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Lawyer rejects accommodation refund over NBA crisis

Immediate past Chairman of the Akure Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr. Rotimi Olorunfemi, has rejected the accommodation refund paid into his account by the national secretariat of the body over the crisis rocking the association.

Olorunfemi, who attended the recently concluded NBA’s Annual General Conference, said the conduct of lawyers during the sharing of souvenirs at the NBA conference and the attempt to denigrate the person of a former NBA President, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), by the Akpata-led administration made his decision to reject the reimbursement of his accommodation fund imperative.

Although, Olorunfemi said he was not opposed to the reimbursement as that has been the practice over the years, he, however, said he was rejecting it because of moral questions about Mr. Olumide Akpata’s tenure as NBA president. In a letter to the new NBA President, Yakubu Maikyau, Olorunfemi said the N100.000 paid to his account should be returned to the association’s account with immediate effect.

His words “Mr. President, I woke up on Sunday 28th day of August, 2022 to receive an alert of the sum of N100,000.00k (One Hundred Thousand Naira only) from the Nigerian Bar Association which was described in the narration as “accommodation”.

Sir, I am sure this payment to my account was in fulfillment of the promise of the immediate past President, Mr. Olumide Akpata, to reimburse Chairmen and Secretaries of Branches for accommodation expenses incurred during the just concluded AGC.

“Initially, I had no objection to this  gesture as it is customary of the National body to provide hotel accommodation for Branch Chairmen and Secretaries during NEC meetings, so, I forwarded my account details as requested and in anticipation of receiving this money.

“However, given the recent happenings at the Bar starting with the kill-thechicken and-break-the-egg handling of the issue involving our revered Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN’s law firm, the purported illegal suspension of the immediate Past General Secretary of the association, Mrs. Joyce Oduah, which culminated in a Federal High Court lampooning the National Executive Council (of which I was a member until last week when my tenure expired as Chairman, Akure Branch) for the shoddy manner handled the matter and the very ugly incident during the recently concluded AGC which portrayed our very noble as  sociation in a very bad light before the whole world due largely to the very poor and selfish planning by the nepotically selected Technical Committee on Conference Planning, TCCP, of this year

At the conference, I have decided that I cannot in good conscience keep and/or expend this money for my benefit. “Aside from the above, I have been attending Bar Conferences since the year 2002, one year after I was called to the Bar and I self-funded myself to attend conferences all these years and the 2022 Bar Conference should not be an exception just because of my privileged position as a Branch Chairman.

“It is on the above premises, that I therefore humbly request Mr. President to instruct the National Treasurer to kindly forward the Association’s account details to me to refund the money quickly to the Association’s coffers”.

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