Nigerian lawyers are agitated with the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, and are calling for the NBA to strip him of his SAN title. The Minister sometimes last week allegedly amended the Rules of Professional Conduct for legal practitioners (RPC) without consultation. The AGF was said to have removed the requirement requiring lawyers to append their stamp and seal to all documents submitted for the court process.
The grievances of the NBA are that they accuse the Minister of unilaterally taking a decision without the consent of the NBA body which they say would open room for non-lawyers to be making a submission in the court process.
Malami took the decision after a fall out of the body that leads to the creation of a factional body called the New Nigerian Bar Association (NNBA) from the main Nigerian Bar Association.
Subsequently, the NNBA wrote a petition to the AGF demanding the Ministry to recognize them as one of the decisions making body of lawyers in the country.
It was revealed that the new splinter group constitutes mostly aggrieved northern lawyers who were angered by the 11th-hour decision of withdrawing Governor El-Rufa’i invitation to participate in the list of speakers in the year 2020 NBA conference.
Consequently, the lawyers are calling for Malami’s head to be striped of the SAN title in a petition started on Cange.org by, Izu Aniagu and titled “Sign to strip Nigeria’s AGF, Abubakar Malami the title of Senior Advocate of Nigeria.”
The petition partly reads: “Since his assumption of office as the Attorney-General of the Federation has continued to go rogue, from his disobedience to court order, to his lackluster prosecution, to his outright failure to prosecute, to allegations of corruption and bias against his person, to the usurpation of office, to shielding of suspects, to his general dereliction of duty.
“This time, the AGF has decided to take his imprudence to top-notch by unilaterally deleting the provisions of the Rules of Professional Conduct which provide for stamp and seal as well as bar practicing fee for government lawyers. The AGF does not have such power. Section 12 (4) of the LPA gives the General Council of the Bar power to make any such amendment and make other decisions concerning the NBA.
“There is no record of any meeting convened by the Attorney General of the Federation who is the president of The Bar Council. The AGF took the decision alone and his actions constitute a threat to the rule of law. His action is totally shameful and is undeserving of a lawyer in the rank of a Senior Advocate, let alone a Chief Law Officer of the federation.”
As of yesterday, about 973 lawyers have already signed the petition to strip Malami of the SAN title.