by Stanley Azuakola
The Annual General Conference of the Nigeria Bar Association, currently taking place in Abuja, is not going exactly as planned. This is because lawyers, on Thursday, shut the main gate of the Abuja International Conference Centre where the event is being staged.
Their grouse was with the 500 percent hike in the compulsory conference fees. They argued that they were entitled to attend the conference, being fee-paying NBA members, irrespective of the fact that they had not registered for the event.
Lawyers who paid the fees are chauffeured in buses to the venue, while those who did not, are prevented from entering the venue. However, on Thursday, the latter group embarked on a protest, insisting that they too had a right to attend the once-a-year meeting.
The highlight of the Annual General Meeting is expected to be the rendering of account by the outgoing Joseph Daudu led administration, scheduled for Thursday.
Some of those locked out were the NBA third vice president, Dr. Ogugua Ikpeze, general secretary, Muyiwa Akinboro, and chairman of Council National Human Rights Commission, Prof. Chidi Odinkalu.
The protesting lawyers barricaded the gate, preventing registered lawyers from entering the conference centre or from leaving the venue. They also argued with security agents, shoved and pushed one another.