COVID-19: NBA LAGOS SHOWS LOVE TO MEMBERS, CALLS FOR MORE SUPPORT, AS OLU AKPATA AND FRIENDS JOIN THE LEAD.

As the world battle with the Covid-19 pandemic, health workers and other authorised agencies of governments are on the field; the rest of the population are required to support the war from the comfort of their homes by being on complete lockdown. Businesses are largely under lock too as economic activities have bowed to the pressure of priority of life. The natural implication is the imminent threat of hardship. Countries of the world are catering for their citizens in many ways. The Nigerian Government (at different levels) is doing her best to cushion the effect of the lockdown on Nigerians, especially the poor. To this end, well-meaning and highly privileged people have extended their financial support to the Government in this regard. 

As a body, the Nigerian Bar Association, Lagos Branch, under the leadership of the ever forward-thinking Chairman, Mr Yemi Akangbe, have moved with a brilliant initiative to reach out to members, especially colleagues who may be in momentary need at this trying times. Momentary because lawyers are generally ranked as “people of means” who are called to nobility. It is antithetical to describe any lawyer as “poor”. Thus, the reach out is part of the welfare package every member of the NBA contributes to by virtue of one’s financial membership. To this end, NBA Lagos has also called upon well-meaning members of the Branch to lend their support towards the initiative.

The call for support was answered by Mr Olumide Akpata (Senior Partner, Templars) and his friends who incidentally share the same perspective with the leadership of the NBA Lagos Branch as it pertains to reaching out to members of the Branch and members of other NBA branches in Lagos State.

Mr Akpata’s significant approach

There is something significant about Mr Akpata and his recent kind gestures towards lawyers in Lagos State. Although Mr Akpata genuinely nurses the ambition to lead the Nigerian Bar Association as its President, the highly distinguished lawyer has proven overtime that sincere show of benevolence is in his DNA. Beyond positively influencing a lot of young lawyers towards career growth and upliftment, Mr Akpata has been quite consistent in his love for members of the Bar which leaves everyone in admiration of his warm personality.

Thus, even at this critical time when everything (including NBA election) is on the blink, with the future of legal practice and other businesses under threat, Mr Akpata and his friends are bent on reaching out, starting with their immediate professional constituency – the NBA. This is quite commendable.

Other members of this noble Association should join hands in reaching out to colleagues in this difficult moments.

The Letter

Read the beautiful letter by the Chairman of NBA Lagos below:

IMPORTANT AND URGENT NOTICE TO MEMBERS!!! 

Learned Senior Advocates, Life Benchers and all members of this great Branch, the Premier Branch,

I hope that you are all keeping safe and staying at home.

On behalf of the EXCO of the Branch, I hereby express our gratitude to you for your understanding and cooperation at this difficult time.

I have been inundated with calls from many of our members, clamouring for the Branch to devise means of ameliorating the untold hardship being experienced by some of our members in these trying times. 

Whilst the EXCO of the Branch was deliberating on how to provide immediate, practical support to members,  incidentally,  I received a phone call and later an email from Mr. Olumide Akpata regarding a welfare initiative that he and his friends had put together which could be of assistance to members of the Branch and valuable to the EXCO in achieving some of the Branch’s welfare objectives for this period.

Mr. Akpata (together with some of his friends) via his email informed me that he had negotiated with Shoprite for the packaging of foodstuff worth about N5,000 a pack inclusive of amount to be paid for the delivery of the packs to the doorstep of lawyers in Lagos State and would be working with the Branches of the NBA in Lagos State, starting with our Branch . I understand that arrangements are in place for GoKada to handle the delivery aspect of the initiative.

In order to kickstart this initiative, Mr. Olumide Akpata and his friends have made an initial donation of N5,000,000 to cover the 1st 1000 packs of food to be distributed to lawyers in Lagos State who need this support. The food packs from Shoprite would contain the following items:

  • Milo
  • Milk
  • Sugar
  • 2 packs of spaghetti
  • Packaged Rice
  • Packaged Garri
  • 2 Packs of Kaptain Packaged Stew
  • 1 Bottle of Groundnut Oil
  • Sardines
  • Corned Beef
  • Pack of Salt
  • Pack of Seasoning (Maggi)
  • Small size Hand Sanitizer

The EXCO of the Branch met (virtually), on Thursday, the 2nd of April, 2020 and resolved to accept the offer from Mr. Olumide Akpata and his friends and to take over the logistics arrangement that they have negotiated as far as delivery and supply to our members is concerned.  We remaim grateful to him and his friends for their kind gesture to our colleagues in these trying times.

Going forward, therefore, the EXCO will take control of this initiative as far as our members are concerned and will have responsibility for liaising with members of the Branch who may need assistance at this time. 

The EXCO, therefore, calls on members of the Branch that genuinely need this support to please send me an email (stating your names, phone number and  delivery address ) to   secretary@nbalagos.org ( the email of the Branch operated by the Secretary) and copy the Welfare Secretary on tonikeke@yahoo.com. In case you are not able to send an email, please send a text message to the Secretary at 08023970287, the Welfare Secretary on 08033473388, the Social Secretary on 08033217760 and the Assistant Secretary on 08033754299.

We consider any request for assistance to be a matter of utmost confidentiality and confirm that on no account will the information regarding any recipient be made public or disclosed to a third party. 

In addition to the above, the EXCO has also resolved to set aside funds to provide palliatives in form of food support to members and will do so as soon as practicable. This intervention has become necesaary as we realise that Government cannot do it all, and there is a moral obligation on all at this period to rise up to the challenge that we are facing currently. The Exco believes in the slogan of “ONE FOR ALL AND ALL FOR ONE”. Injury or any form of  discomfort to a member,  is to all.

Accordingly, we kindly use this opportunity to make a passionate plea to other well-meaning members of the Branch to please support the Branch in assisting members at this time .  Should you wish to  support the Branch in this regard, kindly send an email to me on omoyemiakangbe@gmail.com or reach me on  0803 324 7080.  

Donations would be made known to members of the Branch unless the donor chooses to remain anonymous. 

I on behalf of the EXCO will provide weekly updates on progress to members as we move along and I will have personal charge and supervision of all welfare support to members at this time.

Yours truly,

Yemi Akangbe, FCIArb.

Chairman, NBA LAGOS BRANCH



Stephen Azubuike
Author: Stephen Azubuike
Stephen is a lawyer with expertise in Commercial Dispute Resolution and Technology Law practice. He is a Partner at Infusion Lawyers. He has successfully argued cases from the High Courts of various jurisdictions to the Appellate Courts on behalf of financial institutions, other corporate bodies and multinationals. He has worked with a number of startup tech companies. He tweets @siazubuike.
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