Conflicting Court Orders: NBA Refers SAN, Six Lawyers to Disciplinary Committee

•Commences summit on Justice sector

Alex Enumah

The President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr. Olumide Akpata, yesterday disclosed that the umbrella body for practicing lawyers in the country has referred seven lawyers including a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), to the body’s Disciplinary Committee for necessary action over their alleged complicity in court’s issuance of conflicting orders last year.

The National Judicial Council (NJC) last year placed a promotion ban on three judges of High Courts of coordinate jurisdiction for engaging in the act, many, including the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Muhammad believed was capable of derailing the 2023 general elections as well as truncating democracy.

The fate of the affected legal practitioners whose names were however not disclosed, would anytime from now be decided by the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee (LPDC).

The LPDC is the statutory body put in place to take disciplinary action against lawyers accused of professional misconduct.

Speaking at a media briefing in Abuja, on the NBA’s 2022 Justice Sector Summit, Akpata said the seven lawyers were found culpable by its Investigate committee.

“Some lawyers have been identified to have played roles in conflicting decisions that emanated from different courts recently. They are seven in number, including a Senior Advocate of Nigeria.

“We are in the process of filing a petition against them before the LPDC. This is based on our determination to ensure that the system is protected, irrespective of those involved,” the NBA President said.

Speaking on the summit, Akpata said attention would be on how to reform the process of appointing persons as judges since the present one is already flawed.

He stated that the NBA as a body believes that, “there is something not right about the way we appoint judges,” as the process is not rigorous or robust enough.

He said, “We cannot expect such process to be beneficial to the Judiciary. We have sent our recommendation to the NJC regarding how we think that the process should be structured to become better and more efficient.

“The process needs to be standardised. While some states subject candidates to examinations, others don’t. We have passed the era when someone will sit down in the comfort of his chamber and decide who should be appointed as a judge.”

Akpata stressed that there must be a clearly defined process of selecting those that should be appointed as judges.

He disclosed that the Justice Sector Summit 2022, which has as its theme: “Devising Practical Solutions Towards Improved Performance, Enhanced Accountability,” was being organised by the NBA and the Justice Research Institute (JRI) in collaboration with The Konrad Adenauer Foundation, The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, and the Justice Reform Project (JRP).

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