Wednesday, December 8, 2021 was a memorable day for over 70 accomplished Nigerian lawyers, their families, friends, associates and well wishers, as they were formally conferred with the prestigious rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria at a solemn ceremony presided over by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, (CJN), Hon. Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad at the Supreme Court in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
Among the new SANs is the former First Vice President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ikeazor Akariwe, the current boss of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Mr. Tony Ojukwu, the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice in Ekiti State, Wale Fapohunda, and a former NBA General Secretary, Chief Emeka Obegolu.
The highly-coveted rank is conferred by the Legal Practitioners Privileges Committee (LPPC) on lawyers who are deemed worthy in character and practice.
Speaking at the ceremony, which also ushers in the 2021/2022 legal year, Justice Mohammed remarked on the many challenges that confronted the Nigerian legal system in the outgone year, and expressed gratitude that the system was able to scale through these challenges.
“As this new legal year unfolds,’ the CJN said, ‘we will like to assure you that we are determined to work assiduously to evolve a judiciary that will be the pride of Nigerians, home and abroad.”
Speaking on the reported invasion of Justice Mary Odili’s residence in October this year, Justice Mohammed warned that it would be a grave error to mistake the silence of the judiciary for stupidity or weakness. “By nature of our work,” he added, “we are conservative, but not a conquered species, and should therefore not be pushed further than this by any individual, institutions or agencies of government.”
In his remarks, the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, commended the efforts of the judiciary in complementing other arms of government in spite of setbacks occasioned by rising insecurity, the Covid 19 pandemic and an unstable economy. He also commended the LPPC for their rigour in the screening and conferment of the SAN rank on deserving lawyers, and urged the maintenance of the same high standards in subsequent exercises.
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