The LPPC has restored the SAN title to Mr. Kunle Ogunba, a lawyer, who was defrocked early this year.
The title was withdrawn January 11, following a petition by the Honeywell Group alleging Ogunba instituted a multiplicity of proceedings before different judges of the Federal High Court on the same subject matter.
A September 20 notice to Ogunba, signed by the Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court/Secretary, LPPC, Hadizatu Uwani Mustapha, reads;
‘Kunle Ogunba SAN: Notice Of Restoration of the Award of The Rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria on your Person with all its Privileges.
‘Further to your letter of September 11, 2018, in which you presented to the LPPC attached documents in compliance with the conditions laid down in paragraph 27 of the Legal Practitioners’ Privileges Committee Guidelines 2018, the committee after a careful consideration of the letter and accompanying documents, found the character references to be valid and the applications for review granted. The committee hereby allows the restoration of the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria on your person and the privileges of a Senior Advocate of Nigeria.
You are hereby advised to conduct your case(s) in the best tradition of the legal profession and uphold the honour and dignity which the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria commands.’
This particular restoration comes in the backdrop of legal practitioners forging court documents to get favorable applications for the coveted title.
The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, disclosed that an unspecified number of lawyers have been apprehended for forging court judgments in a bid to qualify as Senior Advocates of Nigeria. He made the disclosure yesterday at an event marking the beginning of the 2018/2019 Legal Year for the Supreme Court and the conferment of the prestigious title on 30 lawyers.
He promised to bring full charges on the apprehended culprits. In his statement, he said:
‘I have to point out the fact that in the just-concluded exercise, some applicants were found to have engaged in dishonourable conducts such as the forgery of judgments, resulting in their being reported to the police for investigation and possible prosecution. We have to know that if one is not for any reason qualified to wear silk as a judicial officer, he cannot wear it as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria,’ the CJN said.
The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami (SAN) appealed to judges to brace up to challenges that may come before, during and after the general elections.
The CJN ties this disgraceful occurrence to the culture of impunity and charges that more be done to prosecute the parties involved. He also commended the members of the committee tasked with ‘scrutinizing over 4,000 judgments, trial proceedings, and publications and conducting disciplinary proceedings on petitions received against Senior Advocates.’