✕ CLOSE Online Special City News Entrepreneurship Environment Factcheck Everything Woman Home Front Islamic Forum Life Xtra Property Travel & Leisure Viewpoint Vox Pop Women In Business Art and Ideas Bookshelf Labour Law Letters
Click Here To Listen To Trust Radio Live

Client hijack: How dispute overshadowed Call to Bar ceremony

The exchange between the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and the chairman of the Body of Benchers (BoB), Wole Olanipekun (SAN), over an ethical dispute has…

The exchange between the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and the chairman of the Body of Benchers (BoB), Wole Olanipekun (SAN), over an ethical dispute has reared its head again during the recent Call to Bar ceremony.

The call by the NBA and the speech made by Olanipekun at the venue to the effect that the body is not answerable to anyone became the main talking point above the induction of 4,711 new lawyers during the ceremony.

The controversy began when the Olumide Apata-led NBA asked Olanipekun to recuse himself as the chairman of the BoB, a body responsible for the induction of new lawyers, shortly before the end of his tenure.

The matter was rekindled by the association’s new president, Yakubu Maikyau (SAN), ahead of the Call to Bar ceremony, on December 6.

Call to Bar: Why we ignored NBA – Benchers

We’re embarking on artificial insemination for milk, meat improvement

Maikyau’s call was contained in a letter of December 4, in which he said was intended to salvage the image, reputation and integrity of the legal profession in Nigeria following the email soliciting to hijack the brief of Henry Ajumogobia (SAN) with SAIPEM Oil Contracting Ltd with the Rivers State Government by a partner in the chambers of Olanipekun and Co., Adekunbi Ogunde.

On the same day, the Call to Bar ceremony was ongoing, Maikyau issued another statement explaining that the decision of the executive members of the professional association to boycott the ceremony was because of the failure of Olanipekun to recuse himself from the ceremony.

“My present letter is to bring to attention the earlier call by my predecessor and to emphasise the damage being done to the legal profession by reason of our collective silence over such a devastating issue, with the expectation that the chairman will see reason to show remorse and for the BoB to ask the chairman to recuse himself knowing that no one is bigger than the legal profession,” Maikyau said.

Although, the BoB had in a statement on Friday through its secretary, Daniel Tela, said the body could not deal with the NBA president’s letter asking Olanipekun to recuse himself during the body’s meeting on December 5 because the letter arrived at its headquarters late.

It added that most members did not have the letter.

Olanipekun, during the ceremony, spoke extensively on the responsibilities of the association in the nation’s judiciary.

He explained that the Body of Benchers is a creation of statute and an independent body of the legal profession with eminent personalities in the legal profession.

Citing Section 3(1) of the Legal Practitioners Act, which provides that “There shall be a body of legal practitioners of the highest distinction in the legal profession in Nigeria to be known as ‘the Body of Benchers’ which shall be responsible for the formal call to the bar of persons seeking to become legal practitioners,” he said there was need to understand what the misconceptions about what the body represents.

 Reacting to the controversy, the chairman of the NBA, Garki Branch, Abuja, Obioma Ezenwobodo, said the position of Maikyau was in order.

He said, “I stand with Mr President on what he said.”


VERIFIED: It is now possible to live in Nigeria and earn salary in US Dollars with premium domains, you can earn as much as $12,000 (₦18 Million).
Click here to start.