Members of the Benin branch of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) have threatened to expel its National President, Austin Alegeh, for the removal of their chairman, Princess Patience Iyomon.
A letter from the National Secretary of the NBA, Mazi Afam Osigwe, had directed the Vice Chairman of the NBA Benin branch, Emmanuel Ojekhua, to take over th chairmanship and management of the branch including its bank accounts and properties.
The letter dated February 20, 2016, said Iyomon was removed by the National Executive Committee of the NBA at its meeting in Jos, Plateau State.
Angered by the contents of the letter sacking their chairman, some members of the Benin branch stormed the secretariat and saw that the locks and keys were replaced.
They broke into the secretariat and held an enlarged congress of the NBA at the instance of the elders of the branch.
Some lawyers at the congress who pleaded anonymity, alleged that the removal of Iyomon was because the NBA joined in a suit against the Land Use Charge.
At the meeting presided over by Nosa Peter Osifo, the lawyers dissociated themselves from the Jos meeting and expressed confidence in the leadership of the deposed chairman.
They said the NBA NEC lacked the constitutional powers to remove an elected chairman of a branch.
Five members of the Benin branch executive suspended by the congress included that the branch Public Relation Officer, Ebosele Ohifoh, Vice Chairman Emmanuel Ojekhua, Secretary David Maduku, Treasurer J.J Osadiaye and Pearl Agbale.
Osifo said: “We see the Jos resolution as an affront and an attempt to ridicule Benin branch. We will not allow it. We are not timid.”
“We shall resist any despotic attempt in NBA. The NBA president is from here. He should not annoy us. If he did, we would expel him from this branch because we would not allow him to spoil our future chances.”
Reacting, Ebosele described the congress that suspended them as illegal and that the NBA constitution does not recognize the Elders.
Ebosele insisted that Iyomon was removed legally by the NEC.