Lawyer Drags NBA to Court, Seeks N10million Damages

A legal practitioner, Mr. Bartholomew Okafor—Oyilo has asked an Abuja High Court to set aside a finding of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) recommending him for disciplinary action based on a legal opinion he rendered as Special Assistant to the Deputy-Governor of Anambra State on Legal Matters.

In a writ of summon against the NBA and  the Secretary of the NBA’s Disciplinary Committee, Emeka Onyeaka, the lawyer said he was not given a fair hearing before the association made a finding against him.

In an affidavit he deposed to,  he said he wrote a legal opinion to the then Deputy Governor of Anambra State , who also was the Chairman of the state’s boundary committee, on a land dispute between Ukpo and Abba Community in Anambra State.

He claimed the legal opinion was leaked to one of the parties in the land dispute, (the applicant for boundary demarcation).

He said: “On 24th June, 2019, the applicants for the Boundary demarcation through their solicitors, wrote to me to recount my legal opinion with veiled threat against my person.

“Owing to my refusal to recount the said Legal opinion, the said party through their Legal representative, on 6th August, 2019 filed petition to the NBA’ Headquarters against me and two other lawyers alleging amongst others that we filed a Motion to re-litigate a matter already concluded by the Supreme Court.”

He said the NBA asked him to respond to the petition and that he filed his response. The lawyer  explained that  he did not receive any invitation from the association to enable him attend any hearing against him, only for him to read in newspapers that he had been invited to face the NBA’s Disciplinary Panel.

He is therefore,  asking the court to declare that the defendants’ finding and recommendation is ultra vires, illegal, null and void and of no effect.

He also sought a declaration that he was entitled to own an opinion on a decision of the Supreme Court and such opinion is protected under Section 39(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended)

He asked the court to hold that he was denied fair hearing by the constitution of the committee and non-service of the notice of hearing of the committee.

While asking the court to set aside the finding and recommendation of the NBA, he also asked the court to award damages of N10,000,000 against the defendants.

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