The Chairman of the Body of Benchers, Wole Olanipekun (SAN), on Wednesday called on lawyers not to see the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee as a forum for settling personal quarrels with perceived enemies.
According to him, the LPDC, as an independent agency of the BOB, is charged with the responsibility of ensuring discipline for any legal practitioner’s misconduct.
Olanipekun stated these during the Call to Bar ceremony for 1,491 new lawyers, held by the BOB at its secretariat in the Jabi area of Abuja.
Although key actors in the nation’s legal profession were at the event, the President of the Nigerian Bar Association and member of the BOB, Olumide Akpata, was absent.
Olanipekun said, “Over the years, the LPDC has continued to operate as an independent arbiter, enjoying absolute independence in the course of carrying out its assignment.
“The Body of Benchers does not and will not interfere with any of the proceedings or outcome of such proceedings before the LPDC. It is important to point out that the LPDC is not an avenue for dealing with perceived enemies or the ventilation of grievances against fellow lawyers on personal issues.
“The decision of the LPDC is known as a ‘direction,’ and any appeal against the direction goes directly to the Supreme Court.”
Olanipekun, a former President of the NBA, expressed concern about the menace of the unethical practices of forum shopping and hinted at a plan by the BOB for regulations to address it.
The Director-General of the Nigerian Law School, Prof. Isa Chiroma, said that the graduation ceremony had to be shifted from the traditional place of Bwari to the Body of Benchers Complex due to threats by terrorists and bandits to launch attacks against the famous law school.
He commended the Chief of Defence Staff, Chief of Army Staff, Inspector-General of Police, Director-General, Department of State Services, Commandant, Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps, and Federal Road Safety Corps for jointly coming to the rescue of the school by providing adequate security and wise counsel.