A new professional body of lawyers, Law Society of Nigeria(LSN) on Sunday November 30, 2022 has been announced putting an end to the monopoly of the Nigerian Bar Association(NBA) as the only professional association of legal practitioners in Nigeria.
However the ink on which the announcement was written is yet to get dry when an objection was made by a senior lawyer, Dr Richard Oma Ahonaruogho SAN who says the executive committee announced by Ogbankwa is not known to LSN.
LSN according to the announcement is led by a protem executive committee led by Mr Kunle Ogunba SAN. He listed other members of LSN executive as Mr Nimi Walson-Jack, Vice President; Mr Abdulqadir Alhaji Sani, Secretary; Mr Olasupo Ojo, Welfare Secretary; and Mrs Chioma Ferguson, Treasurer. Other executive members are Mr Douglas Ogbankwa, Publicity Secretary; Mr Zara Umar Yakubu, Financial Secretary; Mrs Alice Ogaku Awonugba, Assistant Secretary; and Mr Hassan Sheriff, Assistant Publicity Secretary.
For 89 years, legal practitioners in Nigeria had been regulated solely under the umbrella of NBA which was founded in 1933. Ogbankwa said that LSN emerged in a bid to redefine the ideas of the founding fathers of the legal profession.
He referred to the new society as the “new sheriff in town”. He described the legal profession in Nigeria as having a checkered history spanning from ”the sublime to the ridiculous”.
Ogbankwa said that LSN was established to keep the legal practice in Nigeria in line with international best practices. “In redefining the ideas of the founding fathers of the legal profession in Nigeria, the Law Society of Nigeria, a new professional association of lawyers called the Nigerian Bar, has been established. This is in keeping with International best practices, which allow for an alternative, to ensure that lawyers thrive within the realm of those they have shared values with,” he said.
Already, LSN has written a letter to the Body of Benchers informing the regulatory body of its establishment. According to Ogbankwa, in a letter dated Oct. 24, the protem National Executive Committee of LSN notified the Body of Benchers of the association’s existence and its national officers.
“The LSN, with membership, spread all over Nigeria, exists to empower the legal profession with quality member services, facilitate access to justice, maintain and advance the cause of justice, and promote the rule of law through advocacy and good governance,” he stated.
“It is on the verge of uncommon and necessary reforms in our legal annals and the ageless egalitarian posture on the freedom to lawfully associate, that the LSN also writes to your distinguished body, introducing herself,” he stated.
However, Dr Ahonaruogho wrote a disclaimer of the purported protem national executives of NLS on Sunday evening. www.thegavel.com.ng got the disclaimer at 5.43pm.
It stated thus:
Disclaimer of the purported Pro Tem National Executives of the Law Society of Nigeria (NLS).
- My attention has just been drawn to the purported Executive Committee of the Law Society of Nigeria (NLS) and hereby wish to assure all Legal Practitioners in Nigeria that the purported Executive Committee is unknown to the Law Society of Nigeria (NLS).
- The Law Society of Nigeria (NLS) was incorporated on 28th December, 1994, by my goodself, Richard Oma Ahonaruogho, as Convener and as Secretary with Mr. Charles I. Idehen as Chairman.
- The idea was to save the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) from self-destruction after the 1992 Port Harcourt crises and we have over the years reviewed the need to keep the Nigerian Lawyers under the main umbrella of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA).
- Recent events in the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) have led to an increasing agitation for the full commencement of activities of the Law Society of Nigeria (LSN) for which some representatives of the persons now claiming to be Executives of the Law Society of Nigeria (LSN) held a meeting with me and one of the promoters of the Law Society of Nigeria on 6th October, 2022, in Lagos, where their appeal for the commencement of full activities was tabled, considered and deferred for further consultations with some of the other key promoters and the sole surviving Trustees.
- That consultation is ongoing and the hasty announcement by the said letter with reference number LDN/BOB/C/2022/Vol. 1/001 , on the indicated subject
‘LAW SOCIETY OF NIGERIA:
NOTICE OF EXISTENCE AND NATIONAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE’ to the Body of Benchers of its pro tem National Executives of the Law Society of Nigeria (LSN), namely :
- Kunle Ogunba, SAN – President
- Hon. Nimi Walson-Jack – Vice President
- Abdulqadir Alhaji Sani – Secretary
- Olasupo Ojo – Welfare Secretary
- Chioma Ferguson – Treasurer
- Douglas Ogbankwa – Publicity Secretary
- Zara Umar Yakub – Financial Secretary
- Alice Ogaku Awonugba – Assistant Secretary
- Hassan Sherif – Assistant Publicity Secretary;
are with respect to them unknown to the Law Society of Nigeria (NLS), and should be disregarded by all Nigerian Lawyers and the Distinguished Body of Benchers of Nigeria to whom the letter dated 24th October, 2022, was written.
- The logo and Motto – Justice For All on the purported letter claiming to be that of the Law Society of Nigeria (LSN) are alien to the Law Society of Nigeria (NLS) and amounts to the tort of passing-off.
- That the offices known to the Law Society of Nigeria (NLS) as provided for in Article 6 of the Constitution of the Law Society of Nigeria dated 10th February, 1994, and submitted to the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) are as follows:
- CHAIR OF THE HOUSE OF DELEGATES
- EXECUTIVE VICE-PRESIDENT
- In conclusion on behalf of the Promoters of the Law Society of Nigeria (LSN) and as Founding Secretary, I hereby state categorically that NO EXECUTIVE has been appointed for the Law Society of Nigeria as at today, Sunday 30th October, 2022, and that the purported notice should be disregarded.
Prince (Dr.) Richard Oma Ahonaruogho, SAN, CONVENER AND FOUNDING SECRETARY, LAW SOCIETY OF NIGERIA (LSN)
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