CONTROVERSY, AS JUDICIAL BODY SHUNS NBA, APPOINTS SCRIBE

Barring any last-minute hitches, the Secretary of Nigeria’s Body of Benchers, Hajia Sadiya Turaki will tomorrow assume duties as the new scribe of the influential Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC).

Multiple and unimpeachable sources told CITY LAWYER that Turaki has been appointed by the commission chaired by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad as the new Secretary to replace Mr. Bassey E. Bassey who retired on September 23, 2020.

Turaki’s appointment is coming on the heels of allegations that the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) may have been shut out of the appointment process, contrary to the provisions of Section 153(2) and 154(1) of the 1999 Constitution as well as Paragraph 12 Part 1 of the Third Schedule to 1999 Constitution. 

While Paragraph 12 (6) Part 1 of the Third Schedule to the 1999 Constitution stipulates that the membership composition of the FJSC shall include “Two persons, each of whom has been qualified to practice as a Legal Practitioner in Nigeria for a period of not less than fifteen years, from a list of not less than four persons so qualified and recommended by the Nigerian Bar Association,” CITY LAWYER gathered from impeccable sources that NBA has not participated in the decision-making process of the commission for over two years since the tenure of its former representatives ended.

Paragraph 13(c), Part 1 of the Third Schedule to the 1999 Constitution empowers the commission to “Appoint, dismiss and exercise disciplinary control over the Chief Registrars and Deputy Chief Registrars of the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal, the Federal High Court, the National Industrial Court and all other members of the staff of the Judicial Service of the Federation not otherwise specified in this Constitution and of the Federal Judicial Service Commission.”

CITY LAWYER investigation shows that the last set of NBA representatives at the commission were Mr. Olumuyiwa Akinboro SAN and Hajia Fatima Kwaku (MFR) whose names were forwarded by then Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Aloma Mariam Mukhtar to former President Goodluck Jonathan for transmission to the Senate for confirmation. Their five-year tenure ended on 3rd July, 2018.

A source who is familiar with the matter told CITY LAWYER that though the immediate past NBA President, Mr. Paul Usoro SAN made spirited efforts to ensure NBA’s representation at the commission, such efforts did not yield fruits. The source stated that though Usoro had on at least three occasions submitted the list of NBA nominees to the Chief Justice of Nigeria, there are strong indications that the list was not transmitted to the Senate through the President for approval. CITY LAWYER also gathered from unimpeachable sources that the names of two NBA nominees are still currently pending at the all-important commission.

Though CITY LAWYER sought the views of NBA President, Mr. Olumide Akpata on the development through a short messaging service and WhatsApp message to his verified telephone number, he promised that “I will call you back shortly” but was yet to do so at press time. 

Aside from NBA representatives, the commission’s membership comprises of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, who shall be the Chairman; President of the Court of Appeal; Attorney-General of the Federation; Chief Judge of the Federal High Court; President of the National Industrial Court, and “Two other persons, not being Legal Practitioners, who in the opinion of the President are of unquestionable integrity.” The non-lawyers are Senator Abba Ali and Malam Mohammed Sagir. However, only NBA is currently unrepresented in the 9-member commission.

The commission’s Secretary doubles as its Chief Executive and Accounting Officer.

Copyright 2020 CITY LAWYER. Please send emails to citylawyermag@gmail.com. Join us on Facebook at https://web.facebook.com/City-Lawyer-Magazine-434937936684320 and on TWITTER at https://twitter.com/CityLawyerMag All materials available on this Website are protected by copyright, trade mark and other proprietary and intellectual property laws. You may not use any of our intellectual property rights without our express written consent or attribution to www.citylawyermag.com. However, you are permitted to print or save to your individual PC, tablet or storage extracts from this Website for your own personal non-commercial use.

CALL TO BAR: ‘WE RECORDED OVER 70% SUCCESS RATE,’ SAYS LAW SCHOOL D-G

BY EMEKA NWADIOKE

The Director-General of the Nigerian Law School, Prof. Isa Hayatu Chiroma SAN yesterday rated the leading vocational training institution highly, saying its graduates posted over 70 per cent success rate at the Bar Final examinations held last January.

In his address at the Call to Bar ceremony held yesterday, Chiroma traced the “humble beginning” of the school in 1963 “with 8 students at its one block Campus at 213A, Igbosere Road, Lagos,” and observed that “the Nigerian Law School has grown to a six-Campus Institution spread across the country with a yearly intake of well over 6,000 (six thousand) students as stated above.”

A fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (UK), the Law School chief executive said that the school has enjoyed unbroken academic sessions in its 58-year history, attributing the feat to “the insistence of the Council of Legal Education on the good character of the students as a condition for both admission into the Law School and recommendation for Call to the Bar.”

Chiroma stated that while 1,779 of the 2,515 candidates who sat for the Bar Finals scaled the hurdle, five of the candidates or 0.2 per cent bagged First Class Honours. Seventy-six (3.06%) candidates received Second Class Upper grade while 633 (25.17%) candidates were graded in Second Class Lower rank. Another 1,065 (42.43%) candidates recorded a Pass grade.

His words: “These figures translate to 70.86% success at the Bar Final Examinations. I wish to assure all of you that we shall remain the gate keepers of our noble profession. As Teachers and Administrators, we will continue to uphold the standard and integrity of the Bar.”

Chiroma stated that the knowledge “acquired and expressed” by candidates “brings great joy to the entire Nigerian Law School Community,” adding: “After your Call to the Bar, you will become new wigs of the Nigerian Bar and proud members of our noble profession. I rejoice and congratulate you all for your hard work, dedication and steadfastness. To all our proud parents, guardians and relations, I invite you all to share in the success and joy of these candidates we are celebrating today.”

On the contributions of the Law School to national development, Chiroma noted that both the Chief Justice of Nigeria and the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice among others are all alumni of the school, adding that “It is also significant to note that a large number of members of other tiers of government in the country are products of the School.

“The school has also contributed to the training of the legal man-power for our sister African countries like the Republic of the Gambia, the Republic of Sierra Leone and the Republic of Cameroun. A number of countries from East and West Africa have visited the Law school to solicit information and assistance on the establishment and development of the Law School in their various countries. As reported in my address to your distinguished body at the last Call ceremony the Nigerian Law School received a high powered delegation from the Law Development Centre, Uganda, who were in Nigeria on bench marking and working visit to the Nigerian Law School and more of such collaborations have continued to come.

“Products of the School have commanding presence in other spheres of public and private sector such as the Ex-Military, Police, Customs, Immigration, the Oil and Gas sector, Banking and Finance, Insurance and the Corporate world in general, Professors/lecturers in the Universities and other tertiary institutions. Some of these products have achieved profound feat of getting to the top of their career nationally and across borders.”

Chiroma thanked President Muhammadu Buhari “for all the proactive measures taken aimed at curbing the spread and eradication of the disease in our dear country.” Turning to Malami, the Law School Director-General said: “May I at this time respectfully seek the leave of Mr. Chairman and distinguished members of the Body of Benchers, to thank our supervisory Ministry – the Federal Ministry of Justice headed by the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, Life Bencher for the support always given to us as an institution.”

Showering encomiums on the Council of Legal Education chaired by leading litigator and Bar Leader, Chief Emeka Ngige SAN for its oversight, Chiroma said: “I will also wish to thank the Chairman and Members of the Council of Legal Education, our parent body for their support and guidance at all times.

“The same appreciation goes to the Chairman and members of the Body of Benchers for their constant support and encouragement. I must also mention the Secretariat of the distinguished body for its co-operation with us at all times. Not even the COVID-19 pandemic could hold your body from discharging your primary and essential duties with the usual and huge cooperation of the Council of Legal Education and staff of Nigerian Law School.”

Chiroma congratulated Mr. Olumide Akpata for his victory at the poll while thanking the immediate past NBA President, Mr. Paul Usoro, SAN “for his contribution to the Nigerian Law School, Nigerian Bar Association and the Legal Profession in general.”

Among those admitted to the Nigerian Bar at the ceremony held at the Eagle Square, Abuja was veteran Nollywood actor, Mr. Kanayo O. Kanayo MFR.

Copyright 2020 CITY LAWYER. Please send emails to citylawyermag@gmail.com. Join us on Facebook at https://web.facebook.com/City-Lawyer-Magazine-434937936684320 and on TWITTER at https://twitter.com/CityLawyerMag All materials available on this Website are protected by copyright, trade mark and other proprietary and intellectual property laws. You may not use any of our intellectual property rights without our express written consent or attribution to www.citylawyermag.com. However, you are permitted to print or save to your individual PC, tablet or storage extracts from this Website for your own personal non-commercial use.