By Ise-Oluwa Ige
ABUJA—The immediate past Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Chief Michael Kaase Aondoakaa, SAN, yesterday visited the Supreme Court in Abuja to protest his suspension from the prestigious club of the Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN.
The Legal Practitioners Privileges Committee, LPPC, headed by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Iyorger Katsina-Alu temporarily withdrew the SAN rank from Aondoakaa a couple of weeks ago over allegations of professional misconducts.
The committee probing the allegations against him had invited him to appear before it yesterday to show cause why he should not be permanently stripped of the elitist rank.
The rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, is the most prestigious title awarded in the legal profession.
It is awarded to legal practitioners who have distinguished themselves in practice, researches, morals and with at least 10 years post call experience.
The title is equivalent to the British Queen’s Counsel (QC) or the Irish Senior Counsel (SC).
By operation of law, SANs are entitled to certain privileges over other lawyers when they appear in law courts, including sitting at the first row of the bar exclusively reserved for them and having their cases called first before other lawyers’.
Chief Aondoakaa (SAN) was awarded the SAN title few years back before he became the nation’s Attorney-General of the Federation in 2007 by the Legal Practitioners Privileges Committee (LPPC).
The Committee however barred him, a couple of weeks ago, from using the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) until a decision was reached on a petition against him by the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights.
The Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, Mr. Sunday Olorundahunsi disclosed the suspension to newsmen.
He had explained that the committee’s decision was taken after due consideration of Aondoakaa’s response to a petition written against him by the Committee for the Defence of Human Right (CDHR).
The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) under the leadership of Mr Joseph Bodunrin Daudu (SAN) had faulted the decision of the LPPC on the account that it had no powers to discipline any erring lawyer who is either of the outer or inner bar.
The position of NBA notwithstanding, the LPPC had summoned Andoakaa (SAN) to appear before it yesterday to explain why he should not say final bye-bye to the prestigious rank bestowed on him.
The letter summoning him was dated October 19, 2010 with reference number CJN/LP/3/S.3/595/94. He appeared yesterday in obeisance to the directive.
Vanguard sighted Chief Andoakaa (SAN) at the Conference Room of the Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court at about 9.45am yesterday.
He was there waiting for the members of the LPPC wanting to grill him over some of the allegations by CDHR in its petition which touched on his professional competence and integrity.
Although he was not looking ruffled but a closer look indicated that he looked a man thousands of kilometers away from his thought.
Aondoakaa was however kept there waiting till around 11.30 am when the Chief Registrar of the apex court, Mr Olorundahunsi, came to tell him that the committee would not be sitting again yesterday. No reason was given for the inability of the committee to sit.