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Jigawa AG Says He Has Not Received NBA Committee Report on Crises in Dutse Branch

Jigawa AG Says He Has Not Received NBA Committee Report on Crises in Dutse Branch  

Nigerian Bar Association (NBA’s) fact-finding committee instituted to locate lasting solutions to the festering crises in the Dutse branch, Jigawa State, has submitted its report.

The committee, which was led by NBA’s vice-president, John Aikpokpo-Martins, made some far-reaching recommendations in the report, which has been made public.

Nigerian Sketch observed that the recommendations of the committee touched on the alleged roles of Jigawa State attorney-general, Dr Musa Adamu Aliyu, in the crises, asking him to act in a particular way and threatening to take disciplinary actions on him if he refuses.

But the attorney-general told Nigerian Sketch that he was yet to receive a copy of the report officially from the NBA, saying as a lawyer, he is disciplined enough not to comment on a document he has not been served with.

A member of Dutse branch who does not want to be named said, “It cannot be true that an NBA committee will make a report and neglect to serve it on the parties concerned but circulate same on the social media. As porous as the social media is, how does anyone know it is even genuine? No, the NBA I know for years would not be as reckless as this.”

Read the full report

2nd August, 2021

The President,

Nigerian Bar Association,

NBA House,

Abuja,

Sir,

THE REPORT OF THE FACT-FINDING COMMITTEE TO DUTSE BRANCH.

INTRODUCTION:

The NBA Dutse Branch has been engulfed in crisis long before the assumption of office of Olumide Akpata, Esq. as President of the Nigerian Bar Association (‘NBA’). Because of the seemingly intractable nature of the crisis, the President constituted a 5-man fact-finding committee (the “Committee”) to investigate the cause of the crisis and make recommendations to him. The Committee is made up of the following members:

  1. John Aikpokpo-Martins, Esq. Vice President of the NBA – Chairman,
  2. Godwin Omoaka, SAN, – Vice Chairman,
  3. Ahmed T. Uwais, Esq. – Member,
  4. Mustapha Imam, Esq.- Member and
  5. Abdulrahman El-Ibrany, Esq. – secretary.

In line with her mandate and terms of reference, the Committee sent letters of invitation to the two factions in the branch and to the Honourable Attorney General of Jigawa State, Dr. Musa Adamu Aliyu, Esq. On the 2nd of May, 2021 members of the committee travelled to Dutse, Jigawa State to hold an interactive meeting.

INVESTIGATIONS:

The meeting was scheduled to hold on the 3rd day of May 2021 at Jigawa Three Star Hotel at 10am. Several members of the faction led by Nuhu Suleiman Tafida, Esq. wer present by 9.30 am, while members of the faction led by Garba Abubakar, Esq. failed to appear despite the fact that the meeting was stood down to enable them to do so.

However, by 11:10am, Garba Abubakar, Esq. sent a message to the Committee through the Chairman of the Committee via WhatsApp stating that he would not be attending the meeting; therefore, the interactive meeting commenced sitting.

The Chairman of the Committee noted that he called the Honourable Attorney General of Jigawa State to inform and invite him to the interactive meeting, but that the Honourable Attorney General did not indicate whether or not he would attend the meeting.

The Committee was informed that in a bid to resolve the festering dispute, both factions had held reconciliatory meetings with Professor Muhammad Tabiu, SAN; who had intervened.

The meeting proceeded with the following persons of Dutse branch in attendance:

  1. Nuhu Sulaiman Tafida, Esq.
  2. Adamu Muhktar, Esq.
  3. Mustapha M. Kashim, Esq.
  4. Salisu Gumel Muhammed, Esq.
  5. Abdullahi Umar Yalleman, Esq.
  6. Hafizu Suleh Abubakar, Esq.
  7. Baffa Alhasan, Esq.
  8. Muhammad Ahmad Auwal, Esq.
  9. Mala Bukar Dikwa, Esq.
  10. Abdulkarim Idris Yaro, Esq.
  11. Sulaiman Ahmad Musa, Esq.
  12. Usman Iliyasu, Esq.

The following persons Nuhu Tafida, Esq., Mustapha Kashim, Esq, Hafisu Sule Abubakar, Esq, Baffa Alhassan, Esq. and made oral and/or written submissions to the Committee and in the end several documents were tendered and marked as exhibits in the following order:

(a) Petition dated 27th May 2020 by the Vice-Chairman addressed to the Chairman posted on the WhatsApp platform was admitted and marked as exhibit “A”

(b) Print out of the WhatsApp discussions of the members of the branch on the constitution of the electoral committee dated May 27th, 2020 admitted and marked as exhibit “B.”

(c) Petition dated June 11th, 2020 was admitted and marked as exhibit “C.”

