiveness policy.”
“I am aware that NBA-SPIDEL sought to bequeath hosting rights to any willing Northern State, and the hosting right was eventually given to Sokoto State when its Governor, H.E Aminu Waziri Tambuwal (Life Bencher), agreed that the Sokoto State Government would be a headline sponsor for the Conference.”