Nigerian Bar Association,
Plot 1101 Mohammadu Buhari Way,
Central Business District,
Abuja F.C.T. Nigeria


I read with total dismay your 15th April, 2020 communication titled “COVID-19 PANDEMIC – RELEASE III” That communication was very insensitive and clearly shows that your leadership is indeed far from being responsible and responsive to NBA members.

Mr Usoro, are you telling us that you would not have remitted 10% of our BPF if there is no COVID-19 or have you forgotten that it is a statutory burden placed on you to remit 10% of BPF to all branches? The branches have a lot of projects, programmes and activities they do, the remittance is therefore meant to assist them in financing some of these. You have no right to dictate, not to even suggest, what branches can do with their money.

Mr Usoro, was Late Dr Kole Abayomi, SAN not a member of the NBA and that man might have taught you, or some of the members of the NBA Executive Committee which you lead or many lawyers in your law office at the Nigerian Law School? From worldwide media reports, were you not aware of the cause of death of the world acclaimed and well respected law teacher? Why did you then categorically declared that no Nigerian lawyer has died as a result of the virus? If l may ask, Mr. Usoro, when and where did you undertake your empirical declaration of "No COVID-19 Death among Nigerian Lawyers."  Or perhaps, you are now a certificated Statistician or even a member of the Nigerian Medical Association!

Responsible and responsive leaders the world over have continued to officially release substantial funds and material items as palliatives for their members and even other socially relevant members of the society. If l may ask, is it even not already belated to just announce an intention to form a Palliative Committee? For heavens sake, such announcement from you is even a mere INTENTION still kicking in your mind!

Where have you been on this Planet Earth that you are just waking up to this laughable intention of yours? Is it not annoying that since three weeks ago or beyond that all courts have been closed and law firms put under locks and keys, you have refused to use the period to constitute the committee and announce names of its members? What initial amount are you releasing for the committee? How much are you going to release from NBA's purse? Where is transparency here? As a billionaire lawyer, how much are you personally donating to that COVID-19 proposed palliative fund of the NBA?

Mr Usoro, in respect of this COVID-19 you are not doing well at all. And if l rate you as a non-performer and disappointment, be assured l am doing that on behalf of the thousands of NBA members who have remained voiceless for one reason or the other. Your proposed intervention  is obviously coming too late and quite too abstract. That is if this "intended intention" would ever come!

Mr President, stop chasing shadows. You talk about remote courtrooms. In what country? It only shows you think more about yourself and other elite lawyers like you. It is a no brainer that remote courtroom system is not a feasible or practicable solution for thousands of lawyers who are currently out of employment in Nigeria of today. It may only be for top-player lawyers who handle fat briefs in big  cities like Lagos, Abuja and Port-Harcourt but not for my colleagues in Ado-Ekiti and I dare say 90% of other branches of the NBA!

Are you to supply electricity to all courtrooms in Nigeria, including Magistrate Courts where the bulk of litigation and other practice processes are domiciled for mo lawyers in Nigeria? Are you to supply electricity to the homes of all lawyers and those of their clients to  enable them participate in your proposed courtroom teleconferencing? Are you to immediately solve the problem of poor GSM infrastructure in our country and which has been making a mess of internet connectivity capacity of Nigerians, including lawyers? Except the rich clients who only elitist lawyers like you can corner, where will litigants who have not been working in recent times get money to pay lawyers appearing in remote courtrooms? You know too well that solicitors' briefs that could be done within the comfort of our homes do not stray to poor lawyers.

Mr Usoro sir, how then do you think throwing up your fanciful remote courtroom hearing will be a cheering news to Nigerian lawyers at this season of gloom and despondency? Sir, have you really not considered it as grossly unfair to compare the United States with Nigeria in terms of technological and IT capabilities? Why do you then do this to us, Mr Usoro?

Sir, on your management of this COVID-19 pandemic, you have not done well for the Nigerian lawyers. And unfortunately, you are still not doing well.

Deji Jayeoba,
Ado-Ekiti Branch.

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