Legal profession in dire need of urgent sanitisation Otesanya David March 31, 2022

Legal profession in dire need of urgent sanitisation

Legal profession in dire need of urgent sanitisation


From Godwin Tsa, Abuja

The Body of Benchers (BOB) said the legal profession requires urgent sanitisation to enable it retain its noble status.

While expressing deep concern about the state of affairs in the nation’s legal profession, the new chairman of the Body of Benchers, Wole Olanikpekun (SAN) assured Nigerians and stakeholders in the nation’s judiciary that his administration will address the issue.

The Body of Benchers is the highest body in the nation’s legal profession, with the serving Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justices of the Supreme Court, the President of the Court of Appeal, Presiding Justices of the Court of Appeal, Attorneys General, Senior Advocates and among other distinguished legal practitioners as members.

BOB’s new Chairman, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN) assured that the body, under his watch, would do all within its capacity to scrutinise the profession and ensure discipline.

Olanipekun spoke in Abuja on Thursday shortly after his inauguration as the 50th Chairman of the BOB while Justice Mary Peter Odili became the group’s Vice Chairman.

Olanipekun, an ex-President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and the immediate past Vice Chairman of the BOB, hailed his predecessors in office, who he noted, laid solid foundation and assured that he would build on the foundation he inherited.

“I will try to improve on what my predecessors in the office have done. I have a focus about the legal profession.

“We have to do something about it. And, what we have to do about the legal profession is very urgent. And I have my ideas, which I will present at the next meeting of the body

“But, there is the need for us to sanitise the profession in Nigeria today. I will not at this stage reveal what I want to do.

“I will present my agenda to the body at the first meeting that I will chair. This is in July and during the time, I will roll out my programme,” he said.

Olanipekun, who spoke glowingly about his predecessors in office and their noble achievements, touched on the many responsibilities of the BOB, which he promised to sustain.

He said: “At the time Adetokunbo Ademola was the Chief Justice of Nigeria and Taslim Elias was the Attorney General of the Federation. They both worked together to bring about a unified Nigeria legal system, creating the Council of Legal Education, which gave birth to Nigeria Law School.

“About Ninety percent of Nigeria lawyers today are products of Nigerian Law School.

Olanipekun pledged to ensure the independence for the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee (LPDC), the body that ensure discipline among legal practitioners (an organ of the BOB).

In his acceptance speech, Olanipekun assured of his commitment to service, to the profession and efforts to sanitise it.

“In whatever position I found myself, I have always striven to represent our noble profession as an ambassador and exemplar, displaying the learning, good character and virtues which the law profession is reputed for, to the admiration of the non-legal communities.

“As leaders of the legal profession in our respective rights who, in the wisdom of the law, id est (that is) the Legal Practitioners Act, has aggregated us from our different sectors of the profession, it behoves us to rejig, redefine and re-orientate our profession in order to restore its cherished nobility and glory.

“We must not lose sight of the unpleasant happenings around us, whether from the Bar and Bench.

“Succinctly surmised, our profession is under aggression and attack, both from within and without.

“These are not the best of times for the legal profession in Nigeria. But, let us be encouraged by the illuminating words of Criss Jami in his recently published book (2015) titled Killosophy, where he enthused that “To seek greatness is the righteous vengeance”

“Therefore, it is the bounden duty of the congregation of these great men and women of distinction, constituting the Body of Benchers, to work for the greatness and renaissance of our esteemed profession. In doing so as well, we may have to crack some glass ceilings.

“While paragraph 5 (1) of the Body of Benchers Regulations provides for three statutory meetings in the dining year, the same paragraph empowers the Chairman to call for other meetings, as may be necessary and/or expedient.

“I hereby prepare the mind of the most distinguished members of this body that in the next one year, I would be calling on you for such extra meetings, as we have much to do and accomplish. For this great sojourn, I commit to giving my all as the Chairman of the Body of Benchers.

“The one year tenure appears short, but to me it’s also time you can achieve a lot because to the glory of God I have been on the body since 1992, I became a Life Bencher in 2007 and I have learnt under many past chairman .I have followed all the procedures and proceedings,” Olanipekun said.


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