More crisis has rocked the embattled Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee (LPDC), an organ of the Body of Benchers, as another ranking member, Chief Ferdinand Orbih SAN has resigned from the august body.
In a resignation letter obtained by CITY LAWYER, Orbih stated that “My resignation stems from the events that took place at the meeting of the Body of Benchers on the 22nd November 2021, wherein, the Honourable Body assumed jurisdiction over the Petition of Lucius E. Nwosu SAN. Lucius Nwosu SAN in his Petition complained about the finding of the LPDC that a prima facie case had been made against him.”
CITY LAWYER recalls that the LPDC Chairman, Mr. Emmanuel Ukala SAN had sensationally resigned as Chairman of the LPDC, citing the same reason for his action.
Continuing, Orbih, the fiery Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association Section on Legal Practice (NBA-SLP), said: “It is my humble view that by assuming jurisdiction over the said Petition, the Body of Benchers was in clear breach of Section 12 (7) of the Legal Practitioners Act, which provides that appeals in respect of decisions of the LPDC, can only be entertained by the Supreme Court of Nigeria. Clearly, that section did not vest on the Body of Benchers, the power to seat as an appellate body over decisions of the LPDC.”
According to the respected senior lawyer, “The lawmaker gave the LPDC a great measure of independence because of the vital role it plays to ensure that the highest form of discipline is maintained amongst Legal Practitioners in Nigeria. That independence is obliterated when the Honourable Body brings the LPDC under its control and direction in clear violation of due process.”
“In the above circumstances, my continued membership of the LPDC has become untenable, as I can no longer in good conscience serve in that committee.
“I am therefore left with no other option, than to resign my membership of the LPDC. I am grateful to the Honourable Body of Benchers for the opportunity given to me, to be of service to the legal profession.”
Titled “NOTICE OF RESIGNATION AS MEMBER OF LEGAL PRACTITIONERS DISCIPLINARY COMMITTEE” and addressed to the Secretary of the Body of Benchers, the letter was copied to the Chairman of the Body of Benchers, past Chairmen, Life Benchers and Honourable Benchers. Dated February 24, 2022 the resignation also became effective from yesterday.
It remains to be seen how this gale of resignations will affect the operations of the troubled Committee.
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