Lawyers’ disciplinary body strictly to regulate conduct, not avenue to settle personal scores, Olanipekun warns
The Chairman of the Body of Benchers (BOB), and senior lawyer ,Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN) has warned that the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee (LPDC) was strictly to regulate members conduct and not a body to settle personal quarrels
He said in Abuja that the forum was not for settling scores with imaginary enemies.
According to him, the LPDC, as an independent agency of the BOB, serves solely as an avenue through which it exercises the power to discipline any erring legal practitioner.
He spoke during the Call to Bar ceremony for 1491 new lawyers, held by the BOB on Wednesday, at its secretariat in Jabi, Abuja.
Olanipekun stressed that the LPDC “is a committee of the Body of Benchers, saddled with the responsibility of disciplining any legal practitioner in Nigeria where his or her conduct amounts to infamous conduct in professional respect in violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct for legal practitioners in Nigeria.
“Over the years, the LPDC, has continued to operate as an independent arbiter, enjoying absolute independence in the course of carrying out its assignment.
“The Body of Benchers does not and will not interfere with any of the proceedings or outcome of such proceedings before the LPDC.
“It is important to point out that the LPDC is not an avenue for dealing with perceived enemies or ventilation of grievances against fellow lawyers on personal issues.
“The decision of the LPDC is known as Direction, and any appeal against the Direction goes directly to the Supreme Court.
He expressed concern about the unethical practice of forum shopping and hinted of plan by the BOB for regulations to address the problem.
“You are no doubt aware of the disturbing trend of Forum Shopping in Nigeria, a very reprehensible conduct introduced to the practice of law recently, whereby litigants and legal practitioners shop for ‘friendly venues and judexes’ to file and litigate otherwise frivolous and questionable causes, purportedly arising out of the jurisdictions where the actions are eventually filed, pursued and prosecuted.
“This ugly practice is permeating the entire Nigerian legal landscape, leading to the churning out, on regular basis, of conflicting orders and decisions of courts of coordinate jurisdictions.
“As a result of this as well, the legal profession is being brought to disrepute and opprobrium, leading to tirades, venoms and uncomplimentary remarks and sentences being passed on the legal profession and some of our Judges.
“Be informed that the Body of Benchers, by virtue of the powers conferred on it by Section 10 (1)(c) of the Legal Practitioners Act has now set up a Regulations Committee, empowered to make Regulations for the decent practice of law in Nigeria.
“The committee has submitted a draft Regulations to the Body of Benchers and the Regulations, when approved, will become binding on all legal practitioners, who will be restricted to initiating and filing causes and matters where the said causes of action arise or as provided by the Rules of the adjudicating courts.
“Just as it is provided under the Matrimonial Causes Rules, lawyers will be required to sign and file certain forms and documents, indicating compliance with the Regulations before filing any originating process at trial courts.
“Any infraction or breach of the Regulations would amount to professional misconduct.
Olanipekun, a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (SAN) stressed the need for lawyers to always uphold the time-tested moral and ethical standards of the legal profession.
“I admonish you all to carefully and soberly go through the provisions of the Rules of Professional Conduct in the legal profession, as the Rules regulate all your conducts, be it as a practicing lawyer in private legal practice or in any of our various Ministries of Justice, or as a solicitor, working in any private establishment, institution, company, organization or body.
“You should not assume that the Rules are meant to regulate and control legal practitioners in what is commonly known as ‘active legal practice’ or the private Bar.
“Adherence to the Rules is also a condition precedent to your success at the Bar and the legal profession.
“ I plead with you, as you join the Bar, to always strive at being an added value to the nobility, honour, dignity and respect of the profession, rather than coming to deplete and discount the established virtues the profession has stood for over the ages,” Olanipekun said.
Earlier, the Director General of the Law School, Professor Isa Hayatu Chiroma revealed that the graduation ceremony had to be shifted from the traditional place of Bwari to the Body of Benchers Complex due to thteats by terrorists and bandits to launch attacks against the famous Law School.
The Director General thanked the Chief of Defense Staff, Chief of Army, Inspector General of Police, Director General of State Service (DSS,) Civil Defense Commandant and Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) for jointly coming to the rescue of the School by providing adequate security and wise security counseling.
He said that the graduands have been found worthy in character and in academic, hence their induction into the Nigerian Bar as fulfilleged lawyers.
ANTI PARTY ACTIVITIES: Esan Central APC, Suspends Nine Leaders, Appoints Bello
Nine Leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Esan Central LGA have been suspended at an extraordinary meeting held this evening at Irrua, the LGA capital.
The suspended leaders include APC State Vice Chairman, Chief Francis Inegbeniki, Esan Central foremost Party Leader, Prince Willy Shaka Momodu, Ward Leader, Hon Abudu Ugbesia, among six others.
