On Monday, as part of the beginning of the 2020/21 new legal year, the Supreme Court decorated awarded 72 legal practitioners with the rank of Senior Advocates of Nigeria(SAN).
The ceremony which took place at about 10:00am at the main Courtroom of the Supreme Court was conducted by Justice Bode Rhodes-Vuvour on behalf of the chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice ibrahim muhammad said;
“It is the fervent desire of every legal practitioner in Nigeria to be a Senior Advocate, but it doesn’t come that way, as hardwork, perseverance, endurance and courage are required to touch the finish line. You must roll up your sleeves and get down to work with unrestrained enthusiasm and dexterity; then you can begin to coast home to victory.
“Legal practice is not for the mentally docile or those averse to breaking new grounds, even in the face of daunting challenges.
Among the new SANs are the Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC), Professor Bolaji Owasanoye, Akwa Ibom State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Uwemedimo Nwoko, Delta State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Peter Mrakpo and Uzoma Azikiwe.
While describing the outgoing legal year as, “An unusual year in the history of mankind that many wished it never existed, Rhodes-Vivour noted that the Judiciary, in spite of the enormous challenge was able to hear 697 civil, 168 criminal and 35 political cases, totalling 700 out of 908 cases filed in 2019/2020 legal year.
“In the same vein, the court considered a total number of 208 appeals, being 134 civil, 52 criminal and 22 political. In all, a total number of 189 judgments were given within the legal year under review”, he added.
Worried by bad behaviours of some lawyers, the CJN warned that, any lawyer involved in any unprofessional conduct shall be severely sanctioned.
In urging lawyers to show ability and capacity to counsel their clients rightly and, “not mislead them for pecuniary gains,” he stressed that, “obedience of lawful court orders has no alternative in any society. A threat to this is simply a call for anarchy,” he said.
In his address on the occasion, the National President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr Olumide Akpata (SAN), made case for improved welfare for judicial officers at all levels, adding that it is high time true autonomy is instated for the Judiciary.
Akpata, who noted that the, “Fight against corruption is best fought by tackling the incentives for corruption such as the extremely inadequate compensation packages for our Judicial and public officers generally.”