Social and bar analyst, Steve U. Nwankwo alias Steve Sun has disputed the proprietary of the suspension of former General Secretary of the Nigerian Bar Association(NBA) Nimi Walson-Jack from the National Executive Council for providing legal services to the facilitators of the Law Society of Nigeria — a prospecting breakaway bar association.
Nwankwo, who practises in Ebonyi State posited that:
“When a person commits a crime (including heinous crimes…..paedophilia, ritual killings, massacres, or even internet fraud…) the person will be entitled to a legal practitioner of his choice and oftentimes even where they can’t afford a lawyer, one will be appointed to represent them.
That’s the hallmark of civilized societies, where the rule of law frowns at jungle justice,” He asserted.
“That also, is the hallmark of the legal profession, administration of justice, where lawyers dispassionately represent clients.
Therefore if past General Secretary, Walson-Jack actively participated in the Law Society formation, i believe that amounts to indiscipline and is deserving of disciplinary action. But if his legal services were simply retained by the promoters of the vexatious body, then i don’t think it’s proper to subject him to any form of disciplinary action and same ought to be condemned by all well-meaning lawyers, because it’s a slippery slope with unpredictable and unintended outcomes.” Nwankwo submitted.
“If a sitting President is unhappy with Alegeh or Daudu or Agbakoba or Mahmoud or Osigwe or Obegolu or Olagunju, what stops such sitting President from summarily suspending any of the above-mentioned persons from NEC.??
We all know that in the composition of NEC, there are statutory members and non-statutory members (otherwise referred to as co-opted NEC Members).
Though not expressly mentioned in the CNBA, but it can be reasonably argued that the co-opted members (unlike the statutory members) serve at the pleasure of the President/NEC.”
I have also carefully looked at the “special” provisions of Section 8 of the CNBA, and it makes no mention of suspending any member, let alone a statutory member.
If at all you want to express your dissatisfaction with an erring statutory member, there are things that can be done, such as denying the person some of the perks otherwise enjoyable by his peers such as complimentary accomodation and transportation.”
As lawyers, we must always be careful not to create or allow the impression to be created that those who profess the promotion of the Rule of Law as their motto, are the ones who are wont to apply jungle justice when it best suits them.
I remember expressing similar sentiments during the Akpata/Oduah feud last year.
Thanks and God bless.” He concluded.