*Says Okutepa Seems Disturbed By The Existence Of Junior Lawyers
*Okutepa Says That LPDC Has Been Destroyed

A Former Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, Prof Chidi Odinkalu has been locked in a twitter exchange with a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, J.S. Okutepa over what he perceives as the Okutepa’s disdain for junior lawyers.

In a tweet sighted by TheNigeriaLawyer, the Professor and Human Rights Activist, shared an article written by Okutepa with the caption:

“My good friend, @jibrinSAN seems keen to establish a brand as the #Nigerian lawyer for whom the existence of juniors is a problem. If he believes this stuff he shd do 1 thing: fire all his juniors. By the way, JSO, what do u mean by “fowl languages”?!”

However, in a swift reply, Okutepa distanced himself from the claim made by Prof. Odinkalu. According to him, he was once a junior lawyer and equally has many juniors in his Chambers.

He further stated that when he was a junior lawyer, he never threw insults at his seniors.

“Far from it erudite prof@chidiOdinkalu. On the contrary I have many young lawyers in my Chambers. I was once a young lawyer and I was never rude to any of you who was my seniors. Freedom is not license to insults. Prof you know what I am talking about.”

In his reply, Odinkalu blamed the increased agitation amongst junior lawyers on the rise in impunity and selective dispensation of justice within the Association.

He also reminded Okutepa that he (Okutepa) similarly used to concerned about the elevation of impunity and the inequality in application of the rules of professional conduct and wondered what has changed.

He told Okutepa: “Junior lawyers are legitimately concerned about the fate of a profession in which the only rules that seem applicable to their seniors is impunity, while all the rules of professional conduct apply only to lawyer No-Names. That is worse than a scandal & u used to care about it.

He continued: “That is a matter on which robust expression is very necessary. When the seniors are all gone the way of all mortals, what will they leave behind? If the seniors don’t like it, they can simply subject themselves to the rules that shd apply to us all. Is that too much to ask?”

Okutepa defended himself saying; “I have not stopped to care about it. I am deeply concerned as any one else. But in doing so we must choose the legitimate avenue to deal with it and those who made such suggestions must not be abused just because their views do not accord with others.”

In the lengthy back and forth between both Senior lawyers, Odinkalu insisted that if the seniors are going to insist on creating an exception for themselves from rules supposed to apply to us all lawyers and then monopolise avenues for holding them accountable, Okutepa should not complain if the young lawyers resort to the only platforms that senior lawyers cannot control.

He also stated that if all is well with the LPDC, why would it be suffering the serial resignation of its leadership in such frustration.

He said, “Fact is that the senior lawyers have frustrated the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee. If they are getting digitally mugged by the juniors, they earned it.”

Okutepa on his part also remarked that two wrongs do not make a right, and that the unbecoming behaviours of some Seniors does not warrant insult peddling by young lawyers.

He also exonerated himself of blame for the destruction of the LDPC, saying it is a function of the dysfunctional system.

“We both have duty and responsibility to do what is right. Two wrongs cannot be right. Those who destroyed LPDC are not my products. They are products of the systems we endured. When I prosecuted SANs thereat,the SCN discharged one without looking at merit. Is it not?”

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