Drama As Judge Berates EFCC Lawyer For Trying To Influence Court To Pervert Justice
A prosecuting counsel for the EFCC (names withheld) has reportedly attempted to influence a Federal High Court Judge sitting in Ibadan, Hon Justice Joyce Obehi AbdulMalik.
It was learnt that, during court sitting on Tuesday, October 08, 2019, the Hon Judge had called out/up the EFCC counsel in open court and accused the counsel in open court of having visited her (the judge) in the judge’s house in an attempt to influence her on a case currently before the judge.
The judge was said to have berated such as conduct unbecoming of Legal’s practitioner.
The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), through its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kunle Edun, has reacted to the report, commending Honourable Justice ABDULMALIK for upholding judicial integrity, sword of justice and legal ethics. The terse statement by the NBA is titled, “ANOTHER RIGHTEOUS JUDGE IN IBADAN,”
On their part, very many lawyers, commenting on social media, have poured encomium on the judge.
While some have described her as woman of integrity who has demonstrated that she cannot be bought over, some others tagged her “The Pride of the Nigerian Bench.”
Some others extolled her actions as a demonstration that all hope is not lost for the legal profession in Nigeria. Some lawyers called on the NBA to look into the matter in the national interest.
While reacting to the report, Sylvester Udemezue, a Law Teacher, legal analyst, rule of law advocate and public affairs commentator, also commended the affected judge and expressed happiness that with people like Hon Justice Joyce Abdulmalik, there’s hope for the Bar and Bench in Nigeria.
However, on the call by some lawyers that it is the duty of the NBA to take up the matter.
Mr Udemezue responded thus:
“But any lawyer in Nigeria has a right, duty, to also report the lawyer. Why wait for the NBA over what you yourself are entitled to do? The responsibilities we are imposing on this NBA are far too enormous.
Please recall that the NBA is already the Chief Investigator in all cases of professional misconduct against a legal practitioner in Nigeria. Additionally, the NBA is the Chief Prosecutor at the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee (LPDC) over cases relating to trial of lawyers that are indicted for professional misconduct.
Yet, we still want the NBA to be the Chief complainer or Chief complainant, all at the same time. I respectfully suggest that anyone, among us, NIGERIAN lawyers, should be courageous enough to take one’s pen and make a report to the NBA, or any one of the relevant authorities, and see if the NBA wouldn’t act promptly.
The governing rule of law and relevant provision is RULE 55 of the Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners in Nigeria (RPC), 2007, relating to “Enforcement of rules:”
Rule 55 (1) provides that ‘If a lawyer acts in contravention of any of the rules in these Rules or fails to perform any of the duties imposed by the Rules, he shall be guilty of a professional misconduct and liable to punishment as provided in Legal Practitioners Act.’
Rule 55 (2) then provides that ‘It is the duty of every lawyer to report any breach of any of these rules that comes to his knowledge to the appropriate authorities for necessary disciplinary action.’
Rule 55(2) is crystal clear: IT IS THE DUTY OF EVERY LAWYER TO REPORT……. Rule 55(2) doesn’t say it is the duty of only the NBA! Please, to avoid doubts, note that I didn’t say NBA cannot or may not or should not take it up. I am not NBA nor an officer of the NBA.
What I am saying is that one (we, lawyers) need not wait for the NBA, because we all, individually and in groups, are entitled, nay, obliged, to make the report.
Emphasis in the RPC, 2007 is on ‘IT IS THE DUTY OF EVRRY LAWYER,’ including you and I and every other lawyer in Nigeria.”