- I am pleased to be part of the opening ceremony of this auspicious event being the 62ndAnnual General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association today.
- May I congratulate the President and executive members of the NBA, as well as all the stakeholders and Sectional leaders for their giant strides in the past two (2) years of their administration. I equally commend the conference planning committee for putting together this world class event with the array of Speakers, Panelists, Moderators, Coordinators and Discussants of the various topics, programmes and sessions of this conference.
- I am particularly elated by the fact that this conference brings together all the stakeholders in our noble profession to share experience on the challenges and issues affecting our Profession and the society at large in order to chart a cause that will benefit and reshape the Profession and the society.
- Your Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen, permit me to state that the theme of this year’s conference “BOLD TRANSITION”is apt in all ramifications. In this conference, the Association is having internal transition of the leadership. This was captured in Paragraph 5 of the concept note of the Technical Committee for Conference Planning (TCCP)“that this 62nd AGC will herald a transition of administration as NBA will be handing over to a new set of National officers …” I therefore congratulate both the outgoing Executive led by Mr. Olumide Akpata and the incoming executive by Mr. Yakubu. C Maikyau SAN. As the new executive is sworn in on Friday, 26th August, 2022, I wish them well as they pilot the affairs of our Association in the next two (2) years and urge them to prioritize the collective welfare of the Association as well as that of the individual members, continuing legal education by ensuring professionalism and most importantly, Access to justice by the society at large.
- At the Federal Ministry of Health, our overall responsibility is the development of Policies, strategies and Plans that provide direction for the national health care delivery system. We are fully committed in improving the health indices of Nigerians. Therefore, the conference theme “BOLD TRANSITIONS” in all honesty resonates well with us as a government and more particularly at the Ministry considering Mr. President’s new health policy of “UNIVERSAL HEALTH COVERAGE” (UHC) as presented by the “BOLD TRANSITION” of the recently accented “National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) Act”2022by Mr president of the Federal Republic Of Nigeria – President Muhammadu Buhari.
- The Act establishes and empowers the NHIA to ensure provision of health insurance for all Nigerians through a mandatory mechanism, in collaboration with state health insurance agencies. By this development, efforts to tackle high incidence of poverty caused by out-of-pocket expenses for health care, through health insurance for all categories of Nigerians by 2030 is now more realisable than ever before.
- Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, permit me to specifically draw our attention to Sections 13 (7 & 8) of the Act, which provides the Basic Health Care Provision Fund and the establishment of vulnerable group fund for the vulnerable persons in our society as well as Section 14 (2) a – c of the Act which opens the gate for all Employers and Employees of both Public and Private Sectors with Five (5) Staff and above; The Informal Sector employees and All other residents of Nigeria.
- May I pause to COMMEND the leadership of the NBA for taking advantage of the opportunities and benefits of the Health Insurance Schemes already signed on and being implemented by the NBA under the NBA-NHIS SCHEME (PROJECT WELLBEING). However, I urge the association’s individual members, families, law firms and other corporate legal organizations at all levels to also take advantage of the new vistas opened by the new Act, so everyone can be covered in line with provisions of the act and this administration’s desire for UNIVERSAL HEALTH COVERAGE.
- In conclusion, I wish us all a fruitful deliberation and recommendations and/or resolutions that will propel the BOLD TRANSITION that will reposition our Profession and society in the global community as we progress in the various sessions of this conference.
- Thank you for listening.
Ekumankama, Joseph N. Esq.
Honourable Minister of State for Health
Federal Republic of Nigeria.
August 22, 2022