By Christopher Ambe
|Barrister Nkongho Felix Agbor-Balla|
Those who are privy to the CV of Nkongho Felix Agbor-Balla say it would have been a big mistake if his colleagues did not give this tough-talking Cameroonian-born legal wizard the mandate to head Fako Lawyers’ Association (FAKLA) now for a two-year term renewable, at this time that the Common Law Practice in the country seems to be under threat of being wiped-off.
His very rich CV and campaign promises are the magic wand with which he used to fight his way- smoothly- to the supremacy of FAKLA.
A resident of Buea and an ex-student of the prestigious St. Joseph College Sasse Buea and CCAS Kumba,from where he bagged his GCE O & A-levels, with good grades, Agbor Balla, proceeded to the then University of Yaoundé, graduating with an LLB in English Private Law.
He would later attend the Nigerian Law School in Lagos, graduating with a BL Second Class Upper Division with 1st Prize Civil Procedure. Qualifying as a lawyer he enrolled as a Barrister & Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria in 1996.
Agbor-Balla is also a lawyer, solicitor and notary public of the Supreme Court of Cameron and, heads the Agbor Nkongho Law Firm, Biaka Street Upper Bonduma,Buea.
More Academic Qualifications
Barrister Agbor Balla holds an LLM (Cum Laude) in International and European Comparative Law at the University of Brussels and also an LLM (Cum laude) in International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at the University of Notre Dame, USA. He also is holder of a Diploma in Public International Law at Academy of International Law, Hague, Holland and a Diploma on Theory and Practice of Conflict Prevention in Africa, the University of Leipzig, Germany.
Barrister Agbor-Balla worked as a Doctoral Researcher at the Centre for International Law University of Brussels, Associate Legal Officer at the International Criminal Court for Sierra Leone, Legal Adviser Trial Chamber International Criminal Court for Sierra Leone, Human Rights Officer United Nations mission in Afghanistan, Legal Adviser United Nations Police in Congo and Legal Adviser UN Mission in Afghanistan.
He is the Founder and Executive Director of Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Africa (www.chrda.org) .Barrister Agbor-Balla was the first Chairperson of the Southern Cameroons European Coordinating Committee (SCECC) and led a delegation with famous Human Rights Activist Albert Mukong(now late) to the President of the EU Commission to discuss the issues of Southern Cameroons.
Agbor- Balla is the publisher of New Broom Magazine- an extreme Left Magazine that addresses issues affecting Anglophone Cameroonians. He has written extensively on themes such as: The Right of the Southern Cameroonians to Self- Determination under International Law; “An Appraisal of the Special Court for Sierra Leone” Referral of Sudan to the International Criminal Court;“The Law as a Mechanism for Women Discrimination in Sub-Saharan Africa”;“State’s Obligations in Prevention of Gross Violations of Human Rights in Sub- Saharan Africa: The Case of Darfur, Sudan ,” “Implementation of Decisions of the International Court of Justice: The Cameroon/Nigeria Mixed Commission,” “Harmful Traditional Practices affecting Girls and Women in Cameroon” Comparative study of Reparation in the African Charter and the Inter American Charter.
This great legal mind has presented papers and given lectures amongst others on:
“Human Rights Law in Africa,” Brussels School of International Studies, 2003
“The Legal Status of Boundaries in Africa: Rethinking the Nation State in Central Africa.” Boundaries: An African Success Story? Washington D.C., May 2002; Human Rights and the Elderly, Kumba, Cameroon. August 17 2010;International Criminal Justice, Pan African Institute of West Africa, Buea 2013;Human Rights and the Law, University of Buea Law Society, 2014
The Conference Organizer
He has organized numerous conferences such as: “Democracy in Africa, Challenges and Prospects," with Dr. Chris Fomunyoh of National Democratic Institute, a guest speaker, 2010; Corruption and its Implications on Human Rights, Buea, Cameroon, 25 September, 2009 with Prof. Kale as Keynote Speaker and the Political adviser of the US Embassy in Yaounde as panelist;The Role of Diplomacy, Judiciary, Press and Clergy in the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights in Africa, Buea, Cameroon, September 7, 2007 with Dr. Nsoh, Nigerian Consul General as keynote speaker;“Human Rights in the Shadow of China: The Case of Taiwan”, Universities of Chicago & Notre Dame, November 2005
FAKLA - nursery for leaders
It is on record that FAKLA has produced a President of the Bar Council, a president of the General Assembly, members of the Bar Council and members in International organizations and the great halls of international Courts and Tribunals. This association is capable of more national leaders
Now,with his elevation, by way of free and fair election, as President of FAKLA, Barrister Agbor-Balla ,many think ,is a tangible blessing not only to the about 300-member association of legal practitioners in particular but also to Cameroon and the world in the domain of the articulation and promotion of the rule of law and Human Rights.
What makes Barrister Agbor-Balla unique, The Recorder has observed, is the great force with which he articulates his point of view once he’s convinced of what he is saying or about to do.
Legal pundits argue that a good lawyer is not necessarily the one who has a PhD in law or who knows the most law, but one who sufficiently prepares, masters and brilliantly defends his submissions. This is where Barrister Agbor-Balla, comes in. He is, to put it bluntly, a great force to reckon with- national and internationally.
The Recorder learned that, during the election campaign, his sound articulation and mastery of issues as well as his persuasiveness won for him the souls of his colleagues- who then reciprocated by entrusting confidence in him to lead them.
Hear him during his campaign: “The challenges facing the common Law are daunting and since FAKLA has emerged as the guarantor of our bijural and bi-cultural heritage; we need a president who can lead FAKLA to protect and promote that heritage for ourselves, our people, posterity and our common destiny. Your humble servant will make the fight against the erosion of the common law a principal focus of his mandate. I have had high level international meetings to discuss issues that not only affect the common law but that affect Anglophones in general.
“The time has come to bring this experience to FAKLA and as one family we can protect and promote our common destiny. In addition, I will make sure that FAKLA is proactive by standing up against harmonization of the laws in the manner in which it is presently being done. Whilst acknowledging that harmonization is not necessarily bad, harmonization has become a back door attempt to circumvent the constitutional protections afforded the common law. If it must be done, I will lead the fight for FAKLA to be represented in the Committees on Harmonization”
Barrister Agbor Balla, because of his high sense of direction, likes to lead others. Just recently, he almost became the President of FECAFOOT Southwest. During the election, he lost to his challenger Senator Charles Mbella Moki by 6-7 votes.
Due to his love to pass on knowledge and empower others Barrister Agbor Balla, is also a lecturer at the University of Buea, teaching Human Rights and Public Liberties, Criminal Procedure and constitutional law.
This caring father and Christian is a member of: Cameron Bar Association, Nigerian Bar Association, International Bar Association, Hague Academy of International Law, International Criminal Law Network and the American Society of International Law
According to the Bible Book of Proverbs 24:3-4,“Homes are built on the foundation of wisdom and understanding. Where there is knowledge, the rooms are furnished with valuable, beautiful things.”
Barrister Agbor Balla, Bravo !
[ First published in The RECORDER Newspaper,Cameroon,of May 6,2015]
[ First published in The RECORDER Newspaper,Cameroon,of May 6,2015]