NBA in Focus: Agenda For The New Exco (3) -By Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, SAN
Issues are steadily settling down for the brand new Govt Council of the Nigerian Bar Affiliation, save for some hiccups right here and there. It’s gratifying that the President and his workforce appear to have hit the bottom operating. They had been concerned within the rescue of the Kano singer sentenced to demise, the discharge of Uyi Obayagbona, Esq and quite a lot of different actions which have indicated some willingness to behave. The assembly with NBA leaders from the North has additionally helped to douse the strain generated from the dis-invitation of the Governor of Kaduna State from the NBA Convention. Maybe the one space that the President must work on urgently is the pointless dichotomy created between senior and younger attorneys, from the campaigns. Will probably be within the curiosity of the Bar usually, for the President to take this up in step with his promise throughout his inaugural deal with, to be a bridge builder. Now allow us to transfer to the concluding problems with this discourse.
CODIFICATION AND PUBLICATION OF STATUTES
A serious problem dealing with all attorneys in Nigeria presently is the right way to entry Legal guidelines and Acts which were enacted. It has turn out to be an enormous embarrassment to authorized practitioners throughout the nation that there is no such thing as a uniform system of codification of our legal guidelines. The final effort made by the Regulation Reform Fee led to the publication of the Legal guidelines of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, which is being up to date periodically, in bits and items. The States haven’t fared any higher, because the Legal guidelines of Lagos State had been final revealed in 2015. What this has resulted in, is that no person can say with certainty, what constitutes the Legal guidelines of the Federation of Nigeria, as much as 2019. Legal professionals purchase photocopies of Acts and Legal guidelines from road distributors and it’s what they produce that all of us take because the legal guidelines of Nigeria. It’s that unhealthy, that somebody may simply sit down in his home and provide you with any legislation and cross it off as legal guidelines of Nigeria. This ought to be a significant concern for the NBA, as it’s the basis of legislation and authorized observe itself. Let me give a private instance.
I used to be briefed in respect of a really delicate matter, to file a case in courtroom. The primary level of analysis in fact, could be to find out which legislation is relevant. It was then I received to know the depth of the issue we’re presently dealing with as attorneys. We went on-line, and received a plethora of legal guidelines, purportedly on the problem, some conflicting, some others not making any sense in any respect. To make issues worse, there have been all method of organisations and nameless entities, which claimed to have these legal guidelines on their web sites in PDF format, giving the impression of some originality. Some intellectuals have written well-crafted opinions on these legal guidelines based mostly on on-line variations that they may entry. In a single explicit occasion, a counsel said on nationwide tv that he was relying upon one in every of these legal guidelines that didn’t exist in any respect, not on account of any fault of his, however slightly based mostly on the incorrect variations obtainable on-line. I later received to know that individuals in authority and certainly some establishments have relied on the identical non-existent legislation to take very important choices which affected the rights of and obligations of others.
I then set to work, to comb all Acts of the Nationwide Meeting on the topic. In a single explicit weird case, I found that an Act was handed on the topic, amending the unique Act in 2003, nevertheless it was solely revealed as a part of the 2007 Acts. It then signifies that regardless that the Act was amended in 2003, no person had entry to it till some 4 years thereafter, in 2007. Within the 2007 Act, it was certainly said that the Act was enacted in 2003 however revealed as a part of 2007 Acts. After going spherical in circles for a very long time, it was determined that we must always contact the Nationwide Meeting itself, being the maker and custodian of all legal guidelines, to know the proper place in relation to the legal guidelines regulating the matter. We had been shell-shocked to find that a lot of the legal guidelines revealed by numerous on-line organisations on the topic, don’t exist in any respect. On this day of on-line authorized observe, it will spell catastrophe for justice administration, as even judicial officers could also be misled of their judgments, to depend on pretend and non-existent legal guidelines. After we filed the case finally, we determined to exhibit the proper model of the Act as a part of the paperwork within the case, in order that the Court docket itself would avail the proper model. And that is the case virtually all over the place.
In keeping with the well-known authorized professional, Glanville Williams, the perfect lawyer is the one who is aware of the place to search out the legislation, when confronted with very difficult conditions. The NBA ought to meet with the Nationwide Meeting, the Honourable Legal professional-Common of the Federation and of the States and the Regulation Reform Fee, in an effort to work out a method for periodic publication of all current legal guidelines, throughout the land. At the least each two years, it ought to be obligatory for the Federal Authorities and the States to replace their legal guidelines and publish the identical in exhausting copies and on-line variations. The destiny of residents relies on these legal guidelines and it’s most worrisome that we might get to a state of affairs the place determined individuals would print out their very own variations of pretend legal guidelines, to go well with their particular conditions.
