The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) says it has filed petitions against several legal practitioners including, Mr Hudu Yunusa-Ari and Ifunanya Excel Grant aka “baddest lawyer”, at the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee (LPDC) seeking disciplinary actions against their alleged unbecoming professional misconduct.
In a statement made available to THE WHISTLER on Saturday, the NBA petitioned Miss Ifunanya, a member of the NBA Abia branch, over complaints bordering on “her social media notoriety of posting pictures and videos of herself unclad and smoking marijuana.”
Mr Yunusa-Ari, a National Electoral Commissioner (REC) suspended by the Independent National Electoral Commissioner (INEC), was petitioned for “illegally declaring the result of the supplementary 2023 gubernatorial election in Adamawa State while votes were still being counted.”
Based on the officially gazetted LPDC Rules 2020 obtained by THE WHISTLER, the Committee within the Body of Benchers (BoB) is saddled with the responsibility of determining an allegation of misbehaviour against a legal practitioner after the conclusion of proceedings.
Rules 21 to 23 stipulate certain punishments for the guilty including suspension from practice or admonition.
Part of the LPDC Rules reads, “If, after the hearing, the Disciplinary Committee finds that the allegation of infamous conduct in a professional respect has been proved, the Disciplinary Committee may if it thinks fit, give direction-
(a) ordering the Registrar to strike the name of the legal practitioner off
the roll; or
“(B) suspending the legal practitioner from practice by ordering him not to
engage in practice as a legal practitioner for such period as may be specified
in the direction ; or
(c) admonishing the legal practitioner:
(D) where appropriate, requiring the refund of funds that may have come into his hands in the course of the transaction subject matter of the Application
or the handing over of documents or any other thing as the circumstances
of the matter may require ; or
Provided that in its discretion the Disciplinary Committee may direct that the
legal practitioner should be subjected to more than one of the orders at the same time.”
Furthermore, the NBA opened an investigation into sexual assault allegations against the suspended Dean of the Faculty of Law, University of Calabar, Prof. Cyril Ndifon.
The prof was suspended after university female students accused him of harassing them for grades and promotion.
An investigation was equally opened regarding bribery allegations against the National Assembly and State House of Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Kano.
The alarm was raised by the Chairman of the Tribunal, Justice Flora Azinge.
The judge revealed that one of her members was being pressured to collect huge sums of money by one of the parties before her.
The NBA President, Mr Yakubu Chonoko Maikyau, SAN, urged those under probe to cooperate with its fact-finding committee while warning colleagues against becoming “bad eggs” in the profession.
The statement forwarded by Akorede Habeeb Lawal, NBA National Publicity Secretary, partly reads” This decision was reached by the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the NBA at her recent monthly meeting presided over by the NBA President, Mr Yakubu Chonoko Maikyau, OON SAN and which had all National Officers of the association in attendance.
“The NBA NEC subsequently empanelled an ad-hoc committee comprising the 1st Vice President of the NBA, Mrs Linda Rose Bala, the Assistant General Secretary of the NBA, Mr Daniel Kip, Chairperson of NBA Women’s Forum and the Chairman of the NBA Calabar Branch, to investigate the allegations against the University Don.
“You may also be aware of the recent media report of the attempted bribe of Justice Flora Azinge of the National Assembly and State House of Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Kano.
“The NBA has, by a letter dated 16th August 2023, formally requested his lordship to avail the NBA of further details in this regard to enable investigation into this allegation.
“In a similar vein, the National Officers also deliberated at their earlier monthly meeting over the unbecoming conduct of some members of the legal profession.
” Following the resolutions of the National Officers, the NBA has filed petitions at the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee (LPDC) against Mr Hudu Yunusa-Ari, the suspended Adamawa State Resident Electoral Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and Ifunanya Excel Grant, a young lawyer of Aba Branch wildly known as “the baddest lawyer” on social media.
“While it is important to underscore the fact that none of the lawyers petitioned or being investigated is deemed guilty of professional misconduct until the LPDC hands down its decisions after fair trial, the NBA President has emphasised the need for lawyers to continue to be of best conduct wherever they find themselves, and he reiterated that the present NBA leadership will not relent in ridding the profession of the very few bad eggs that may be found.”