(d) The Electoral Committee Guidelines for election with emphasis on page 2 item 12 stating the date time and venue of the election was admitted and marked as exhibit

“D”.

(e) The letter dated 23rd June 2020, dissolving the Electoral Committee (ELCOM) and constituting the Caretaker Committee (CTC) admitted and marked as exhibit “E.”

(f) Letter dated 25th June, 2020, increasing the number of the caretaker Committee members from 3 to 5 members by NBA National was admitted and marked as

exhibit “F.”

(g) Another letter increasing the number of members of the Caretaker Committee by co-opting some members into the Committee addressed to Chief Judge, Jigawa State, by NBA National dated 3rd July, 2020, was admitted and Marked as Exhibit

“G.”

(h) Printout of WhatsApp discussions of 23rd June, 2020 declaring the elected officers was admitted and marked as exhibit “H.”

(i) Letter dated 23rd June, 2020 by Mala Dikwa, Esq dissociating himself from the decision of the ELCOM addressed to the Chairman of the ELCOM was admitted and marked as exhibit “H1”.

(j) Baffa Alhasan, Esq tendered a printout of screenshots of objections from the members of the group, which he believed were left out by Mustapha Kashim, Esq. in his presentation. The print out of the further discussions were admitted and market as exhibit “B1.”

(k) Report of the Caretaker Committee to the NBA fact finding Committee on Dutse Branch Crisis was adopted by Baffa Alhasan, Esq. The document was admitted and market as exhibit “I”.

(l) Another petition dated 28thMay 2020 by Hafizu Sule Abubakar, Esq. addressed to the NBA President on the looming constitutional Crisis of NBA Dutse Branch was admitted and market as exhibit “J”.

(m) A petition dated 12 June 2020 addressed to the Chairperson NBA 2020 Branch Appeal Panel by Hafizu Sule Abubakar, Esq was admitted and marked as exhibit

“K”

(n) The Writ of Summons, Statement of Claim and other documents attached, filed by Garba Abubakar were admitted and marked as exhibit “L”.

(o) The Statement of Defence was marked as exhibit “L1”.

(p) Baffa Alhasan Esq.’s letter of requisition calling for Extra Ordinary General Meeting of the members of the branch dated 6th June, 2020 addressed to the NBA Chairman by 38 members of the branch, admitted and marked as exhibit “M.”

(q) The report of the ELCOM of the NBA Dutse Branch held on the 21st September, 2020 under the CTC leadership was admitted and marked as exhibit “N”.

(r) Suleiman Abubakar, Esq.’s written presentation dated 3rd May, 2021 admitted and marked as exhibit “O”.

(s) The Complaint of Nuhu Tafida, Esq. on the issues concerning the intimidation, harassment, victimization, persecution of members and undue interference with affairs of NBA Dutse Branch by the Honourable Attorney General of Jigawa State dated 5th February, 2021 addressed to the NBA President was admitted and marked as exhibit “P”.

(t) The provisional list of eligible voters of NBA Dutse Branch for 2020 election was admitted and marked as exhibit “Q”.From the oral and written submissions of the persons present at the meeting the following facts were stated:

