Court to Deliver Judgment in Suit over Withdrawal of SAN from Lawyer Tomorrow


By Alex Enumah in Abuja

A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory {FCT) in Bwari, Abuja, will tomorrow deliver judgment in a suit by Mr. Beluolisa Nwofor challenging the withdrawal of his Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) rank by the Legal Practitioners’ Privileges Committee, (LPPC).

Nwofor was on June 23, 2017, stripped of the prestigious SAN rank by the LPPC,  over his alleged involvement in act of judicial misconduct. 

The LPPC in a statement signed by its Secretary, Mr. Ahmed Gambo Saleh, said it took the decision to withdraw the rank from Nwofor at the end of its 126th general meeting of June 22, 2017 in Abuja. 

The committee however, did not give details of the alleged misconduct for which Nwofor was punished.

Consequently, the senior lawyer dragged the LPPC before the court in Abuja over the withdrawal of the prestigious rank. 

At the resumption of proceedings before Justice O. A. Musa, last week, the court heard all pending applications filed by the LPPC as well as written addresses on the issue of jurisdiction, which was raised by the court, and subsequently adjourned the case till November 7 for judgment. 

The court would also determine an application by the respondent (LPPC) to arrest the verdict of the court.

Justice Musa had on October 4, heard the substantive application that was filed by Nwofor for enforcement of his right to fair hearing and adjourned the suit to October 9, for judgment. 

However, on October 5, 2017, the LPPC filed an application seeking to be allowed more time to defend the case and set aside the previous proceedings conducted on October 4.

Consequently, Nwofor opposed the LPPC motion and accused the committee of employing delay tactics in order to stall the matter.

He said: “On October 4, the matter was slated for hearing. The LPPC was served with the substantive application. They have also been served with two hearing notices, but they were not in court.

“The suit was then adjourned till October 9, 2017, for judgment, but the court in the exercise of its power asked counsel to parties to address it on the issue of jurisdiction.

“But on October 9, the respondent came to court and filed a motion seeking to re-start the proceedings. That was the day the court had fixed for judgment. So, that action was to arrest the judgment. So, that was an attempt to arrest the judgment,” Nwofor said.

When the suit came up before Justice Musa, counsel to the respondent (LPPC), Chief Ogwu Onoja (SAN), argued that the application was not for arrest of judgment even though it was filed after the substantive case had been heard and adjourned for judgment.