NBA Faults S’Court’s Imposition of Fines on Babalola, Olanipekun

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Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti

The Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Ado Ekiti chapter, has described as a grave error, the imposition of fines on Chief Afe Babalola (SAN) and Wole Olanipekun (SAN), for seeking the review of the judgment that disqualified the All Progressives Congress (APC)’s deputy governorship candidate, Mr. Degi Biobarakuma-Eremionye in the Bayelsa State governorship election.

The branch Chairman , Mr. Olakanmi Falade, said the two eminent legal icons, had not committed any infraction or professional misconduct to warrant such a stringent punitive action from the apex court.

In a statement in Ado Ekiti issued yesterday, Falade said the affected lawyers have contributed more than anyone to the growth of legal profession and should not have been treated with scorn and disdain by the supreme court’s justices.

He said: “As much as the judiciary should be free, the bar too must not be gagged with unwarranted fines. Without an independent bar, there is no independent judiciary and how do we enrich our jurisprudence if lawyers are not free to challenge court decisions, which they perceived to be obviously wrong in contents, laws and facts.

NBA saluted what it called the courage of Babalola and Olanipekun, who have done more than any living lawyers in Nigeria to enrich our jurisprudence by seeking review of that judgment.

“They have been vindicated by the refusal of the Supreme Court to award any cost in the latter case of Imo State. It was a grave error on the part of the Supreme Court and sooner; it realised this gap and reversed itself”.

The NBA boss added: “The way courts are awarding costs against lawyers just because they question their reasoning is a great harm to the ever-moving wheel of justice, it represents act of intimidation”.