Alex Enumah in Abuja
The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Mohammad, on Tuesday, frowned upon lawyers who are in the habit of talking to journalists on cases pending at the courts, stressing that such actions are unethical and unprofessional.
Justice Muhammad said the legal profession is a noble profession that demands high level of integrity and honesty from practitioners, adding that cases should not be all about winning but about justice.
The CJN spoke at the call to Bar ceremony of 4,456 law graduates of the Nigerian Law School, which held at the headquarters of the Nigerian Law School in Abuja.
“Sadly we are beginning to see a new trend in the legal profession where lawyers on so many occasions address press conferences over matters pending in courts and in some instances claiming victory for their clients on matters the judge is yet to rule.
“More worrisome is that some lawyers address the media while being fully robed. These conducts are considered unethical and unprofessional. I call on the Nigeria Bar Association to take necessary action,” the CJN said.
According to Muhammad, lawyers should at all times speak the truth to their clients and not playing to the gallery.
While urging the new wigs not to forget what the calling of the legal profession is all about, the CJN emphasised that: “It is not about winning or telling a client what he or she wants to hear. It is about ensuring that justice is done to all manners of person(s).”
Muhammad added that the legal profession is known for its sanctity, integrity, honesty, objectivity, justice and the rule of law and charged them to exhibit the highest level of professional ethics and decorum.
“You must be steadfast and preserve the honour and dignity of the legal profession. I urge you to be courageous and be bold enough to thread on new grounds,” Justice Muhammad said.
He however enjoined lawyers to once in a while render free legal services to people who cannot afford it.
“At some point as a lawyer, you may be confronted by people who need legal services, but cannot afford it, try in anyway possible to provide legal assistance to such persons.
“Our noble profession must not be one where costs can make redress meaningless,” Muhammad added.
In his remark, the Director General of the Law School, Prof. Isah Hayatu Chiroma (SAN), said out of the number of candidates called to the Nigerian Bar, 147 candidates came out with first class.
Chiroma said while 741 candidates graduated with second class upper, 2,247 came out with second class lower, and 1,321 with a pass.
He said that the Nigerian Law School will remain the gate keeper of the legal profession and will continue in upholding the standard and integrity of the Bar.
The DG stated that the Nigerian Law School, which has been in existence for about 56 years, has had uninterrupted session as there has never been any incident of a closure of the Institution on account of student unrests, strike by staff or for any other reason.
Chiroma disclosed also that the school has contributed to the training of the legal man-power for some African countries and enjoined the, “New wigs” to adhere strictly to the norms and ethics of the legal profession.