The Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, has made clarification regarding the legality of the online payment of the Bar Practicing Fees, mode of payment of NBA stamp and seal, issuance of free stamps and payment of Branch Dues amongst others.
The NBA, in a statement made available to The Lawyer signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Dr. Rapulu Nduka, explained that “All BPF payments made through the Online Portal are, in line with the extant laws, paid directly to an already existing Supreme Court Bar Practicing Fee Account. The NBA, through the Online Payment Portal, only provides a gateway or platform for a seamless payment experience to enable its members to easily fulfill their statutory obligations.”
In respect of Receipt of Payment, the NBA said, “addition to the Paystack evidence of payment issued after payment of the BPF, all members who pay their BPF will receive a proper receipt in their emails/membership portal with details of their payment and other personal particulars. Currently, those receipts are not being sent automatically due to a technical glitch that is being resolved.”
Some Senior Advocates of Nigeria had issues paying their BPF as the portal shows N25k instead of N50k. Consequently, the NBA says, “The Online Portal now has a specific link for payment by SANs/Benchers. Going forward, learned Senior Advocates of Nigeria and Benchers are required to pay using that link only. SANs and Benchers who already paid only N25,000 as their BPF (due to a system error that has now been resolved) will be contacted shortly on how to pay the proper amount.”
The NBA also made clarification regarding payment of Branch Dues. Nduka explained that “Payment or collection of Branch Dues is entirely within the control of each Branch of the NBA, and payment of the BPF online does not relieve a member of his or her obligation to pay Branch Dues. While discussions will be held with the Branches to consider migrating to an online payment process in order to ease the process for their members, the existing mode for payment of Branch Dues at each branch (including bank deposits) subsists.”
As regards the policy of issuing 2 packs of free stamps to members who pay their BPF and Branch Dues as and when due, the NBA said the policy is still subsisting. According to Nduka, “All other welfare benefits such as life insurance, accident expense cover, critical ailment insurance, permanent disability cover, etc promised by the leadership of the NBA for all financial members are also still in existence.”
However, there’s no online platform yet for members who wish to pay for additional stamps and seal (after the free ones are issued). But Nduka assured that in the meantime the leadership of the NBA is also working to make provision for it. Therefore, the Association advised that for the time being, members are should rely on the existing manual payment system for additional stamps.
Lastly, the NBA provided details of those to be contacted for complaints. It reads, “As we are all aware, the updated online payment system has only just been launched and it has so far functioned optimally. However, as is typical with new processes and systems, we expect that there may be some challenges and teething problems. If you encounter any challenges with the payment system, we crave your understanding and kindly request that you contact any member of our BPF Payment Helpdesk and they will be happy to assist you.
“If you need any help with the payment process, please contact our Helpdesk as follows:
1. Ezekiel David – 07037000903
2. Wole Efuwape – 08035479443
3. Adewale Adebayo – 08033803724
4. Sime David-West – 08126306930
5. Glory Lawrence – 08036792832
6. Felix Mutua – 07034940105”