  1. That on the 28th of May, 2020, a member of the branch, Hafizu Sule Abubakar, Esq. wrote to the then NBA President, Paul Usoro, SAN vide a letter titled “Looming Constitutional Crises in NBA Dutse Branch Jigawa State: A Call for Urgent Action”
  2. On the 11th of June 2020, another member of the branch, Mustapha Kashim, Esq. of M. M Kashim & Co also wrote a letter addressed to the Chairperson, NBA 2020 Branch Elections Appeal Panel titled “Disenfranchisement of Members and Flagrant Breaches of NBA Constitution and the Uniform Bye Law by the Outgoing Executive of NBA Dutse Branch Jigawa State and the Branch Election Committee: A Call for Urgent Action”
  3. On the 23rd of June, 2020, the NBA (2020) Branches Election Appeals Panel (Northern Zone) considered the petitions/appeals of Hafizu Sule Abubakar, Esq and M. M Kashim, Esq. and held that the Branch Election Committee was constituted in contravention of Articles 10(3) and 10(10) (a) of the Uniform Bye Laws for Branches and recommended that the Dutse Branch Election Committee be disbanded/dissolved.
  4. The then President, Paul Usoro, SAN accepted this recommendation and on or about the 23rd day of June, 2020 dissolved the Dutse Branch Election Committee constituted by the Bashir Usaini, Esq, the immediate past Chairman of the branch.
  5. That upon the dissolution of the electoral committee, the former President, Paul Usoro, SAN set up a caretaker committee that was ultimately led by Baffa Alhasan, Esq. with the mandate to conduct elections into offices for the branch.
  6. The then Chairman of the branch, Bashir Usaini, Esq. rejected the decision of the ex- President which dissolved the ELCOM and swore in Garba Abubakar, Esq. as Chairman and members of the executive committee of the branch on the 29th of June, 2020. Bashir Usaini, Esq proceeded to hand over properties of the branch in his possession like cheque books, bank accounts, branch bus etc. to Garba Abubakar, Esq.
  7. The Hon Attorney General, Dr. Musa Adamu Aliyu, Esq. on the 19th of August presented Garba Abubakar, Esq. and others to the Governor of Jigawa State as the elected Chairman and members of the executive committee of the branch.
  8. That on the 21/09/2020, the election committee appointed by the Baffa Alhasan, Esq. led caretaker committee conducted the elections and Nuhu Suleiman Tafida, Esq. was duly elected as Chairman of the branch and sworn into office.
  9. That this resulted to the evolution of 2 executive committees of the NBA Dutse Branch; one led by Garba Abubakar, Esq. and the other led by Nuhu Suleiman Tafida, Esq.
  10. That Garba Abubakar, Esq. is in possession of the branch’s18-seater bus, the branch secretariat, ICT center, Guarantee Trust Bank Account of the branch with over N2,000,000(two (2) Million Naira.) The Nuhu Suleiman Tafida, Esq group prayed the committee to recommend as follows:
  11. That the Caretaker Committee conducted a valid election.
  12. That Garba Abubakar, Esq. should stop parading himself as chairman of Dutse Branch.
  13. That Garba Abubakar, Esq. should handover all the property of Dutse Branch to the validly elected Chairman, which is Nuhu Tafida, Esq.
  14. To prevail on Honourable Attorney General of Jigawa State to stop the intimidation, harassment, victimization, persecution of members in the Ministry of Justice and his undue interference with the affairs of NBA Dutse

Branch forthwith.

As noted earlier, the group led by Garba Abubakar, Esq. did not attend the interactive session despite having been informed in writing and vide phone calls; did not make any oral or written submissions to the Committee.

After the interactive session held on the 2ndday of May, 2021, and having regard to the allegations of Nuhu Suleiman Tafida, Esq of intimidation, harassment, victimization and prosecution of himself and other staff of the Jigawa Ministry of Justice against the Honourable Attorney General of Jigawa State, Dr. Musa Adamu Aliyu, Esq., contained in the his petition, and the oral submission made at the interactive session, the Committee deemed it expedient and consistent with the principles of fair hearing to forward the petition of Nuhu Suleiman Tafida, Esq. to the Honourable Attorney General for his response to the allegations made against him therein.

For record purposes and avoidance of doubt, some of the particulars of the allegations are;

  1. That on the 23/09/2020, the Honourable. Attorney General caused a query to be issued by the Ministry of Justice against Nuhu S. Tafida, Esq for disregarding the directives of the Attorney General to desist from events relating to the NBA.
  2. Similar queries were issued by the same Ministry against Adamu Mukhtar, Esq. (elected Vice Chairman of the Nuhu Tafida, Esq group) and Suleiman Muhammed Musa, Esq. (Chairman of the election committee that elected Nuhu

Tafida, Esq.)

  1. The Honourable Attorney General wrote a petition against Baffa Alhasan, Esq (past Chairman of the branch/Chairman of the Caretaker Committee), Abdullahi Umar Yalleman, Esq. (Secretary of the election committee) and Zakari Seidu, Esq’ (member of election committee) to the Jigawa State College of Education and Legal Studies where they work.
  2. The Honourable. Attorney General also wrote to the Honourable Chief Judge of Jigawa State questioning why permission was granted by the Honourable Chief Judge for the use of a court premises for the election.
  3. The Honourable Attorney General removed Nuhu S. Tafida, Esq. and Adamu Mukhtar, Esq, the Chairman and Vice Chairman respectively of their group from the positions of Directors in the Jigawa State Ministry of Justice despite not having the powers to do so. On the 24th of May 2021 the Committee wrote a letter to the Honourable Attorney General, Dr. Musa Adamu Aliyu, Esq and informed him of the various allegations raised against him by one of the factions and the decision of the Committee to give him a chance to respond to the allegations. On the 31st day of May 2021, the Honourable Attorney General responded to the letter of 24th May 2021 and explained why he did not attend the fact-finding interactive meeting or send any response. He further stated that the petition against him was not attached to the letter sent to him, so he is not aware of any allegations raised against him.

