Law Society of Nigeria

From multiple reports, a new association, Law Society of Nigeria (LSN), for lawyers has emerged in Nigeria. LSN is allegedly led by Kunle Ogunba SAN and others. The information was as contained in a statement issued by the National Publicity Secretary of the LSN, Douglas Ogbankwa. Persons listed as members of the Executive of LSN are Kunle Ogunba SAN as President, Nimi Walson-Jack (Vice President); Abdulqadir Alhaji Sani (Secretary); Olasupo Ojo (Welfare Secretary); Mrs Chioma Ferguson (Treasurer); Douglas Ogbankwa (Publicity Secretary); Zara Umar Yakubu (Financial Secretary); Mrs Alice Ogaku Awonugba (Assistant Secretary); and Hassan Sheriff (Assistant Publicity Secretary). 

LSN not new

However, according to TheNigeriaLawyer, acclaimed Convener and Founding Secretary of the LSN, Prince (Dr.) Richard Oma Ahonaruogho SAN, has issued a disclaimer, distancing the LSN from the statement credited to Douglas Ogbankwa and the purported list of executive officers. Prince Ahonaruogho noted that the LSN is not a new association. It was formed in 1994 to save the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) from self-destruction following the 1992 Port-Harcourt crisis. But that over the years, LSN had reviewed the move and resolved that there is need for Nigerian Lawyers to remain under the main umbrella of the NBA. 

Prince Ahonaruogho hinted that he was aware of the recent agitations for the LSN to take off in full fashion but that consultations are ongoing. He described the move by Douglas Ogbankwa and his co-travelers as hasty. 

Whatever the case, the emergence of the LSN appears to be one major challenge the current NBA President, Y. C. Maikyau SAN, OON may have to contend with. Some disgruntled senior members of the Bar seems to be behind the recent development and are working behind the scenes to cause some chaos to the unity of the Bar. 

As at date, the NBA is the only legally recognized association of lawyers. The courts have held in myriad of cases that any lawyer called to the Bar by the Body of Benchers is an automatic member of the NBA. See N.B.A. v. Kehinde [2017] 11 NWLR (Pt. 1576) 225.

While we wait for events to unfold, the starting point for the Y. C. Maikyau led administration may be to consider suspending those masterminding the breakaway association. Denying them NBA stamp may not be a bad idea. The unity of the Bar is non-negotiable. 

Send this to a friend