Grand national dialogue: Barrister Agbor Balla attacked for picking decentralization

Nkongho Felix aka Agbor Bala is currently facing criticism for his recent stance regarding the ongoing crisis and the national dialogue, with many taking to social media to denounce his action.

This comes after the Human rights lawyer who has been pivotal in the Anglophone crisis appeared to have changed is position from federation to decentalisation. This was during consultation talks with PM Dion Ngute on behalf of th Center for Human Rights and Democrcy in Africa, CHRDA, according to his critics.

One of the most notable responses Agbor Balla has since gotten regarding his stance is that of Ayah Paul Abine who said “Barrister Agbor Balla has disqualified himself as an Anglophone delegate at the farce couched in the euphemism grand national dialogue!”

Citing Agbor Balla’s role since the days of the consortium, Ayah Paul popularly called Pa Ayah noted that he (Balla) had always stood for federation.

“If the very Barrister Agbor Balla equates decentralization to federation today – on the eve of the famous national dialogue – of what good faith is he?” he asked.

“If we agree with him that decentralization and federation were the same then as they are now, why was he arrested for preaching the one? Or could it be that his ‘arrest’ and detention were just staged?” Pa Ayah went on.

Pa Ayah also questioned information released by CHRDA which he cited was in contradiction to some of the views Agbor Balla had expressed including the denial of a genocide in the English speaking regions of the country. This he notes raises the question of who Barrister Agbor Balla is representing.

“This question is most pertinent/relevant because a lawyer is bound by overriding ethics in his fiduciary relationship with the client” said Ayah. Adding that “He [Balla] is impugned and recused”.

The proposed thematic area for dialogue of Agbor Balla’s CHRDA, was centered on the form of state and tracing back to the autonomy the English Speaking Regions Enjoyed under the federal form of government from 1961 to 1972.

Highlighting the role the form of state has played in the crisis, CHRDA “strongly recommended that the form of state be placed on the agenda of deliberations at these talks, and that the views of minority Anglophones on this issue not be overshadowed by the government party or by stakeholders from outside both regions”.

Other issues it raised included adequate translation during the dialogue, fair representation, the need to involve separatists in the talks as well as the setting up of a body to independently investigate atrocities committed in the crisis-hit regions.

The recent attacks targeted at Agbor Balla come just a few hours ahead of the national dialogue which many say may have a significant number of delegates from the ruling party or sympathisers of with the government, making it harder to reach neutral settlements.

Mimi Mefo Info

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