BARRING any last minute hitches, the umbrella body of legal practitioners – Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) will finally have a befitting home for its national secretariat in Abuja by the end of next month, as indications emerged that the association’s stronger appetite for property acquisition and development is meant to shore up revenue base.
The NBA Abuja House is located in the Area of Abuja Central Business District (CBD), a 12 storey edifice complete with state of the art facilities, including an underground parking lot with a capacity for 200 cars, restaurants, a 1000 sitting capacity amphitheatre and ample rentable office space.
The project, which was kick started by the immediate past administration, has been adopted by the current regime, which has also inaugurated the NBA Property Development/Building Committee led by the former President Okey Wali, with a mandate to deliver the project within two years.
It would be recalled that the association recently has completed its Lagos NBA House located along Ozumba Mbadiwe Street, Victoria Island, Lagos; which was packaged under Built, Operate and Transfer (BOT) arrangement with Stabilini Visioni, one of the Bi-Courteny Group chaired by Dr. Wale Babalakin.
Essentially, NBA House Abuja comes as an open floor design and tenants have options to redesign or partition the space. Of the 12 floors, NBA will occupy three; the 12th floor being the President floor, General Secretary will occupy the 11th floor and the various sections and fora of the association will take the 10th floor. The remaining nine floors will be open for rent by the general public.
At the inauguration of the re- constituted NBA Property Development /Building Committee two years ago in Abuja, NBA President Augustine Alegeh recalled what he said during his inauguration as NBA President in Owerri, Imo State that, “ I consider this Project to be of monumental importance to the NBA and it would be unwise to leave the project the project unsupervised.”
He added, “ the NBA being the foremost professional body in Nigeria with a membership base of over 120,000 (One Hundred and Twenty thousand) lawyers and 109 branches, deserves a magnificent edifice as its National Secretariat. I therefore wish to use this medium to solicit the support of all our members including those in private, public and corporate practice. This project is for the advancement of the entire Bar and we want to assure them that monies donated for the execution of this project shall be prudently spent and accounted.”
“We recognize the poor maintenance culture in this part of the world, so as soon as we are ready to commission, we will call for competitive bidding for a facility manager. The facility managers will be totally in charge of cleaning, security, light, water, the lift and every other thing. The trend all over the world now is to give this kind of facility to just one manager who coordinates the entire building and that is what to do. When it comes to rent, we may need an estate agent. If we find it unnecessary, we will get one from NBA in-house. You know these days; payment is essentially by bank transfer, so there won’t be the problem of any tenant making away with our money.
“As for the present property in Abuja that we use as the National Secretariat, we have already secured the approval of the National Executive Committee to sell it off and use the money to defray some of the cost of finishing this building. We have received tremendous support from lawyers and we have a finance committee, which is chaired by Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, the Executive Governor of Sokoto State. Lawyers have been faithful by paying their practicing fees.
“Now, all the money that has been spent on this project so far has been from within the association. We have not borrowed one kobo from anybody or any bank. But we have a commitment from Rivers State, which offered to have a floor named after Rivers.