NBA disqualifies Abuja lawyer, Giwa from contesting for Branch Chairman

Ogunsakin Mustapha
5 Min Read
Victor Giwa

The bid by an Abuja based lawyer, Victor Giwa to become the Chairman of the Garki branch of Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has been scuttled as the NBA Elections Appeal Committee disqualified him over petitions of professional misconduct against him.

In the report of the committee signed by its chairman, Abdul Atadoga Ibrahim SAN, and Secretary, Oluronke Adeyemi, the NBA appellate committee stated that although it is not in a position to predict the outcome of petitions against Giwa before the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee (LPDC), and criminal charges against him pending in court, it will not be in interest and good image of NBA to see its chairman being dragged in such cases.

It stated: “This committee is not in the position to decide on whether the criminal case filed against the
Respondent has substance or whether the aforesaid Victor Giwa is guilty of professional misconduct. Far from it, Victor Giwa enjoys and will continue to enjoy presumption of  innocence. More so, he has not been convicted of any offence by any Court of law or the
Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee;

Be that as it may, part of the objectives of Nigerian Bar Association are as follows: “Maintenance and defence of the integrity and independence of the Bar and the Judiciary in Nigeria and maintenance of the highest standards of professional conduct, etiquette and
discipline;

With the avalanche of documents attached to the petition written to the Electoral Committee and failure on the part of Victor Giwa to bring any documents to contradict the
position (except a bare denial) we the Electoral Appeal Committee are of the firm view that there are a lot of unresolved issues surrounding his candidacy and aspiration to lead the Bar;

While not adjudging the Respondent guilty of any issue, it is in the interest of the Bar, which he seeks to lead, for him to resolve the controversies and pending suits and disciplinary
issues involving him first. It impugns on the integrity of the Bar for its leader to be going before courts and Committees,
standing in the dock and struggling to save his neck in criminal litigation as this will definitely affect his concentration on running a responsible Bar. The Committee hereby direct the removal of the name of Victor Giwa from the list of candidates on the ground that he has unresolved issues before the Legal Practitioners”.

This decision follows allegations of documented misconduct and an imminent arraignment on an eight-count criminal charge related to illegal eviction. The complaint was lodged by Ms. Asabe Waziri, founder of the Asabe Waziri Justice Advocacy Initiative (AWJAI), who accused Giwa of blackmail and orchestrating her illegal eviction, after which he was appointed as Director. The Attorney General of the Federation has also filed a nine-count charge against Giwa, and he is currently before the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee.

The Committee reviewed the petition titled “Documented Misconduct: Victor Giwa’s Candidacy Raises Ethical Concerns” and found substantial documentation supporting the allegations against Giwa. Despite Giwa’s denial, he failed to provide contradictory evidence. The Committee emphasized the need to maintain the integrity and independence of the Bar and Judiciary, stating that unresolved legal and disciplinary issues make Giwa’s candidacy inappropriate.

Additionally, the Committee disqualified another candidate, Ogechi Duruaku, following a petition from AG Samuel Esq, dated May 28, 2023. The petition argued that both Giwa and Duruaku failed to meet the required attendance of five branch meetings within the previous twelve months, as stipulated by the Uniform Bye Laws. The Committee verified that the electoral committee incorrectly extended the attendance period to enable Giwa and Duruaku to qualify, which contravenes the prescribed rules.

The Committee’s unanimous decision reflects a strict adherence to the provisions of Article 14 (1)(b) of the Uniform By-laws, emphasizing the importance of compliance with established regulations. Consequently, both candidates have been disqualified from participating in the forthcoming branch election.

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