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We will serve society with integrity, new SANs pledge

Published by The Nation on Tue, 12 Jan 2021

The Legal Practitioners Privileges Committee admitted a record 72 lawyers into the inner bar at its 143rd plenary session last November 13. During an induction course recently organised by the Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (BOSAN), the new Silks pledged to wear the rank with dignity and serve the ends of justice with integrity, writes Legal Editor JOHN AUSTIN UNACHUKWU.The 72 lawyers newly conferred with the rank of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN) have expressed gratitude to the Legal Practitioners Privileges Committee (LPPC) for the honour.The latest members of the inner bar who made the list this year also thanked the Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (BOSAN) for the warm reception to their new status.They included Terkura Pepe; Aliyu Saiki; Jacob Ochidi; Abdulwahab Mohammed; Moses Ebute; Taiye Oladipo; Mumuni Jimoh; Muhammadu Ndanusa; Mohammed Ndaran; Gideon Kuttu; Abdullahi Yahaya;Tijanni Gazali; Mella Nunghe; Yusuf Akirikwen; Yakubu Hussaini-Ruba; Nasiru Aliyu; Abdul Mohammed; Hussaini Zakariyau; Uwadiogbu Ajala; Ukachi Onuobia; Joseph Mbadugha.They also include Chukwudi Obieze; Afam Osigwe; Ejike Ezenwa; Chukwuka Ikwuazom; Lotanna Okoli; Tochukwu Maduka; Chukwuemeka Nwagu; Henry Akunebu; Uwemedimo Nwoko; Boma. Alabi(Mrs); Efefiom Ekong; Lawrence Anga; Robert Emukpoeruo; Peter Mrakpor; Richard Ahonaruogho; Jean r Anishere (Ms); Uzoma Azikiwe; Osayaba Giwa; Yusuf Kadiri; Babalola Olatunde; Taiwo Kupolati; Obafemi Adewale; Adedapo Tunde-Olowu; Fatai-Ajibola Dalley.Others are Babatunde Ogala; Bashorun Ajoke Ms; Olumide Folarin-David Ayeni; Olusegun Fabunmi; John Majiyagbe; Funmilayo Quadri; Akinola Akintoye; Dada Awosika; Remi Olatubora; Festus Idepefo; Rasheed Adegoke; Musibau Adetunbi; Mahmud Adesina; Isiaka Olagunju; Oladapo Akinosun; Nureini Jimoh; Oluseun Abimbola.Those conferred SAN from the academics included Prof Afeisimi Badaiki; Prof Bolaji Owasanoye; Prof Erugo Sampson; Prof Oyewo Oyelowo; Prof Sani Adam; Prof Zacheus Adangor; Prof Festus Emiri; Prof Joseph Abugu; Prof Damilola Olawuyi and Dr Omoh-Eboh Omgbai Ikheowa.In a speech he read on their behalf during their induction ceremony, a Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Board of Trustees member, Mr. Obafemi Adewale, described the feat as their year of fulfilment.Adewale said: For us gathered in this hallowed chambers, for families, friends, colleagues and associates, but more particularly for the 72 of us being sworn in as Senior Advocates of Nigeria, 2020 is our year of fulfilment, our year of attainment, our year of elevation, our year of joy. For this, we give all honour, glory and adoration to God Almighty, the only One who could have made it possible.He noted that as SANs, they would more than ever before, be called upon to play leadership roles, both at the Bar and in the society at large.He said: a few days ago, my colleagues and I were gathered at an induction course organised by the Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (BOSAN).There, we were reminded of the enormous duties and responsibilities that come with the privilege of taking Silk.I intend to explore areas where the law needs to be strengthened or amended bearing in mind current realities. I also intend to make research easier for the coming generations using technology.Adewale on behalf of his colleagues thank BOSAN for such an important initiative, which we were informed was at the instance of M Lord the CJN. We assure M Lords, BOSAN and the general public that we have taken the lessons to heart.We pledge and undertake to always conduct ourselves in and outside the courtrooms in a manner compatible with our new status. We assure you that we shall continue to be exemplary role models to our other colleagues and good ambassadors of our noble profession wherever we find ourselves.We shall continue to maintain the highest standards professionally and otherwise. We shall wear the rank with dignity, and with humility. We shall remain industrious, and continue to serve with integrity. We shall be respectful to the Bench and courteous towards our colleagues. We shall remain loyal, active and committed members of the Nigerian Bar Association.They appreciated the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justices of the Supreme Court and the LPPC for taking the bold step of conferring the rank of SAN on an unprecedented number of lawyers in this remarkable year. This number, 72, is more than the 48 who were honoured with the rank in the first 10 years of its existence. We must however, respectfully, urge M Lords and the LPPC to please go a step further, Adewale statedThe new Silks celebrated the rank with their family members, friends and well-wishers.Their joy was no surprise, given the great challenges and hurdles which applicants to the rank passed through in the process of selection and the fact that some had applied for the rank for upward of five times.In compliance with LPPC rules, they declined interviews with the media, but on personal interaction, one heard statements such as: Indeed I consider myself privileged to have been considered deserving of being elevated to the Inner Bar. Over 200 of us applied, about 137 applicants shortlisted and it pleased God to list me in the final count. What more can I say than to thank God and appreciate the LPPC for considering me worthy of the rank.On how they intended to deploy the rank in the service of the nation, one of them said: It is a leadership role and believe all lawyers are luminaires.i.e. meant to show the light. The SAN is under an even greater obligation to illuminate the path of constitutionality to the society.My commitment is to the protection of our constitutional liberties and a vigorous defence of the rule of law. I believe in our nation Nigeria and that the sun will shine bright again.It would, however, take our courageous defence of the rule of law as lawyers to rebuild a number of our institutions that have turned our constitutional liberties upside down. Justice is a two way street for all travellers on it.The authority of a uniformed officer of the law for example, must respect and uphold the fundamental rights of the citizen. That you wear a uniform or carry arms legally does not make you a super citizen. You are a public servant and must wear that uniform with integrity and a high sense of responsibility to protect and defend the constitution, not abuse it.Similarly the exercise of fundamental rights by a citizen should not infringe on another persons constitutional rights either. Nigerians must begin to respect the law and respect one another, and this must start with those elected or appointed to hold office and percolate to all citizens. No citizen is above another whether elected or appointed. We are all subject to the same constitution.When we all begin to walk this line, our society will evolve into a nation where peace and justice reigns.The Silk observed that it is a great joy for any legal practitioner particularly an advocate to attain the zenith of the legal profession, adding, I give glory to Almighty Allah and all members of Legal Practitioners Privileges Committee for finding worthy to be conferred with the prestigious rank.I feel elated at my elevation to the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria. It is the fulfilment of a lifetime dream. I am a firm believer in excellence, positive thinking and human progress. Service to humanity has been the hallmark of my legal practice.
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