Governor of Kaduna State, Malam Nasir El-Rufai has replied the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) after it withdrew an invitation extended to him to speak at the association’s forthcoming annual general meeting, saying he did not seek the NBA platform and is not agitated that the association withdrew its invitation.
“While the decision about who speaks at its event is entirely the NBA’s, Malam Nasir El-Rufai wishes to make clear that he did not seek the platform and is not agitated that he has one less speaking engagement,” said the governor’s Special Adviser on Media and Communication, Muyiwa Adekeye.
Following threats of mass boycott by lawyers, the NBA on Thursday withdrew the invitation to El-Rufai as a speaker of its annual general conference holding from August 26 to 29.
The NBA, via Twitter, said the National Executive Committee resolved that the invitation to El-Rufai be withdrawn and decision communicated to him
Many lawyers had Tuesday threatened to boycott the conference if El-rufai participated, citing the state government’s handling of the killings in Southern Kaduna.
El-Rufai in a statement issued by Adekeye on Thursday night explained that the governor’s lawyer friends had requested him to accept the invitation of the NBA to participate in a panel discussion on national identity which he did as part of his commitment to having a national conversation and the evolution of a national consensus.
It however stated that “NBA platform or not, these worthy conversations must continue. He will continue to make his voice heard on the things our country needs to do for its progress.”
Adekeye knocked the NBA for endorsing what he claimed was a one-sided narrative on a profound national issue stressing that it was a matter members of the NBA may wish to reflect upon.
“For an association, whose bread and butter is about justice to make a ruling based on the stridency of people who lampoon judicial processes against certain individuals without hearing the other side is odd. It bears noting that in its response to pressure, the NBA leadership has signaled an unfortunate embrace of injustice, unfairness, absence of fair hearing and total disregard for the rule of law,” it stated,” he stated.
The governor’s Special Adviser however warned that the defamatory statements in the petition was another matter entirely which the petitioners will get an appropriate response.
He further stated that the governor has taken several actions on the security, institutional and technology fronts to address the legacy of violent strife in the state and has “done this with equality of concern for all residents, not just those with access to the media and who are able to mobilise sentiment even when they are part of the problem.”
“Those who have chosen to pretend that it is only Kaduna State that is experiencing the security challenges in North-West, or that it is only one part of the state that is affected can enjoy the illusion. Malam El-Rufai remains focused on the tough and hard work of stopping the bleeding and the needless breaking of bones”