Senior lawyers in the country have called for urgent reform of the legal profession through the collaboration of stakeholders.
The lawyers expressed the view in Abuja at a dinner in honour of Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Wole Olanipekun, and Justice Mary Odili, who were elected as chairman and vice-chairman of the Body of Benchers (BOB).
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The senior lawyers, who were joined by a retired justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Bode Rhodes Vivour, took turns to express their concerns over the state of the legal profession in the country.
In his acceptance speech, Olanipekun, who is the 50th chairman of the BOB, insisted that the body must rejig, redefine and reorient the legal profession to restore its cherished nobility and glory.
“We must not lose sight of the unpleasant happenings around us, whether from the bar and bench,” he said.
“Succinctly surmised, our profession is under aggression and attack, both from within and without; these are not the best of times for the legal profession in Nigeria.
“Therefore, it is the bounden duty of the congregation of these great men and women of distinction, constituting the Body of Benchers, to work for the greatness and renaissance of our esteemed profession. In doing so as well, we may have to crack some glass ceilings,” he said.
Also speaking, a former Solicitor General of the Federation, Tayo Akpata (SAN), called for enhanced independence for the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee (LPDC), an organ of the BOB that is responsible for dealing with petitions and complaints against lawyers.
Also, Justice Rhodes-Vivour, who is the immediate past chairman of the BOB, noted the need for better wages for young lawyers as part of the reform.