*Says Crisis Facing The Legal Profession Is A Self-Inflicted Injury
*I Am Happy That Some Members Of The NJC Requisitioned A Meeting – Falana
*We Are Not Supporting Criminality — NBA
*Threatens Disciplinary Action To Any Lawyer Who Disobeys Resolution
*I Am Not Bound By The Resolution Of The NBA — Falana
Renowned Human Rights Activist, Femi Falana, SAN, has said that he is not bound by the resolutions of the Nigerian Bar Association. Femi Falana made this statement when speaking to news men about the NBA resolution asking lawyers to boycott all courts in the land. According to him, the resolution is not of popular demand, hence, some lawyers did not obey the order. Falana added that the crisis facing the legal profession is a self-inflicted injury, and that the NBA did not consider the moral implication of the whole crisis, hence, he cannot persuade myself to engage in solidarity with criminality.
“I left Lagos yesterday to handle my case. I have a contract with my client which supersedes the directive of the NBA. So I thought the court will sit, but unfortunately, the judge is in a seminar in preparation of the sittings of the Election Petition Tribunal which for me is a good excuse.
“I am not bound by the resolutions of the NBA. I have consistently maintained my position in this self-inflicted crisis we are going through. I have condemned, the suspension of the CJN on the basis of an ex-parte order of the CCT, at the same, asking that the suspension be lifted. I have also pleaded with the CJN to do the needful by resigning from office, when there is an opportunity to do it. The NBA did not consider the moral implication of the whole crisis. I cannot persuade myself to engage in solidarity with criminality,” he said.
Speaking further, Mr. Falana said that the NJC should have met in January 15, wherein it had the opportunity to save the legal profession from this colossal embarrassment, but the CJN in his wisdom decided unilaterally to postpone the meeting of the NJC indefinitely. He, therefore, said that he is happy that some members of the NJC requisitioned a meeting, and that he (they) are hoping, regardless of the boycotting of the NBA, that the NJC will follow its own precedent by asking the Honourable Chief Justice to step aside.
He further noted that the NBA advised the NCJ in 2016 to tell the judges charged before the High Court to step aside, but this time around, they are busy mobilizing lawyers, stressing that the picture reminds him of the trial of Mandela, in that a freedom fighter is facing trial and that is not the case here.
He finally added that many lawyers are in defiance of the resolution because it’s not a popular resolution.
“Lawyers have turned up to have their cases heard. Some are in court; some are not. We must operate by the rule of law, and that is what have informed my criticism of the federal Government,” he said.
Another lawyer who spoke on behalf of the NBA, countered the position raised by the learned silk and said that NBA is not celebrating criminality as wrongly stated. According to him, what the NBA is saying is that they should not allow the legal profession to be destroyed in the name of fighting corruption. He also said that what NBA is concerned about is that let due process be followed, stressing that the fast track procedure is more political than legal.
He also stressed that if the NBA passes a resolution, members are expected to comply, adding that they are not supporting the CJN. He further noted that any lawyer whether junior or a senior who do not obey the resolution passed by the NBA must face disciplinary body.
In another development, the NBA Secretary General, Jonathan Gunu Taidi also emphasized that due process be followed in the arraignment of the CJN. According to him, the NBA have not carried arms, but simply advocating for obedience to the rule of law.