WELCOME ADRRESS DELIVERED LEDAK DAZUK DAFER, ESQ., THE CHAIRMAN OF THE NIGERIAN BAR ASSOCIATION, JOS BRANCH

AT THE 2015 LAW WEEK/ANNUAL LECTURES HOLDING AT CREST HOTEL,

JOS THIS 24TH DAY OF NOVEMBER, 2015

 

It is With great joy and gratitude to the Lord and to all members of the Jos Bar that I stand before you this day to welcome you to this once in a year Bar event of the Branch. That the programme is holding today is as result of the uncommon commitment of every member of the Branch.

 

The theme of the 2015 Law Week and Hon. Justice Dauda Azaki Memorial Lectures is “Law, Corruption and National Development” which was carefully chosen by the Planning Committee, principally, to help challenge colleagues to be fully engaged in some stock taking and to also asses and evaluate our role as lawyers in the development of our respective communities and the Nation generally.

 

In the course of this annual event, it is expected that we will be able to highlight what we may regard as achievements and to also identify our low points with the aim of identifying and adopting functional strategies for National peace and development.

 

The Keynote Speaker this year is Prof. A. Y. Shehu. His choice is informed by the recognition of the endowment of God upon his life which has projected him, not just as a teacher but as an acclaimed speaker who has contributed, in no small measure, to the development of this country.

 

The year 2015 has been eventful. A number of our colleagues have been elevated to various positions of higher positions of responsibilities. Also many marriages and births were recorded However, from December last year to date, we lost three of our colleagues and a retired judicial officer of the State. It is my prayer that the Lord will comfort the family and the Bar and raise capable hands to fill the vacuum created.

 

The Solomon Eyibo Umoh, SAN led committee which doubles as the 2015 Law Week Committee as well as the Local Organizing Committee of the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting coming up from the 10th – 12th February, 2016 here in Jos has done a work worthy of commendation. Assisted by T. Kekemeke, Esq. (past Chairman) the Committee worked tirelessly to put together this eventful programme for the week. Day one commences with the Opening Ceremony and as you can all attest to, is being chaired by Senator J.T. Useini and attended by array of dignitaries. The Keynote address shall be taken by Prof. A. Y. Shehu. The Hon. Justice Dauda Azaki’s Aunnal Lectures will be coming up tomorrow and this will be taken by a distinguished and erudite scholar, Prof. Sam Egwu. This session will be Chaired by the Vice Chancellor of the University of Jos. Prof. Hayward Babale Mafuyai. On Thursday the 26th November, 2015 the Young Lawyers’ Forum will hold by 10am with Prof. A. O. Alubo and I. I. Ibrahim delivery lectures which event will be chaired by Hon. Justice C. L. Dabup, a Judge of the Plateau State High Court of Justice. This will be followed by the Annual Bar Dinner/Award Night under the Chairmanship of J-K Gadzama, SAN, a leader and a consummate Bar man. The Bar/Bench Forum holds at High Court 1 to be followed by our Annual General Meeting holding immediately thereafter at the same venue. We shall be capping up that day with a Gala/Night Party. There will be a Fitness Walk on Saturday and a thanksgiving service on Sunday.

 

Permit me to comment on the impact of the introduction of the Practice Stamps by the Alegah, SAN, led administration. This has raised the level of participation of many colleagues who have been apathetic to NBA activities. This is why we now have about eight hundred registered members at the Branch. To ensure active participation at the Branch, at one of our monthly meetings, it was unanimously agreed that we apply for the creation of Bukuru Branch. The response to this welcome project is quite impressive.

 

I wish to use this opportunity to appreciate His Excellency, the Governor of Plateau State, Rt. Hon. Simon Bako Lalong for the support and in creating necessary and conductive atmosphere for a successful Law Week. It is my prayer that the Lord will help him actualize the vision he has for Plateau State. For him to succeed, he needs our collective contribution. I also want to appreciate the Honourable Minister, Barr. Solomon Dalung (one of our members who has been elevated to higher service as a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria) for his support. Our resource persons, Branch members and the general public who have all made it possible to hold this Law week, I welcome you all.

 

Learned colleagues, I urge everyone to brace up to work with the newly amended constitution of the Bar which provides for a uniform Branch Bye-Law. One other innovation worth noting is the introduction of e-voting which will be tested at the forth coming National election of the Bar in July next year.

 

This year’s Law Week promises to be great. I invite all to take time out to enjoy every bit of the events lined up.

 

In conclusion, I call on my colleagues and the general public to key in and join in the current war against corruption, the bane of development, and work towards greater Nigeria where honesty shall be our watchword. In line with this call, the Branch will be joining all Branches across the Nation in marking the Anti-Corruption Day slated to hold on the 9th Day of December, instant. Since the passage of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption on the 30/10/2003, this day has been set aside to observed globally. Every member of the Branch is expected to be in attendance. The general public is equally invited.

 

Thank you.

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