CJN Asks Lawyers to Desist from Addressing Journalists on Court Proceedings

The Acting CJN, Hon Justice Ibrahim Tanko Mohammed

Inaugurates 4, 456 new lawyers

Alex Enumah in Abuja

The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Mohammad yesterday frowned at lawyers who are in the habit of talking to journalists on cases pending at the courts, stressing that such actions are unethical and unprofessional as lawyers.

Justice Muhammad said the legal professional 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 (NBA) 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 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 any way 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, 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.

Chiroma assured that the Nigerian Law School will remain the gatekeeper 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 is about 56 years of existence has had uninterrupted session as there has never been any incident of closure of the institution on account of student unrests, strike action by staff or for any other reason.

Chiroma disclosed also that the Nigerian Law School had 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.