Judges, Senior Lawyers locked Out at the Swearing in of New SANs


Security operatives at the Supreme Court, on Monday, engaged in a free-for-all fight, after persons in the entourage of Governor Yahaya Bello, were denied entry into the hall where 29 new Senior Advocates of Nigeria, SANs, were being sworn-in by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen. The chaos caused by this incident led to the lock out of Judges and Senior Lawyers from entering the Supreme Court venue of the swearing in.

A plain clothed policeman that accompanied the governor to the apex court main door was manhandled, with button on his shirt torn by the security operatives that comprised of both the Police and officers from a private security firm- Halogen.

Governor Bello, who was temporarily delayed at the door, had already entered inside the apex court when the fight that led to smashing of a camera belonging to a photojournalist, broke out. Aside his supporters, equally locked out by the operatives included some Judges and SANs that were already at the apex court by 9:30am for the event that commenced at exactly 10am. It took so many interventions to secure entry for some of the judges, among whom included Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court.

Meanwhile, the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo and his wife, are among dignitaries at the main courtroom of the apex court where the swearing-in ceremony was held.

Osinbajo’s brother, Akinlolu, who was former Attorney General of Ogun State, is among the new SANs. Others are the Attorney General of Kwara State, Kamaldeen Adeyemi Ajibade, former national legal adviser of the Peoples Democratic Party and gubernatorial candidate of Alliance for Democracy in Ondo State, Chief Olusola Oke, human rights lawyer, Festus Keyamo, Chibuike Adindu Nwanne Nwokeukwu, Johnnie Nnaemeka Egwuonwu, Bert Chukwuneta Igwilo, Sylvester Emenike Elema, Ikenna Victor Egbuna, Wilcox Achace Abereton, Michael Abayomi Bidade Alliyu, Francis Forum Egele, Prof. Enefiok Effiong Essien. Equally on the list are Prof. Sadiq Sylvester Shikyl, Prof. Adebambo Anthony Adewopo, Prof. Adedeji Olusegun Adekunle, Nasser Abdu Dangiri, Emeka Peter Okpoko, Sani Hussani Garun-Gabbas, Abdul Atadoga Ibrahim. As well as, John Olusegun Odubela, Gboyega Sanmi Oyewole, Joshua Yusuf Musa, Ibrahim Sani Mohammed, Ekemejero Ohwovoriole, Oyetola Oshobi, Sulaiman Usman, Kehinde Olamide Ogunwumiju and Chiesonu Igbojamike Okpoko.

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Even though 30 senior lawyers were initially okayed for elevation to the prestigious SAN rank, however, the Legal Practitioners’ Privileges Committee, LLPC, last Friday, suspended the swearing-in of the only female on the list, Mrs. Oluwatoyin Ajoke Bashorun. The LPPC said it deferred Mrs. Bashorun’s confirmation to await the conclusion of investigation into issues surrounding her eligibility for the rank.

According to a statement by Secretary to the LPPC and Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court, Mrs. Hadiza Mustapha, Bashorun will be investigated by a panel set up by the CJN who doubles as Chairman of the LPPC. Mrs Mustapha had earlier revealed that a total of 156 senior lawyers applied to be conferred the SAN rank. She revealed that though 72 of the applicants were initially shortlisted, the LLPC, pursuant to its powers under section 5 of Legal Practitioners’ Act, Laws of the Federation 2004 as amended, pruned down the list to 30.

Four of the new SANs emerged from the academia. The swearing-in ceremony will herald the declaration of 2017/2018 legal year of the Supreme Court open by the CJN.

Source: The Vanguard.

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