Lawyers in the country have begun a move to strip the Minister for Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami of his Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, title.
This is following Malami’s amendment to the rules of professional conduct for legal practitioners (RPC), 2007. The AGF is stated to have removed the requirement for the NBA stamp and seal on court processes.
The lawyers accused the Minister of taking the decision without proper consultation and creating room for non-lawyers to submit court processes.
The AGF took the decision barely a week after a splinter group known as the New NBA emerged from the Nigerian Bar Association. The group had written a petition to Malami, asking his Ministry to recognise it as a decision making body of lawyers in the country.
The New NBA is mostly a group of aggrieved northern lawyers who were angered by Governor Nasir El-Rufai’s removal from the list of speakers in the 2020 NBA conference.
The lawyers are calling for Malami to be stripped of SAN in the petition started on Change.org by Izu Aniagu and titled “Sign to strip Nigeria’s AGF, Abubakar Malami the title of Senior Advocate of Nigeria.”
The petition added:
“Since his assumption of office as the Attorney-General of the Federation has continued to go rogue, from his disobedience to court order, to his lackluster prosecution, to his outright failure to prosecute, to allegations of corruption and bias against his person, to usurpation of office, to shielding of suspects, to his general dereliction of duty.
“This time, the AGF has decided to take his imprudence to top-notch by unilaterally deleting the provisions of the Rules of Professional Conduct which provide for stamp and seal as well as bar practicing fee for government lawyers. The AGF does not have such power. Section 12 (4) of the LPA gives the General Council of the Bar power to make any such amendment and make other decisions concerning the NBA.
“There is no record of any meeting convened by the Attorney General of the Federation who is the president of The Bar Council. The AGF took the decision alone and his actions constitute a threat to the rule of law. His action is totally shameful and is underserving of a lawyer in the rank of a Senio Advocate, let alone a Chief Law Officer of the federation.”
As at yesterday, 973 lawyers have signed the petition to strip Malami of SAN title.