NBA AND BOSAN
It is a very tight rope that the President should navigate very circumspectly, being a sword that would swing both means. I used to be privileged to attend the final assembly of the Physique of Senior Advocates, BOSAN, which has now been denigrated by vested pursuits. It was certainly an excellent day, listening to very erudite and senior attorneys from everywhere in the Federation, such because the legendary Chief Onomigbo Okpoko, SAN, the inimitable Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, the main human rights advocate, Mr. Femi Falana, the erudite Prof Dakas, SAN and so many others. The point of interest for me was the aura, the camaraderie and finesse of the primary feminine Senior Advocate, Chief Folake Solanke, SAN. At over 80 years of age and with out assistance from glasses, she learn by way of all of the paperwork, made very important factors and was in a position to coordinate the assembly that lasted properly over 4 hours, with no signal of fatigue in any respect. And that is the place I believe lots of people get many issues fallacious, particularly those that declare to be supporters of the NBA President (as if all of us should not!). Chief Solanke, SAN, admirably captured the minds of all BOSAN members, when she saved emphasizing that BOSAN should work with and carry alongside members of the outer Bar in all programmes. She was so involved concerning the welfare of junior attorneys, particularly on this time of COVID 19. On greater than 4 events, she emphasised the necessity for BOSAN to cooperate with Mr. Olumide Akpata and his Exco, for the nice of the Bar, insisting that we should all put the final election behind us and transfer forward. And this was accepted by all. Actually I had alone be aware, a proposal that BOSAN ought to ship an official letter of congratulation to the brand new Exco, just for me to study later that Prof. Ben Nwabueze, SAN, had lengthy directed alongside this line however BOSAN Exco was ready for the assembly of the entire home.
On the BOSAN assembly, not a single individual spoke negatively concerning the new Exco, as all of us recommended Deacon Dele Adesina, SAN, for accepting the choice of the NBA Board of Trustees on his petition. However as a result of his petition was additionally pending earlier than BOSAN, that matter needed to be mentioned and rested. The priority of BOSAN on NBA elections was the detrimental narrative that digital voting had generated since 2016 and the necessity to discover a lasting answer to it. Which was why BOSAN determined it will be higher aided if the true details of those elections are made accessible, resulting in the suggestion of an Audit Committee. The assembly ended properly and we had been all eager for a brand new and strong partnership with the brand new NBA Exco, till I learn it on-line later that BOSAN had arrange a parallel Audit Committee primarily to undermine the brand new Exco. And since names had been being bandied as brokers of some supposed foul play, I got down to examine the supply of the pretend information. Though I received’t go into the small print of my findings, I used to be completely disillusioned to find that the entire falsehood was orchestrated by a supply traceable to one of many marketing campaign platforms used for the final NBA elections. Let me say no extra on this, for the reason that points are being resolved, for the nice of the Bar.
THE AGF AND NBA
In the direction of the tip of final week, social media was agog with information of the newest modification to the Guidelines of Skilled Conduct by the Common Council of the Bar, led by the Honourable Legal professional-Common of the Federation. This has not been confirmed by the AGF although. Now, there’s nothing fallacious in amending the RPC, as a lot of its provisions are obviously archaic and never in tandem with fashionable realities. I imply, how do you ask attorneys to not promote when just about each legislation agency has an internet site, attorneys are on Fb, Linkedin, and so on? Nevertheless, the abolition of stamp and seal will likely be a significant setback for the observe of legislation, particularly in curbing the incidence of pretend attorneys, now that many different professions have since embraced the observe of stamp and seal for his or her members. Nevertheless, I absolutely help the eradication of issuance of an annual training licence to attorneys, if the concomitant impact could be that with out it, one wouldn’t be entitled to observe. The licence to observe is earned completely upon being referred to as to the Bar by the Physique of Benchers and the enrolment on the Supreme Court docket.
Usually, I see a brighter future for the Bar, if the current Exco is ready to maintain its present enthusiasm, unite the varied tendencies throughout the Bar and chorus completely, from adopting divisive ways that will find yourself weakening the very cloth of the Exco itself. It is just however a two-year journey, which should be navigated with equity to all, utmost transparency and a strong dedication for the frequent good, regardless of the provocations. The experiences and doggedness of members of the brand new Exco ought to depend of their favour to assist obtain a lot for the NBA, in order that we will all have the Bar of our desires, actually all-inclusive, for younger attorneys, for senior attorneys, for judges and certainly for the folks of Nigeria. (Concluded).
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