A Lagos-based lawyer, Chief Malcolm Omirhobo, has told the Legal Practitioner Disciplinary Committee (LPDC) that Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), which wrote a petition against him, alleging violation of legal ethics and professional misconduct is unknown to law.
The body, led by Prof. Ishaq Akintola, had in its petition asked the committee to discipline the lawyer for appearing in traditional attire to the court to embarrass the judiciary.
Consequent upon the petition, the LPDC, in the spirit of fair hearing, requested the lawyer to turn in his defence to the petition marked BB/LPDC/896/2022.
The respondent in his affidavit held that the applicant is not registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) nor any other relevant body or commission, making it unknown to law.
Omirhobo said: “That Prof. Akintola very well knows that MURIC is not a legal entity in law but has continued to mislead the public and the Court that such a legal personality exists.”
He further added that in the various suit marked, FHC/L/CS/3/2020, FHC/L/CS/2/202, and FHC/L/CS/453/2022, Prof. Akintola committed perjury by lying to the Court that MURIC is a legal entity thereby misleading the court.
He argued further that the registered name on the CAC data bank is Muslim Rights Concern Association (MURICA) “with registration number, IT 43397, which is not the same with the applicant.”
According to him the CAC online searches showed MURICA as the only name registered at the CAC.
“The applicant lacks the requisite locus standi to bring this application against my person.
“That the applicant is not a member of the legal community, neither is it my client as I have never rendered any legal service to her and therefore, lacks the capacity to institute this action against me, as there is no lawyer/client relationship between us.
“I deny paragraph 7 of the applicant’s affidavit and state that the applicant is a meddling interloper as the averment is a mere presumption and/or figment of its imagination.
“That neither the Supreme Court Justices or its officials, nor the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) complained of my conduct,” he stated.
He declared that he is a traditionalist, who believes in the worship of his ancestral spirits.
The lawyer, who said he holds the chieftaincy title of Ominimini in Ughelli Kingdom, Delta State, stated that he is from the Esegba family, who are the custodians of Omalokun Shrine, the deity/god of the Ocean, which they worship.
“That it is the dictates of my religion that mandatorily, I have to walk on my bare feet so as to be in touch with mother earth to which my ancestors are buried at all times for fertility and protection,” he swore, adding that his ancestors passed the tradition to him with the instruction that he must do same to his children.
The lawyer stressed that he did not appear at the Supreme Court on June 23, 2022 as a legal practitioner conducting a case for his client or conducting his personal case.
He said he was at the Supreme Court on that day as a Nigerian citizen in a public place to observe proceedings and not to conduct a case.
His words: “While at the Supreme Court, I comported myself. I did not speak to anybody inside the Court, I was not violent to anybody or did anything that affected the justices of the Supreme Court, the community of legal practitioners or the public. The applicant did not furnish anything to the contrary depicting violence or disruption. The applicant has no cause of action to lay a complaint against me before this Committee.
“I deny paragraph 8 of the applicant’s affidavit and state that I never in any way or manner make fun of the legal profession and that I attended the Federal High Court, Lagos Judicial Division, Ikoyi on June 27, 2022, dressed as prescribed by my religion in line with the Constitution of Nigeria as confirmed by the Supreme Court of Nigeria in suit no.SC. 910/2016 between Lagos State Government & 4 Ors . V. Miss Asiyat Abdul Kareem (MINOR) & 2 Ors.”
The lawyer also said he appeared for himself in two cases at the Federal High Court on June 27, 2022 as plaintiff – in-person and therefore, needed not to be fully robed in line with the Rules of Professional Conduct.
He explained that he stood to address the Court, when two lawyers who were interloping in the matter interjected, whereas they were not parties to the suit neither were they representing any party.
The lawyer maintained that he was not rude to the Court and that the Court only asked him to address it on the mode of his dressing.
He, therefore, denied that he caused serious commotion or ridiculed the legal profession, the applicant or anybody by his conduct, insisting that his conduct did not violate the Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners.