The Muslim Lawyers Association of Nigeria (MULAN), which had earlier accused the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, of “selective justice and a slant appl
The Muslim Lawyers Association of Nigeria (MULAN), which had earlier accused the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, of “selective justice and a slant application of the rule of law” in its dis-invitation of Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, as a speaker at its coming Annual General Conference, is demanding that the NBA either “cancel the session on which Mallam El-Rufai was to speak, or disinvite any speaker(s) who has a record of human right violation and disregard for the rule of law or has been indicted anywhere for acts of war or other despicable conduct.”
This comes as one of the two branches of the NBA in Kano State threatened to boycott the conference if El-Rufa’i was not reinvited to the virtual meeting. MULAN stated its position through a statement titled “Selective Justice is an Injustice, Human Rights and Rule of Law are Colour Blind: Awakening Call to the Nigerian Bar Association.” The statement was signed by the group’s president, Abdulqadir Abikan (a professor) and its secretary, Ibrahim Alasa. It was made available to PREMIUM TIMES Monday night.
Clarifying that it was “not speaking on behalf of Mallam El-Rufai who is eminently capable of reacting to the unfortunate development,” MULAN said it was “concerned” that the decision of NBA on the matter seemed “not properly thought-out, reeked of unwarranted sentiments, is antithetical to the rule of law and inconsistent with the aims and objectives of the NBA.” While agreeing with the NBA President’s earlier position that it is not for the association “to look into the veracity of the allegations” levied against the governor, MULAN said it is, however, “constrained to speak out against selective justice and a slant application of the rule of law to satisfy pre-determined goals as happened in this case.”
The Muslim lawyers said the NBA compromised its neutrality because “there are worse perceived violators of Human Rights and the rule of law both locally and internationally also speaking at the same conference.” It said it observed, “after going through the proceeding that led to the disinviting Mr El’rufai, that some individuals in the NBA took advantage of the NBA platform to ventilate personal and political vendetta on behalf of some persons in the country.”
MULAN said if NBA wants to live up to its mantra as indicated by the dis-invitation of Mr El-Rufai, it should also honour the petition sent to its Technical Committee on Conference Planning (TCCP) on August 23 by the Justice Concerned Lawyers’ Forum (JCL). It noted that the petition by JCL demanded that “former President Olusegun Obasanjo should be disinvited as Speakers at the Conference.
The group had earlier questioned the rationale behind allowing Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike be a speaker at the event after he publicly declared that Rivers State is a Christian state.
“The Forum chronicled a barrage of Human Right violations and disrespect for the rule of law, including disobedience to Supreme Court order, perpetrated by the duo, especially the former. The Forum, like many other groups and branches of the Bar, threatened a boycott of the Conference if her demands are not met.”
The Muslim lawyers further demanded that, using the standard by which El-Rufai was disinvited, “Tony Blair, the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom should also be on the list of Speaker to delist.”
It said Blair’s country “has sufficiently indicted him in Sir John Chilcot’s Iraq Inquiry Report (1House o Commons (UK), “The Report of the Iraq Inquiry”, (UK: Controller of Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, 2016) in which he was said to have ‘deliberately exacerbated the threat posed by Saddam Hussein when there was no imminent threat’. He did that to justify his joining the USA in attacking Iraq and killing millions of innocent people.”
MULAN said dis-inviting Blair, Obasanjo and Wike to speak at the NBA Conference “would do a great deal of damage control and show the whole World watching the ensuing drama that in the NBA, the rule of law and Human Rights are colour blind and know no class, tribe or religious affiliation.
“If the NBA and its NEC wanted to be just and not complicit, they do not even need these latter petitions to disinvite all persons tainted with controversy and be seen to live-up-to its mantra.”