By Innocent Anaba
The Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, is to share 10,000 to each of the 10,126 eligible young lawyers in the country as palliatives.
It added that the association’s Welfare Committee raised the sum of N92.884million for its Covid-19 Pandemic Relief Fund as at August 4, 2020, when the committee submitted its report.
NBA President, Paul Usoro, SAN, in a statement on Thursday, said “Further to my update report of May 31, 2020, I am pleased to inform our members that the NBA Welfare Committee submitted its COVID-19 Pandemic Relief Fund Report on August 4, 2020. The committee raised a total sum of N92.884million and has recommended in its report that this amount, given the inelastic size of our wallet, be shared only to all Young Lawyers of 1-4 years post-Call who had paid their Bar Practicing Fee as at 31 March 2020. That recommendation is acceptable to the NBA, given the limitation of our purse, and it works out to N9,172.87 to each of the 10,126 eligible young lawyers.
“The NBA has, however, decided to gross-up the relief amount to each beneficiary to N10,000 by contributing N8.375million to the Relief Fund. Apart from grossing up the relief amounts, the NBA has agreed with the Committee to take responsibility for the bank charges that would accrue pursuant to the transfers, estimated at N525,000, thus bringing the NBA contribution to N8.9million.
“With the NBA contribution, the total donation to the COVID-19 Pandemic Relief Fund now stands at N101.793million.
“We recognise that it may have been the expectation of all the Young Lawyers who had paid their Bar Practicing Fees, including in particular, the 5-7 years post call young lawyers, to benefit from the COVID-19 Relief Fund but then we are all constrained by the limited funds that are available for distribution.
“In view of that limitation, we felt that the younger ones should perhaps constitute the primary focus for the distribution of the relief funds more so as the NBA had very recently and as a separate and independent COVID-19 palliative afforded all eligible Young Lawyers one-year LawPavilion subscription, with no discrimination howsoever or at all. That notwithstanding, it is my expectation that, in line with our traditional values, the 5-7 years post-call young lawyers will lead the way in showing gratitude and appreciation to our donors for the cash palliative support to their younger colleagues.
“The names of all eligible beneficiaries will be published at the NBA website simultaneous with the publication of this release. The beneficiaries will be required to fill and submit a form at the website, specifying details of their bank accounts. In the event that any beneficiary has a complaint or requires assistance, please contact the NBA by email.
“If you are an eligible beneficiary and your name is not in the list of beneficiaries that would be published at the NBA website, please send your details together with proof of payment of your 2020 Bar Practicing Fees as at March 31, 2020, to the NBA. You may also contact the YLF Chairman, Mr Tobi Adebowale or any of the YLF Council members for support and assistance.
“It remains for me to, once again, express the NBA’s profound appreciation to the Welfare Committee, ably led by Dr Olawale Babalakin, SAN, for their selflessness in carrying out this task on our collective behalf. We note and commend in particular the enormous amount of man hours which they committed to this assignment coupled with the dedication, perseverance, grit and commitment with which they approached this assignment.
“The donors of the fund, mostly senior lawyers, deserve no less mention, appreciation and gratitude from all of us. Their names and their donations which are all written in gold are published with this Release.
“Noteworthy is the fact that, unlike previous NBA fund-raising events, the donations this time were all in cash with no pledges whatsoever. The instantaneous and generous response of the senior lawyers to the NBA appeal signified the oneness which the Bar represents and must always extol. It behooves all of us to uphold that oneness of the Bar and accord due respect to our senior colleagues inter alia for the significant and indispensable roles they play in our profession,” he added.
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