Senior lawyer and former Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee (LPDC) prosecutor, Mr. Jibrin Okutepa SAN has distanced himself from a statement by the Justice Reform Project (JRP) asking Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN to quit his office as Chairman of the Body of Benchers (BoB).
The outspoken Bar Leader said he “left JRP long ago when I perceived the way things were being done without consultations.”
According to a report by City Lawyer, the Chairman of JRP Governing Board, Mrs. Funke Adekoya SAN confirmed that both Okutepa and former Lagos State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Olasupo Sashore left the group “on issues of personal principle.”
In the statement by Okutepa, he berated “eminent members of the Bar” for chastising him over the recusal saga, adding that he never called Olanipekun a “superior member of the Bar.”
Below is a full text of the statement.
My attention has been drawn to an unsigned statement said to have been issued by Justice Reform Projects, JRP in which my name was mentioned.
While I have no quarrel with whatever informed the reasons for the statement, I want to say categorically that I am no more a member of JRP. I left JRP long ago when I perceived the way things were being done without consultations. Prof Ojukwu SAN and many members of JRP can testify to this. Those who issued the statement should have been kind enough to have indicated that I have long withdrawn my membership of JRP.
My name is being used by different persons for different reasons on this alleged issue of professional misconduct. Many have attributed to me on social media what I did not say. For instance I did not describe Chief Olanipekun SAN as Superior member of the Bar and couldn’t have said so, yet eminent members of the Bar have gone to the media to pour venoms on me for what I did not say.
I will not support or shield any member of the legal profession who breaches or who is alleged to have breached our rules of professional Conduct in the legal profession, no matter his or her status in the legal profession, but nobody should use my name in any statement I did not authorize or attributes to me what I did not say, no matter how noble the intention may be.