Legal Nigeria

Joyce Oduah, FICMC’s Agenda on Advancing the Welfare of Lawyers

My Distinguished Colleagues

As you will recall, a couple of weeks ago, I shared with you by mail, my manifesto, which encapsulates my well-thought-out plan for our dear Association. One of my plans as you will find in the manifesto is to advance the welfare of all lawyers through effective management of the NBA National Secretariat. I believe advancing the welfare of lawyers should be taken very seriously by the NBA at the National level. Section 3(13) of the 2015 NBA Constitution as amended, unambiguously enjoins us to establish schemes for the promotion of the welfare, security and economic advancement of members of the legal profession.

It is however worrisome that recent happenings and economic hardships have taken their toll on some of our members especially the young lawyers, some of whom are not gainfully employed. I believe it is imperative, urgent and critical that the NBA increases its effort in the area of advancing the welfare of lawyers. Therefore, when I am elected the General Secretary of the NBA, I will advocate for and ensure the following:

a. Creation of multiple jobs for lawyers: I will ensure that the NBA National Secretariat headed by the NBA President will engage relevant officers within government and private organizations to identify those roles for which lawyers are best suited, thus, creating jobs for lawyers.

b. Protection of Jobs for Nigerian Lawyers: While creating jobs for our members, we would also protect the existing jobs for them. I would work with the NBA President to ensure that we checkmate the infiltration of quacks and foreign lawyers into the Nigerian legal practice.

c. Creation of NBA Welfare Foundation: I will work with the NBA President, National Welfare Officer and other relevant stakeholders to establish the NBA Welfare Foundation. This foundation will work with the NBA Welfare Committee to cater for the needs of indigent, aged and physically challenged lawyers. Factually, I am currently the President of Fountain of Life for the Needy Foundation, which is a non-governmental, non-profit and charity organization aimed at providing for the needs of indigent women, children and youths in the society. I will bring my 12 years’ experience in managing a foundation to bear in creating and managing the NBA Welfare Foundation.

d. Establishment of Housing Scheme for lawyers: I will work with the NBA President, National Welfare Officer and other relevant stakeholders to establish Housing Scheme for lawyers. This will be achieved by liaising with key stakeholders (private and public) in the housing sector to provide affordable housing for lawyers. The NBA will provide the necessary support and guarantee for members to access mortgage facilities. Also, we will partner with the Federal Mortgage Bank to enable our members access and benefit from the National Housing Funds.

e. Establishment of Health Insurance Scheme for Lawyers: I will work with the NBA President, Welfare Officer and other relevant stakeholders to establish health insurance scheme for lawyers as is obtainable in other jurisdictions. We will achieve this by partnering with the relevant stakeholders in the insurance and health sectors. We will also create workable and affordable plans where lawyers can access healthcare anywhere in the country at minimal costs.

f. Mentorship Scheme for Young Lawyers: In addition to encouraging law firms to have a good welfare package for young lawyers, the NBA National Secretariat will encourage capacity building for young lawyers and will launch a mentorship programme which will empower our young lawyers by matching them with experienced lawyers in their area of practice.

g. Equal Opportunity for Aged Persons and Persons Living with Disability: These are special members of our Association and I believe the NBA owe them the duty of making law practice seamless for them. We must provide equal opportunity, vocational training and employment for them. When elected as the General Secretary, I will work with the NBA President to create a better working environment for them. We would advocate against discrimination at the workplace on grounds age and/or physical disability. We would also work with Heads of Courts to procure and install facilities in court rooms that will help lawyers living with disability to function effectively.

h. Car Loans for Lawyers: I will work with the NBA President and financial institutions for members to access car loans with flexible repayment options. I began this project during my tenure as National Treasurer of the NBA and so I have a deep desire to see it completed.

Do have a great week and stay safe.

Joyce Oduah, FICMC
Candidate for the Office of NBA General Secretary