The suspended nine APC leaders are alleged to have held a clandestine meeting at a hotel in Eidenu, Irrua on the eve of the House of Assembly election and resolved to work against their party candidate for the House of Assembly election, Hon Victor Edoror. It is alleged that they were induced by the ruling party and their grand conspiracy to disallow Hon Edoror to get into the House and become the Speaker which might scuttle their agenda for Esan governor candidate from Esan Central LGA.
The meeting which was attended enmass by angry members and party executives of the party across the LGA appointed former LGA Councillior, and House of Assembly election aspirant, Hon. Bello Oyaziwolo, as the acting Leader, to oversee the affairs of the party pending the determination of the investigation into the degree of involvement of each of the suspended leader.
Interestingly, the Deputy Leader of the Party in Esan Central LGA and former Vice Chairman of the LGA, Hon Francis Ubene, was exempted from suspension because preliminary investigation revealed that he was in the meeting allegedly called by Chief Inegbeniki, but he refused to agree with their alleged plan to sabotage the election for Hon Edoror because according to him “I have forgiven him and if I have forgiven him, I cannot work against him or the party”.
Speaking with Hon Bello, after the appointment, the new LGA Leader said he was not interested in Leading the party for selfish reasons but would commit himself to helping the party rid itself of betrayals and inept leaders in the LGA and hopefully allow a free process to produce the next LGA Leader.
Delta: Oborevwori’s Victory, A Turning Point, Says Ebireri
Media Consultant, Henry Ebireri, has urged Delta State governor-elect, Rt. Hon Sheriff Oborevwori to embark only on programmes that are genuine, attainable, purposeful, durable and people-oriented.
He also urged him to make a significant impact at improving the lot of the masses.
In a statement in Sapele, the media consultant described the March 18 governorship election in Delta State as ‘’’a turning point, a landmark in the history of the oil rich state’’.
He appealed to Oborevwori to steer Delta State in the needed direction.
‘’There is a very high expectation from the governor-elect by the people. He must direct his energy towards inculcating the spirit of self-reliance among the citizenry through economic and empowerment programmes’’
The media professional listed security, youth and women empowerment, agriculture, health, education, infrastructural development, industrial revolution, cultural and tourism rebirth, communication and sports development as key areas to be addressed by the governor-elect.
The statement underscored the future of Delta youths infrastructure and security challenges.
He urged Oborevwori to be fair to all.
He also urged him to recruit only qualified, competent and meritorious hands to help him develop the oil-rich state.
‘’They should be people of integrity, honesty and trust. The team should comprise only tested, dedicated, loyal, courageous, selfless, focused and visionary men and women’’
Ebireri further commended Governor Ifeanyi Okowa for his immense contribution to the political development of Delta State.
Senator Ovie Omo-Agege Rejects INEC’s Declaration of Oborevwori As Winner of Delta Poll
A while ago, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Delta State announced Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori, gubernatorial flagbearer of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the governor-elect following the March 18 governorship election.
The declaration was made despite the myriad of infractions and acts of impunity on the part of the PDP in the course of the election. These were brought to the attention of INEC with incontrovertible proof.
The March 18 election was characterized by massive fraud, unprecedented vote buying and voter suppression perpetrated by the PDP in the course of the election.
The fraudulent nature of PDP’s so-called victory are just too damning and daring for it to be acceptable in any decent society. Most of those infractions are on the public domain and known to INEC officials and the security agencies involved in superintending the election.
In the February 25 Presidential and National Assembly elections, the results pointed to an unequivocal rejection of the PDP. Of the three senatorial zones in the state, APC won two while PDP controversially edged out the Labour Party in the Delta North Senate race.
It was an unadulterated verdict of Deltans on how they have fared under 24 years of governance of their state by PDP.
On the basis of the factors listed and more that will come later, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, governorship candidate of the APC in Delta State as well as the leadership of the party, unequivocally reject the declaration by INEC of Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori of the PDP as winner of the March 18 governorship election.
We will challenge this fraudulent result using all legal means.
As a democrat and Deputy President of the Senate, Omo-Agege will explore all lawful avenues to reclaim the mandate freely given to him by the good people of Delta State.
To the numerous supporters of APC and the entire public that share in Omo-Agege’s vision of building a new Delta State, we urge you all to remain calm, peaceful and law abiding.
I can assure all our teeming supporters and all Deltans that the PDP pyrrhic celebration of a stolen mandate will be short-lived.
By the grace of God and the clearly expressed wish of the people, this electoral heist will be reversed and Senator Omo-Agege will be sworn in on May 29, 2023 as the lawfully elected Governor of Delta State.
Chief Press Secretary to the Deputy President of the Senate and Governorship Candidate of APC, Delta State, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege
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