• Solicitor-General, Rhodes-Vivour, Others Make List

Barring any last-minute hitches, the Legal Practitioners Privileges Committee (LPPC) will today unveil a list of 37 lawyers who successfully scaled its screening exercise for award of the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN).

The release of the long-awaited list is the climax of the sifting process which saw the LPPC issuing a final shortlist of 80 lawyers last May. In an advertorial heralding the list and signed by the LPPC Secretary/Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court, Hadizatu Mustapha, the committee said the shortlisted lawyers had scaled the “first and second advocates’ filtration, academic pre-qualification exercise and the appeal process, preparatory to the award of SAN for the year 2019.” Among those shortlisted were leading human rights lawyer, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa and 13 professors.

The committee had also invited complaints against any of the shortlisted candidates, saying: “Any complaint(s) presented to the Legal Practitioners’ Privileges Committee must be accompanied with verifying affidavit deposed to

CITY LAWYER investigation shows that only 37 candidates made the cut this year, with 43 others falling by the way side. This is however higher than the 31 candidates awarded last year. While 20 applicants out of 124 received the rank in 2015, 22 SANs were appointed in 2016 out of 50 applicants. The number shot up to 29 in 2017 from 91 applicants, and peaked at 31 in 2018 from 106 applicants. 64 applicants were finally shortlisted for the rank in 2018 as against 80 this year.

Sources who are familiar with the process told CITY LAWYER that among those who made the sought-after list are Messrs Dayo Apata, Solicitor-General & Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice; Adedokun Matthew Makinde Esq; Daniel Chukwudi Enwelum Esq; Tuduru Uchendu Ede Esq, and John Onuegbulam Asoluka Esq; Others are Abiodun Adediran Olatunji Esq; Olusegun Omoniyi Jolaawo Esq; Olusegun Oyediran Fowowe Esq; Abdul Olajide Ajana Esq; Safiya Umar Badamasi, Katsina State Solicitor General and Permanent Secretary, and Adedoyin Oyinkan Rhodes-Vivour Esq, wife of Justice Bode Rhodes-Vivour of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

According to the committee, the rank is a privilege “awarded as a mark of excellence to members of the legal profession who are in full time legal practice, have distinguished themselves as advocates and have made significant contribution to the development of the legal profession.”

The process for the award of Senior Advocate of Nigeria was approved by the body of benchers, the highest judicial body in Nigeria statutorily responsible for the regulation of the legal profession and for admitting persons who desire to become legal practitioners. The guidelines for the award of the rank were first made in 2007 “and have since been reviewed 4 times in a bid to further improve and straighten the process in the light of experience of past exercises. The current guideline is the one of 17th December, 2013.” The committee is headed by the Chairman who is also the Chief Justice of Nigeria with 15 other members, one of whom is the Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court of Nigeria and Secretary of the Committee.

The committee states that “The guidelines provides for the identification of the very best applicants rigorously and objectively and promotes fairness, excellence and diversity and every effort shall be made to ensure that the conferment of the rank of senior advocate of Nigeria an (sic) applicants who have met the criteria reflect national character by achieving as much geographical spread and gender representation as possible. The exercise is an annual event and we will update the site from time to time to ensure implement (sic) in service delivery.” CITY LAWYER investigations however showed that the website was perhaps last updated in 2017.

Although the committee on one part states that the “current guideline” is the one of 17th December, 2013 it in another post states that “New LPPC Guidelines have been signed into effect by His Lordship, the Hon Chief Justice of Nigeria/Chairman Legal Practitioners Privileges Committee on 12th day of October, 2017. This new set of guidelines now determine the process of receiving applications, screening and selection of new Senior Advocates of Nigeria.”

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