MUSLIM legal practitioners from Kaduna State have decided to boycott the forthcoming Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) annual general meeting following the withdrawal of Governor Nasir El-Rufai’s invitation to speak at the conference.
Last week, the NBA leadership decided to withdraw its invitation to Governor El-Rufai in response to the recent killings in southern Kaduna State, questioning his human rights record. On a swift reaction, the Kaduna State chapter of the Muslim Lawyers Association of Nigeria (Mulan) has directed its members to boycott the NBA’s 2020 summit.
Already, the Supreme Council For Shari’ah in Nigeria said the treatment meted out to Governor El-Rufai, has cast a terrible and smelly smear on NBA, which it said was until recently, was regarded as representing the best ideals of justice, equity the good conscience of the society. Abbas Ma’sanawa, the vice chairman of the Kaduna State chapter of Mulan has even called on Muslim lawyers across the country to boycott the conference, arguing that the decision of the NBA is parochial, sentimental, disuniting and tainted with favouritism and ethno-religious considerations.
Mr Ma’sanawa said: “The Mulan Kaduna branch has watched with dismay how the NBA has kept mute in the face of genocide going on in the northeast, banditry and kidnappings in Katsina, Zamfara, Niger, and Kebbi States and Giwa and Birnin Gwari in Kaduna State with the NBA giving surreptitious ethnic cover to southern Kaduna, as if lives matter more in some parts of the country over the others. Mulan Kaduna makes bold to say that lives lost in Batsari, Katsina State far outnumbers that of the eight local governments of southern Kaduna put together.
“This isn’t to say Mulan Kaduna justifies the loss of lives anywhere in any guise bit we wonder where was the posturing of the NBA at the many lives lost in Borno State? Without mincing words, the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 precisely, Section 10 states in clear terms that the government of federation or of any state shall not adopt any religion as a state religion.
“We are witnesses to how Governor Nyesom Wike demolished a mosque and came out openly to say, I repeat once again without apologies, Rivers is a Christian State. That is why nobody can touch us.
“We believe that NBA deemed these utterances glorious hence the lofty invitation to Nyesom Wike to use our hallowed platform to propagate his governance inklings and dis-invitation of Governor el-Rufai. Mulan Kaduna Branch believes what is sauce for the goose should be sauce for the gander.”
However, Paul Usoro, the NBA president said its decision had no ethnic or religious colouration or connotation howsoever and whatsoever. Sheikh El-Zakzaky’s Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) has, however, commended the NBA for withdrawing its invitation to Governor El-Rufai.
IMN spokesman Ibrahim Musa said: “El-Rufai is the most unsuitable person to talk to a body of learned men, considering his legendary disrespect for the rule of law, blatant abuse of fundamental rights and intolerance to opposing views. El-Rufai has been an agent of impunity and division who supports extra-judicial killings and building of mass graves.”