A university professor previously suspended for examination malpractice has made the shortlist for conferment as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) – sparking controversy given the rank’s integrity requirements.
Professor Benedicta Daudu of Taraba State University was among 69 lawyers shortlisted by the Legal Practitioners’ Privileges Committee (LPPC) for the 2023 SAN award. However, Daudu was caught cheating in a postgraduate exam while at the University of Jos years ago.
After the scandal was exposed, Daudu was sacked from President Buhari’s anti-corruption advisory committee in 2016. The University of Jos later suspended her for a session before reaching a settlement where she resigned.
Despite this past academic impropriety, the professor proceeded to become dean of Taraba State University’s law faculty. Now her shortlisting for the prestigious SAN title has raised eyebrows.
The selection criteria emphasizes candidates’ integrity and reputation. The LPPC also invites public petitions on the nominees, meaning Daudu may face objections in the interview stage.
Other shortlisted lawyers include human rights activists Femi Falana and Kayode Ajulo, former PDP legal adviser Emmanuel Enoidem, and ex-NBA Abuja chair Agada Elachi.
Daudu’s appointment as SAN is not guaranteed, but her inclusion on the shortlist despite her cheating past has sparked criticism. Some argue it undermines the award’s ethics and rigorous selection process.
However, Daudu could take legal action if denied the rank over the prior settled case. The saga illustrates the complexities in balancing accountability for wrongdoing with upholding rehabilitation and progress.