The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has suspended its General Secretary, Joyce Oduah, over allegations of “gross misconduct.”
The decision was taken at an emergency meeting of the National Executive Committee of the association early Monday.
Mrs Oduah and 10 other members of the committee, including the NBA President, Olumide Akpata, were present at the meeting, according to a copy of the ‘final resolution’ issued at the end of Monday’s meeting.
The meeting was presided by the 1st Vice President, John Aikpokpo Martins with the NBA president, Mr Akpata voluntarily withdrawing to play the role.
With the exception of Mr Akpata and Mrs Oduah, nine members in attendance signed the resolution suspending the General Secretary.
The nine members of the committee who signed the resolution had, in a letter dated 9 August and addressed to Mr Akpata, called for the emergency meeting to address recent actions recently taken by Mrs Oduah.
The principal among the allegations levelled against her was her recent unilateral withdrawal of notices for the amendment of the association’s constitution. The constitution amendment, by the earlier notices, was meant to be considered at the association’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) scheduled to begin on 19 August in Lagos.
The NBA president, Mr Akpata, had on Friday, issued a disclaimer reversing the withdrawal of the notices for the constitution amendment.
Rising from its emergency meeting on Monday, the National Executive Committee passed the resolution suspending Mrs Oduah from office as the General Secretary.
In her place, the Assistant General Secretary, Uchenna Nwadialo, was asked to “immediately act as the General Secretary pending the Pre-Conference meeting of the NBA-NEC…”
The resolution urged NBA members “to continue their preparations for the forthcoming Annual General Conference.”
During the emergency meeting, it was revealed in the resolution that the NBA leadership deliberated extensively on Mrs Oduah’s acts of alleged disobedience to Mr Akpata and the NBA-NEC.
Due to Mr Akpata and Mrs Oduah’s earlier disagreement which culminated in the disclaimer, “Mr Olumide Akpata recused himself from the deliberations and handed over to the 1st Vice President, Mr John Aikpokpo Martins to chair the meeting.”
“At the end of the deliberations, the National Executive Committee by a unanimous decision resolved to refer the General Secretary, Mrs Joyce Oduah to NBA-NEC for disciplinary action under the provisions of section 20(1) of the NBA Constitution 2015 (as amended in 2021) and to recommend her removal from office for gross misconduct.”