The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has withdrawn the invitation it initially extended to the Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai, to speak at its 2020 Annual General Conference.
In a tweet on its Twitter handle, @NigBarAssoc, on Thursday, NBA said its decision will be communicated to the Governor.
The National Executive Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association at its ongoing meeting resolves that the invitation to the Kaduna State Governor, H.E. Nasir El-Rufai by the 2020 Annual General Conference Planning committee be withdrawn and decision communicated to the Governor.
— Nigerian Bar Association (@NigBarAssoc) August 20, 2020
El-Rufai was among the guest speakers slated to participate in a session titled ‘Who is a Nigerian?… A Debate on National Identity.’
But the NBA acted following petitions from human rights activists and lawyers who questioned the Kaduna State Governor’s suitability to speak at the occasion.
A petition to stop the governor from attending the conference was started by a lawyer, Usani Odum.
The petition had garnered over 3,150 signatures on Change.Org as of 5 pm on Thursday.
In a separate letter titled, ‘Request to Withdraw the Offer of Platform at the 2020 Annual General Conference of the NBA to Mallam Nasir el-Rufai,’ addressed to the Chairman, Technical Committee on Conference Planning, NBA, Prof. Koyinsola Ajayi, some lawyers said the governor must not be allowed to speak at the conference.
The letter, which was signed by Silas Onu and Auta Nyada, listed 10 allegations against el-Rufai and his son, Bello, who is a Special Adviser to Kaduna Central lawmaker, Senator Uba Sani.
The NBA virtual conference holds from August 24-26, 2020.
It is expected to have Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), in attendance.
Others also billed to speak at the session are the governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike; a former governor of Anambra State and vice-presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party at the 2019 election, Peter Obi; an activist and former federal minister, Oby Ezekwesili; amongst others.