Image description: Spotting a pair of glasses, well groomed beard and mustache over an immaculately tailored dark English suit, white shirt with matching red tie and wrist watch, new elected NBA President, Mr Olumide Akpata cuts an imposing figure as he addresses Lawyers from a pink lectern. The Bar President apologizes for the association's failure to adequately provide for the rights of colleagues.

In an unprecedented move to ensure inclusion in the affairs of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), the NBA has apologised to lawyers with disabilities (LWDs) for decades of neglect at the Bar. This followed a courtesy visit by the leadership of the Association of Lawyers with Disabilities in Nigeria (ALDIN) to the office of the newly elected President of the NBA, Mr. Olumide Akpata, on the 23 September 2020.

Mr. Akpata, while addressing the ALDIN’s representatives, acknowledged that, throughout history, the NBA has failed to carry all its members along, especially lawyers with disabilities, who have been forgotten and relegated to the background of NBA affairs.

He tendered an unreserved apology, on behalf of the NBA, to all lawyers living with disabilities for the indignity they have historically suffered in a profession that has before now failed to treat them as equal members of the Bar.

The President went further to restate that he will champion the creation of an NBA Lawyers with Disabilities Forum, whose Chairperson and Secretary shall have statutory slots in the NBA-NEC to provide a strong voice to the interests and plights of Lawyers with disabilities.

The President further reiterated that the NBA will collaborate with the ALDIN to carry out an inaugural disability programme, which will be a first of such many annual programmes that will be dedicated to the issues of lawyers with disabilities at the Bar and persons with disabilities generally.

ALDIN in response asserted that while it awaits real actions in respect of the above propositions, said “perhaps it is very much in order to thank Mr. Akpata for his willingness and courage to have a meaningful conversation on the historic neglect of lawyers with disabilities in Nigeria and to recreate a 21st century NBA – a Bar that works for all”

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