The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has cautioned lawyers, particularly those handling cases at the Election Petition Tribunals to conduct themselves professionally or face disciplinary measures. The NBA President, Mr. Augustine Alegeh, made the call on yesterday in Sokoto at the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the Association, a statement signed by Alegeh, made available to newsmen in Abuja said.
The statement quoted the NBA boss as saying it was not incumbent on lawyers to win election petition cases at all cost. He said “this is a season of election petitions and lawyers must understand that there is no duty on them to win election petitions at all costs. “We do not want a repeat of the unfortunate incidence of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) not just losing his silk but also being de-robed for work done at the Election Petition Tribunal.
“Modern interpretative terms on what amounts to professional misconduct are more liberal now and the liberal interpretation is that any act by a lawyer in any capacity may lead to disciplinary measures from the NBA. “The era of `I was not acting as a lawyer, I was acting as a businessman when I issued the dud cheque is gone.’’ Alegeh added that the NBA would organise a training seminar in collaboration with the UN Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC) on how to handle cases of terrorism.
He explained that “sometime in late August or early September, we will organise a seminar on the fundamental rights aspects of investigation, prosecution and trial of terrorism cases“This training shall be free for all lawyers. We believe that when lawyers are well equipped with the letters of the law, the society is better off for it.’’ The NBA president also said that the association had continued to play pivotal role in the current face-off between members of Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) and the government at both federal and state levels.
“Owing to the important role played by the NBA, the Federal Government appointed the NBA as the official mediator in the settlement process. “The NBA was able to mediate proactively at all levels and was able to ensure the suspension of the JUSUN strike at the national level and in all but eight states of the federation. “In line with the resolution of our NEC in March, we have instituted actions against Benue and Plateau states on behalf of JUSUN.