The Nigerian Bar Association Section on Public Interest and Development Law (NBA-SPIDEL) has set up a committee to unravel bribery allegations trailing the Kano State Election Petition Tribunal.

CITY LAWYER recalls that the Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Flora Azinge had stated that a staff of the tribunal is under probe for a financial transfer.

Below is the full text of the press statement.


Information that has gone viral in the social media indicates that Honourable Justice Flora Azinge, the Chairman of the National and State Houses of Assembly Election Tribunal in Kano State in an unprecedented manner expressed displeasure and anger in the open court when she alleged that a Senior Advocate appearing before the tribunal attempted to bribe her to pervert the course of justice. The Honourable Chairman was quoted to have particularly stated thus “A Senior Advocate of Nigeria who has a pending case before me is attempting to bribe me. Money has been flying in this tribunal since yesterday. Whoever collects money on my behalf, God will punish that person and his generation yet unborn — to the fourth generation. They keep abusing judges, insulting us every day in the papers, in the media — that we are taking bribe. Let me repeat again that nobody should approach me.”

SPIDEL commends the Honourable. Chairman of the Kano State Election Tribunal for voicing out the fact that attempts have been made by a Senior Advocate to bribe and by extension compromise the tribunal; and more importantly, that money has been shamelessly flying around in the tribunal for some time.

SPIDEL strongly condemns these evil practices and attempts to compromise the integrity of the tribunal by unscrupulous legal practitioners. It must be stated that attempts to bribe judges and pervert justice are not only criminal in nature but also amounts to infractions of the Rules of Professional Conduct. Any lawyer who engages in attempts to compromise the integrity of the court or any of its officers is a disgrace and an embarrassment to the legal profession.

By the Rule 1 of the extant Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners 2007, it is incumbent upon every lawyer to uphold and observe the rule of law, promote and foster the cause of justice, maintain a high standard of professional conduct and not engage in any conduct which is unbecoming of a legal practitioner. Lawyers, as officers of the court, are obliged not to conduct themselves in any manner that may obstruct, delay, or adversely affect the due administration of justice.

SPIDEL is of the considered opinion, therefore, that it is not sufficient for the Hon. Chairman to cry out, as she has courageously done. The Honourable Chairman is obliged, therefore, as a member of the legal profession to give names of the shameless characters to substantiate her allegations. It is only in doing this that the Honourable Chairman would have fully discharged the moral and ethical burden placed on her.

SPIDEL notes, unfortunately, that the Honourable chairman has sought to modify her earlier statement, and we hope that this modification is not arising from pressures on her. To keep silent is to enable malfeasance and perpetuate irresponsible behaviour.

May we reiterate that the later modification of the earlier statement of the Honourable Chairman of Tribunal is very surprising and confusing.

SPIDEL is willing and ready to take this matter up to ensure that the said Senior Advocate is made to face the wrath of the law as a scapegoat. We would not be satisfied except the Senior Advocate is called out by the Honourable Chairman.

We, therefore, call on the Honourable Chairman, Honourable Justice Flora Azinge, to boldly and courageously disclose the name of the Senior Advocate and other senior lawyers (if any) involved in this scandalous attempt to compromise the integrity of the tribunal. This call is expedient and the grant of same by the Honourable Chairman is imperative to enable SPIDEL do the needful in accordance with her mandate and in furtherance of the objectives of the Rules of Professional Conduct in the Legal Profession, which makes it a duty upon every lawyer to report every infraction of the RPC to the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee.

The nation is watching as the legal profession is now in the eye of the storm by the allegations. We owe ourselves the sacred duty to protect the nobility of the legal profession, maintain the sanctity of our courts, and defend the integrity of the judiciary.

In the light of the above, SPIDEL hereby constitutes a team to investigate these allegations. The team is made up of:

1. Kunle Edun (Warri Branch)
2. Yakubu S. Bawa (Jos Branch)
3. Abiye Tam-George (Lagos Branch)

The team is expected to submit a report to SPIDEL within the next 10 days.

Dated the 16th of August, 2023.

John Aikpokpo-Martins

Funmi Adeogun

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