According to a report by City Lawyer, the embattled Attorney-General & Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami SAN and eleven other persons were yesterday appointed “Life Bencher” by the Body of Benchers.
This is coming on the heels of a petition by some lawyers calling for Malami to be stripped of the rank of “Senior Advocate of Nigeria” over his alleged unilateral amendment of the 2007 Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners.
The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) President, Mr. Olumide Akpata had in a statement he personally signed directed lawyers to disregard the new Rules, insisting that they were made without authority.
Malami had come under fire from several Bar Leaders for allegedly usurping the powers of the General Council of the Bar to issue a gazette amending the Rules.
But the Body of Benchers apparently shoved all the controversies aside to bequeath the nation’s chief law officer with its highest rank. City Lawyer reports that the Body of Benchers meeting was presided over by former Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) President, Chief O. C. J. Okocha SAN.
Others who were awarded the rank reserved for lawyers of the highest distinction are Justice A. G. Mshelia, Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeal, Jos; Justice Suleiman Kawu, Chief Judge of Kwara State; Justice P. O. Nnadi, Chief Judge of Imo State; Justice M. L. Abimbola, Chief Judge of Oyo State; Kaka Shehu Lawan, Attorney-General of Borno State; Uwemedimo Nwoko, Attorney-General of Akwa Ibom State; Mr. Sulaiman Usman, Attorney-General of Sokoto State; Mr. Francis Chuka Agbu SAN, NBA Representative at the Body of Benchers; Chief Ferdinand Orbih SAN, NBA Representative at the Body of Benchers; Dr. T. C. Osanakpo SAN, NBA Representative at the Body of Benchers, and Mr. Joe Agi SAN who was before now a bencher.
It was gathered that the new crop of life benchers were recommended by a committee set up by the Body of Benchers for the purpose.