Activist-lawyer, Chief Malcolm Omirhobo has responded to the petition by Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) seeking that he should be punished by the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee (LPDC) of the Body of Benchers for alleged violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners (RPC).

CITY LAWYER recalls that MURIC had petitioned to the LPDC complaining about the manner Omirhobo dressed while appearing before the Supreme Court and Federal High Court. The LPDC in a letter dated October 24, 2022 directed Omirhobo to respond to the petition titled CASE NO: BB/LPDC/896/2022 Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) and Malcolm Emokiniovo Omirhobo Esq within 24 days.

But in a reply to the LPDC made available to CITY LAWYER titled “RE: DEFENCE ON THE MERIT TO BB/LPDC/896/2022 MUSLIM RIGHTS CONCERN (MURIC) V. MALCOLM EMOKINIOVO OMIRHOBO, ESQ” Omirhobo denied that he has violated the Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners.

While the letter to LPDC was dated December 3, 2022, the accompanying “AFFIDAVIT DISCLOSING DEFENCE TO THE ORIGINATING APPLICATION ON MERITS” was sworn to and filed at the Federal High Court on December 7, 2022 in response to the petition.

In the affidavit, Omirhobo affirmed that “I am from the Esegba family who are the custodians of the Omalokun shrine, the deity/gods of the ocean.”

The activist-lawyer also stated that “That my forbearers pass our tradition and religion to my great-grand father, Chief Omirhobo Usitaka, who passed it to my grandfather Chief Orodeko Okposiokpo Omirhobo, who passed it to my late father Chief Anthony Council Omirhobo who passed it over to me with the instruction that I pass it over to my children so that they can pass it over to their own children.”

Turning to the MURIC petition, Omirhobo stated that “the Applicant, Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) is not registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission nor any other Body/Commission. Same is unknown to law.”

Continuing, he alleged “That Professor Ishaq Akintola very well know that MURIC is not a legal entity in law but has continued to mislead the public and the Court that such legal personality exists.

“That in SUIT NO. FHC/L/CS/3/2020 BETWEEN CHIEF MALCOLM EMOKINIOVO OMIRHOBO V. THE CENTRAL BANK OF NIGERIA & 6 ORS., SUIT NO. FHC/L/CS/2/2020 BETWEEN CHIEF MALCOLM EMOKINIOVO OMIRHOBO V. NIGERIAN ARMY & 6 ORS. and in SUIT NO. FHC/L/CS/453/2022 BETWEEN CHIEF MALCOLM EMOKINIOVO OMIRHOBO V. THE NIGERIAN POLICE & 6 ORS. Professor Ishaq Akintola committed perjury by lying to the Court that MURIC is a legal entity. Attached hereto and marked as “EXHIBIT A” is copy of one of the Sworn Affidavit of Professor Ishaq Akintola where he exhibited the Certificate of Incorporation of MURICA while misleading the Court to believe that it is the Certificate of Incorporation of MURIC.

“That the registered name on the CAC data bank is Muslim Rights Concern Association (MURICA) registration number IT 43397 which is not the same with the Applicant. The CAC online searches showing Muslim Rights Concern Association as the only name registered at the Corporate Affairs Commission is attached and marked as “EXHIBIT B.””

Omirhobo also stated that the petition is outside the scope of the objectives of either MURIC or MURICA, adding that the association “is an Islamic Organization whose major objective is advocating for female Muslims right to wear hijab in public institutions as it has been the practice in Western countries like United Kingdom.”

He stated that MURIC lacks locus standi to bring the petition, adding that the “Applicant is not a member of the legal community, neither is it my client as I have never rendered any legal service to her and therefore lacks the capacity to institute this action against me as there is no lawyer/client relationship between us.”

Omirhobo also contended that the petition is incompetent, having not been brought by the Trustees of the association, even as he dismissed allegation of violation of the RPC as “I did not appear at the Supreme Court on 23/6/2022 as a legal practitioner conducting a case for his client or conducting my personal case.”

Noting that the Body of Benchers had reversed itself by approving the wearing of hijab to Call to Bar ceremonies in the controversial case of Amasa Fidaus, Omirhobo stated that “the Application complaining of my dress code as it relates to the dictates of my religion and my being summoned before the Legal Practitioner Disciplinary Committee by the Body of Benchers is discriminatory and a violation of my fundamental right to freedom from discrimination as provided for in Section 42(1)(a)(b) of the Nigerian Constitution.”

Omirhobo concluded that the petition was brought in bad faith, “lacks merits and should be dismissed with an apology to my good self to be published in five National Newspapers.”

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