Mar 8, 2020

PUSAN MILESTONES: Promoting Gender Balance in the Legal Profession

The Paul Usoro SAN led administration has recorded many wins and achievements so far, one that stands out is the inauguration of a new leadership for the NBA Women’s Forum and in the spirit of the International Women’s Day 2020, this initiative leads the way in ensuring gender equality in the legal profession. 

It will be recalled that the Executive Council of the Women Forum was recently inaugurated by the President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Paul Usoro SAN on the 17th day of September 2019.

The purpose of the NBA Women Forum is to give prominence to the promotion of women-Lawyers’ rights and privileges while also bringing to the front burner gender-related issues and ensuring that all prejudices and over-shadowy discriminatory practices against women lawyers become a thing of the past. 

Paul Usoro SAN in his speech during the inauguration noted that the constitution of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) mandates that there should be a women’s forum to address issues that affect women. On the issue of sexual harassment, he had this to say, “We have just finished our Annual General Conference (AGC) and one of the very hot sessions was the session on bullying and sexual harassment. A lot of female lawyers spoke passionately about their experiences and the general consensus was that the NBA must do something about it.”

The executives of the NBA Women’s Forum have also hit the ground running and they exhibit a line-up of successful female lawyers who have always shown a passion for excellence and the promotion of the welfare of female lawyers. The NBAWF held its inaugural General Council meeting on Wednesday the 30th October 2019, at the NBA National Secretariat Abuja. It immediately set up a Mentorship Committee which developed a mentorship programme for members. 

The programme offers free mentoring for young female lawyers from 0-5 years at the bar. NBAWF mentoring is intended to encourage and assist members to develop to their full potentials in all areas of career and life and will be held at different locations in the country. For instance, it's take off session will be held on Tuesday, 17th March, 2020 at the NBA Port Harcourt Bar Center, Bank road, Port Harcourt,  Rivers State.

The executive is made up of Professor Oluyemisi Bamgbose, SAN – Chairperson, Chinyere Okorocha, Vice Chairperson, Nsidibe Aideyan, Secretary and Hajia Safiya Balarabe as Treasurer.

To assist the Forum’s executive in an advisory capacity, a blue-ribbon Council was also constituted by the NBA President comprising very eminent legal practitioners. These include, Her Excellency, Anna Isiyaku, First Lady of Taraba State, Maryam Uwais, MFR, Special Adviser to the President, Professor Joy Ngozi Ezeilo, OON, Dean, Faculty of Law, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, frontline arbitrator, Dorothy Ufot, SAN, frontline arbitrator, Hajia Hadiza Magaji, Chief Registrar, Borno State Judiciary. 

Others are, Florence Fiberesima, Solicitor-General and Permanent Secretary, Rivers, State Ministry of Justice, Dr. Foluke Dada, academician, gender activist and NBA 2nd Vice President; and Ayotola Jagun, Chief Compliance Officer at Oando Plc.