The Maiduguri branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has suspended 14 of its members for publicly denouncing calls for the probe of former Borno governor, Ali Sheriff and ex-Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen Azubuike Ihejirika by branch leaders.
Chairman of the association, Abdulwasiu Alfa told journalists at a press conference in Maiduguri, Borno State capital yesterday that the association took the decision due to what he called “gross misconduct and going against the bye-laws on the part of the members.”
Alfa had last Friday at a press briefing announced the decision of the branch to drag the ex-Borno governor and former COAS before the International Criminal Court (ICC), Hague for alleged complicity in the Boko Haram insurgency, a pronouncement which some members described as “politically inclined.”
The members, led by one Audu Hassan, had challenged the leadership of the bar in the area for making such pronouncement without the approval of the congress, which is the highest decision-making body of the association, alleging that the leaders were motivated by pecuniary gains rather than their professional calling. They also called on the leaders to eschew partisan politics and rise to the challenge of fighting human rights abuses in the state.
But the hullabaloo over the call for the probe of the two leaders took another dimension yesterday as the NBA descended heavily on the 14 members who led the group after an emergency meeting, pronouncing their position as “gross-misconduct” and violation of the association’s bye-laws on holding press conferences.
BY TIMOTHY OLANREWAJU, MAIDUGURI