However, he stated that he is aware of pending suits filed by both factions in which the Nigerian Bar Association, the present President and the immediate past President are parties. He submitted that it is improper for the Association or any party in the suit to interfere with the powers of the Court. Upon the receipt of the response of the Honourable Attorney General alleging that the petition of Nuhu Suleiman Tafida, Esq was not attached to the letter of the 24th May, 2021, the Committee sent him another letter dated the 3/6/2021 and attached the relevant petition. However, the Honourable Attorney General has not deemed it fit to respond to the particulars of the said allegations made against him by Nuhu Suleiman Tafida, Esq. The Honourable Attorney General did not deem it necessary and expedient to refute the allegations made against him till date FINDINGS:

  1. That the immediate past President Paul Usoro, SAN on the 23/6/2020 dissolved the election committee set up by the immediate past administration of the branch as the constitution of the said election committee by Bashir Usaini, Esq was in contravention of Articles 10(3) and 10(10) (a) of the Uniform Bye-Laws for Branches and recommended that the Dutse Branch Election Committee be disbanded/dissolved.
  2. That Bashir Usaini, Esq in defiance of the decision of the President dissolving the electoral committee went on to purportedly swear in Garba Abubakar, Esq and others as the Chairman and officers of the branch.
  3. That it was the President that constituted the Baffa Alhasan, Esq. led caretaker committee with the mandate to conduct elections into the vacant offices of the branch.
  4. That Nuhu Suleiman Tafida, Esq. was elected vide the electoral processes conducted and midwifed by the caretaker committee lawfully constituted by the President of

the Association.

  1. That the allegations of Nuhu Suleiman Tafida, Esq. of intimidation, harassment, victimization, and prosecution of himself and some other members and undue interference in NBA branch matters against the Honourable Attorney General of Jigawa State, Dr. Musa Adamu Aliyu, Esq. are found to have been proved. This is more so that the Honourable Attorney General did not deny any of the allegations despite having been given ample time and opportunity to do so.

CONCLUSION:

In conclusion it is the view of the Committee that;

  1. The purported executive committee of Dutse branch led by Garba Abubakar, Esq. as Chairman was ab initio unlawful constituted and in contravention of the provisions of the constitution of the Nigeria Bar Association, the articles of the Uniform Bye law for Branches and in direct defiance and gross violation of the directives of Paul Usoro, SAN, the then President of the Association.
  2. For the avoidance of doubt, it is the respected view of the committee that the executive committee led by Nuhu Suleiman Tafida as chairman is the lawfully elected executive committee of Dutse branch, same having been elected vide the processes guaranteed by the constitution of the Association, the Uniform bye law for Branches and in obedience to the directives of the then President Paul Usoro, SAN.
  3. The Attorney-General of Jigawa State lack the authority and power to interfere in the internal affairs of the branch in any matter whatsoever.
  4. The Honourable Attorney General of Jigawa State, Dr. Musa Adamu Aliyu, Esq. abused the powers of his office and conducted himself in a manner unbecoming of a legal practitioner in the course of his undue interference in the affairs of Dutse branch to wit; intimidating, harassing, victimizing and persecuting Nuhu Suleiman Tafida, Esq, Adamu Muktar, Esq., Suleiman Muhammed Musa, Esq., Baffa Alhasan, Esq, Abdulahi Umar Yalleman, Esq. and Zakari Seidu, Esq., being the duly elected Chairman, Vice Chairman and senior members respectively of NBA Dutse Branch.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

In view of all the above, we hereby humbly recommend the following:

  1. That the Nuhu Suleiman Tafida, Esq and his executives be recognized by the President and the National Executive Committee (NEC) as the duly elected Chairman and executives of Dutse Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association forthwith.
  2. That Garba Abubakar, Esq be warned in writing to forthwith stop parading himself further as the Chairman of Dutse Branch failing which disciplinary action should be taken against him without further recourse to him.
  3. That Garba Abubakar, Esq. should handover all the properties of Dutse Branch in his possession to Nuhu Suleiman Tafida, Esq immediately, failing which the President should take steps to retrieve the properties from the possession of Garba Abubakar, Esq.
  4. That Dr. Musa Adamu Aliyu, Esq, the Honourable Attorney General of Jigawa State should be strongly advised to take immediate steps to reinstate Nuhu Suleiman Tafida, Esq. and the other staff of the Jigawa State Ministry of Justice whom he caused to be suspended to their various offices and positions within 2 weeks. The Honourable Attorney General should further be warned in writing to desist from further interfering in the affairs of NBA Dutse branch forthwith.
  5. That should Dr. Musa Adamu Aliyu, the Honourable Attorney General of Jigawa State fail, neglect and/or refuse to heed the advice and/or warning contained above, the President should ensure that disciplinary action is taken against him immediately and without further recourse to him.

We thank you Mr. President for the opportunity to serve and the confidence reposed in the members.

Dated this 30th day of July, 2021.

John Aikpokpo-Martins, Esq.

Chairman

Godwin Omoaka SAN

Member

Ahmed Uwais

Member

Abdulrahman Bello El-ibrany

Member

Mustapha Imam

Member

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