THE Nigerian Bar Association, Ado-Ekiti, Udu and Sapele Branches have condemned the purported amendment of the Rules of Professional Conduct by the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, stating that he lacks the competence to unilaterally do what he has done without the imprimatur of the General Bar Council.
This is contained in a statement issued by the Branch Chairmen which were made available to TheNigeriaLawyer (TNL).
Mr. Adeyemi Adewumi, the Ado-Ekiti Branch Chairman stated while condemning it as follows:
“We adopt the position of the NBA President on the purported amended RPC 2020. We condemn in totality the action of the HAGF who unilaterally amended RPC without recourse to the General Bar Council and /or Nigerian Bar Association.
“For all intents and purposes, the power that the Attorney General of the Federation ascribed to himself pursuant to Section 12(4) of the Legal Practitioners Act does not belong to him but the General Bar Council. He cannot exercise the power without the concurrence and/or the approval of the General Bar Council.
“We reiterate our support for the NBA President in this cause and urge the Nigerian Bar Association to approach the Court immediately for Interlocutory Order directing that the Status Quo Ante be maintained. It is important to overhaul the composition of the General Council of the Bar in the interest of the future of our profession.”
In a similar development, the Chairman of Udu Branch, Mr. Patrick Mekako condemns the purported amendment and restates their support with the NBA President as follows:
“The leadership of the Nigerian Bar Association, Udu Branch and its members condemn in strong terms the purported amendment to the Rules of Professional Conduct (RPC) by the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, SAN.
“We consider the purported amendment done unilaterally by the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation as ultra-vires his powers as the requisite power to do so rests only on the General Council of the Bar in accordance with the provisions of the Legal Practitioners’ Act.
“We believe that the said purported amendment is a ploy by the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation to bring to disrepute the integrity of the profession which has been built over time. This amendment without doubt will open the floodgate for non-lawyers to parade themselves as lawyers and impugn the integrity and dignity of the legal profession.
“Consequently we adopt the statement made by our President on the issue and support it in its entirety. We hereby urge our members to remain calm as we await further updates from the NBA President.”
In addition, the Chairman of Sapele Branch, S.C Odoh equally noted that the AGF is bereft of the power to so unilaterally amend thus:
“The NBA SAPELE BRANCH condemns in it’s entirety the purported amendment of the Rules of Professional Conduct in the Legal Profession by the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation (HAGF) without the sanction of the General Council of the Bar.
“We adopt the Statement issued today by the President of NBA, OLUMIDE AKPATA, ESQ, and restate that the HAGF cannot tinker the RPC without the sanction of the General Council of the Bar. It’s in deed strongly believed that the act of HAGF was vendattious and premeditated.
“It was a bizarre show of crass ignorance of the law and abuse of office; otherwise, how could the HAGF have proceeded to deprive the NBA of all legitimate means of income? The purported amendment and gazetting of the RPC is ultra vires the HAGF and cannot be allowed to stand.
“NBA Sapele Branch solidly stand behind the Administration of Olumide Akpata, Esq to ensure that we come out Victorious in this trying time.”