Minister for Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami has ignited the wrath of Nigerian lawyers following his amendment to the rules of professional conduct for legal practitioners (RPC), 2007.
Malami reportedly removed the requirement for the NBA stamp and seal on court processes. He was accused of taking the decision alone and creating room for non-lawyers to submit court processes.
The amendment occurred less than a week after a splinter group known as the New NBA wrote a petition to Malami, asking to be recognised by the Federal Government. The splinter group of mostly northern lawyers had emerged after Governor El-Rufai was removed from the list of speakers in the last NBA conference.
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”, Malami’s alleged wrongdoings which led to the move to strip him of his SAN title (highest rank for lawyers in Nigeria) were also listed.
“Since assumption of office, 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,” the petition read.
“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 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 the time of filing this report, 973 lawyers have signed the petition.