Legal Nigeria

ICPC lawyer not qualified to practice, Suspended UNICAL professor tells court

Prof. Cyril Ndifon, the suspended Dean of Faculty of Law, University of Calabar (UNICAL), has told a Federal High Court, Abuja that Osuobeni Akponimisingha, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC)’s counsel, was not qualified to practice as lawyer.

Prof. Ndifon, through his lawyer, Joe Agi, SAN, made the allegation in a motion on notice marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/511/2023 before Justice James Omotosho.

The suspended dean, who alleged that Akponimisingha’s name was not on the roll of legal practitioners in Nigeria pursuant to Section 2 of the Legal Practitioners Act, prayed the court to quashed the four-count charge against him and his co-defendant, Mr Sunny Anyanwu.

In the motion dated and filed March 15, the senior lawyer told the court that the amended charge was incompetent as a result of the disputed identity of the anti-graft agency’s lawyer, and robbed the court of its jurisdiction to entertain the matter.

Agi said he owed the court the duty to bring the alleged professional misconduct by Akponimisingha, as well as a breach of the law of the land, to the attention of the court as sworn to by him in his oath of declaration as Senior Advocate of Nigeria.

According to him, the amended charge was preferred by one Dr Osuobeni Ekoi Akponimisingha a person whose name is not on the roll of Legal Practitioners in Nigeria pursuant to Section 2 of the Legal Practitioners Act.

“That Joshua E. Alobo who appears for the prosecution as counsel as a private legal oractitioner in a criminal case does not have the fiat of the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation.

An order of court referring both Osuobeni Ekoi Akponimisingha and Joshua E. Alobo to the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee for answering and caused to print on their processes the title ‘Dr’ and ‘Professor’ when they do not have the academic qualifications to show for the titles thereby misrepresenting themselves to the public and bringing legal profession to ridicule and shame.”

Also in the affidavit in support of the motion deposed to by Anyanwu, he said the grant of the application would aid the cause of justice and also aid the mandates of the ICPC established to fight corruption in all sphere of our nation.

According to him, it will be in the interest of justice to allow the reliefs sought having regard to the entire circumstances of this case.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Ndifon was, on Jan. 25, re-arraigned alongside Anyanwu on an amended four-count charge bordering on alleged sexual harassment and attempt to perverse the cause of justice.

Anyanwu, who is one of the lawyers in the defence, was joined in the amended charge filed on Jan. 22 by the ICPC on allegation that he called TKJ, the star witness, on her mobile telephone during the pendency of the charge against Ndifon to threatened her.

Source: NAN