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Body of Benchers appoints AGF Malami “Life Bencher” amidst RPC Unilateral Amendment backlash

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Attorney-General & Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami SAN was yesterday appointed “Life Bencher” by the Body of Benchers, according to a report.

This is coming on the heels of a petition by some lawyers calling for Malami to be stripped of the rank of “Senior Advocate of Nigeria” over his alleged unilateral amendment of the 2007 Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners.

Recall that the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) President, Mr. Olumide Akpata in a statement on Sunday directed lawyers to disregard the new Rules, insisting that they were made without authority.

Malami had come under fire from several Bar Leaders for allegedly usurping the powers of the General Council of the Bar to issue a gazette amending the Rules.

But the Body of Benchers apparently shoved all the controversies aside to bequeath the nation’s chief law officer with its highest rank. The Body of Benchers meeting was presided over by former Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) President, Chief O. C. J. Okocha SAN.

Others awarded the rank are Justice A. G. Mshelia, Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeal, Jos; Justice Suleiman Kawu, Chief Judge of Kwara State; Justice P. O. Nnadi, Chief Judge of Imo State; Justice M. L. Abimbola, Chief Judge of Oyo State; Kaka Shehu Lawan, Attorney-General of Borno State; Uwemedimo Nwoko, Attorney-General of Akwa Ibom State; Mr. Sulaiman Usman, Attorney-General of Sokoto State; Mr. Francis Chuka Agbu SAN, NBA Representative at the Body of Benchers; Chief Ferdinand Orbih SAN, NBA Representative at the Body of Benchers; Dr. T. C. Osanakpo SAN, NBA Representative at the Body of Benchers, and Mr. Joe Agi SAN who was before now a bencher.

It will be recalled that the Body of Benchers is a body of the highest legal distinction in Nigeria. Regulating the legal profession including setting standards for admitting into legal profession persons that have been found fit and proper to practice as Solicitors and Barristers as well as maintaining the discipline of lawyers are amongst its statutory responsibilities.

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