Several Nigerian lawyers have criticized the invitation of the governor of Kaduna State, Malam Nasir El Rufai as a speaker at 60th Annual General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA).
Several Nigerian lawyers in the last few days have taken into online mediums to criticize the invitation of the governor of Kaduna State, Malam Nasir El Rufai as a speaker at 60th Annual General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association(NBA).
The protest against El-Rufai invitation may not be unconnected with the mass killings in Southern Kaduna.
Many lawyers in their twitter accounts vowed not to attend the virtual conference, the first of its kind in the history of the association. The conference is scheduled to hold between August 26, and 29, 2020. The theme of the conference is, ‘A United Nigeria The Myths and The Next Generation.’
Reacting to the inclusion of governor El-Rufai’s name on the list of key speakers, one of the lawyers identified as Itong Washington who deregistered from being part of the virtual conference wrote on Twitter “Dear @NigBarAssoc, I just ran through the list of speakers in the forthcoming virtual conference and Gov. El-Rufai’s name is on the list. I’ll be withdrawing my attendance and cancelling my registration for the conference. Thank you”.
A non governmental organization, Space For Change have severally accused the governor of dictatorship.
“On October 26, 2016, Dr John Dan Fulani, public commentator and lecturer at the Kaduna State University, was arrested and detained for 13 days. His offense: he made a Facebook post criticizing the government of Nasir el-Rufai, governor of Kaduna State. A reporter with a local newspaper, for publishing a story claiming the governor had assets worth billions of Naira, was equally detained for 13 days. Luka Binniyat, a Kaduna-based Vanguard journalist, published reports on the recent Southern Kaduna killings. For so doing, he was constantly harassed by agents of the state government, and was even tagged “a threat to the security of the state” by a media aide to the governor. Rights activist Gloria Ballason’s radio programme was shut down and reassigned to another person, never mind she owned the intellectual property rights. The state government had found the programme “troubling and upsetting.”
The group further stated: “A recent survey by a non-governmental organization, Spaces for Change, assessing freedom of expression within the Kaduna civic space, reports gross abuses. All 13 civil society actors interviewed bemoaned incessant government harassments and especially social media muffling. The social media invites more intimidation for its more democratic nature, its dynamic of spread. While the conventional media can be silent to ensure its survival from government patronage, the social media, like el-Rufai’s Twitter account, is sustained by cheap, powerful clicks. It is depressing that the governor, an otherwise shining example in brilliant and intellectual capital idealized for Nigerian leadership, is the one manning the dark work of blighting expression. Being accused, sometimes plausibly, of Fulani sectionalism, is bad enough”.