The Nigerian Bar Association has condemned lawyers ‘shopping’ for judgment, accusing them of ridiculing and perverting the course of justice.
“These developments in our courts are antithetical to the actualisation of the just society and independent judiciary that we all aspire to, and they run contrary to everything we teach and hold dear as a profession,” NBA President Olumide Akpata, in a statement on Monday.
He urged the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Ibrahim Tanko, to wade into the crisis promptly.
Continuing, he noted, “Indeed, they do nothing but bring the judiciary and the entire system of administration of justice to ridicule.”
Mr Akpata said NBA agreed with Justice Chioma Nwosu-Iheme, who censured lawyers for ridiculing judicial processes to get favourable injunctions for politicians and other prominent Nigerians.
“We also concur with the Hon. Justice Chioma Nwosu-Iheme of the Court of Appeal, in her condemnation of the indulgence by some judicial officers of politicians who go round the country shopping for judgments and who thereby bring the judiciary to public ridicule,” said the NBA president.
He added, “Before blaming the judges, we must first look inwards and call out our members, most of whom are senior members of the Bar, who continue to yield themselves to be used as willing tools by politicians to wantonly abuse the judicial process.”
Mr Akpata asserted that the lawyers’ actions “contravene the Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners 2007 (“RPC”) especially the cardinal Rule 1 of the RPC.”
“The @NigBarAssoc has observed with dismay the unfortunate and recurring trend of contradictory court decisions and orders, especially among courts of coordinate jurisdiction, typically arising from ex parte applications and almost always in political matters,” Mr Akpata’s statement added.
He pointed out that conflicting orders issued to PDP’s national chairman Uche Secondus by three different courts of the same jurisdiction were embarrassing.
“We, must of necessity, reference the orders relating to the nomination of candidates by political parties for the forthcoming gubernatorial elections in Anambra state,” Mr Akpata noted. “And the equally embarrassing situation playing out in respect of the PDP leadership crisis that has seen three different contradictory rulings by courts of coordinate jurisdiction, in circumstances that leave a lot to be desired.”