NBA’s NEC absolves lawyers of blame in Code of Conduct Tribunal walk-out
The two lawyers, who are the defence team of the senate president, Bukola Saraki and led by Abubakar Magaji allegedly walk out of the Tribunal following its refusal to grant their stay of proceedings application pending the determination of an appeal filed at the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
NEC’s decision is contained in a communique issued at the end of its meeting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State at the weekend. NEC said it observed that pursuant to NBA’s objective of the maintenance and defence of the integrity and independence of the Bar and the Bench in Nigeria, it requested both counsel to submit a written report to the NBA so as to ascertain what transpired at the Tribunal.
It noted that consequent upon the receipt of their reports as well as review of various independent accounts of what transpired before the Tribunal, the NBA discovered that the lawyers were not culpable and did not walk out of the Tribunal as widely reported by the Press.
“NEC is satisfied that in line with the procedure of the Bar and professional etiquette, the two Senior Advocates of Nigeria sought and obtained leave of the Tribunal to withdraw their legal representation for their client in the matter.
“NEC however resolved that the Tribunal was not exposed to ridicule by the withdrawal of the Senior Advocates of Nigeria as the Prosecution Counsel was in Court with his retinue of Juniors and other lawyers and the Court did not have to bow to an empty Bar”, it said.
It also considered several issues of urgent national importance among which are the alarming rate of acts of professional misconduct by lawyers, the state of the Nigerian economy in the as well as the state of Federal roads in the country.
NEC condemned the actions of litigants and lawyers who disparage judges and or their judgments because they lost their cases and noted that these persons praise the same Judges and Courts when they win but fail to see anything good in the Judges and/or their judgments when such judgments and rulings are not in their favour.
NEC further noted that where a person has a proper ground for complaint against a judicial officer, the proper thing to do is to forward such compliant to the National Judicial Council (NJC).
“That the NBA must continue to ensure that lawyers who are involved in such conduct are investigated and prosecuted for professional misconduct. NEC maintained that lawyers must always treat the Courts with respect, dignity and honour”, it said, adding that it observed unwholesome practice by some lawyers arguing matters which are subjudice in the media.
NEC also resolved that henceforth any lawyer who engages in such practice will be made to face disciplinary proceedings before the Legal Practitioners’ Disciplinary Committee (LPDC).
Among other issues resolved includes: the importance of continuing legal education to help Nigerian lawyers understand emerging areas of practice so as to be able to compete with international best practices and to address the challenges thrown up by new legislation and law reforms among others.