BY INNOCENT ANABA
ABUJA— A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has been asked to order Chairman of the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee, LPDC, Justice Umaru Eri, to step aside, following allegation of corruption against him, pending his investigation and clearance by the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission, ICPC.
Plaintiff in the suit, a member of the committee, Prof. Abiodun Adesanya, SAN, is arguing that “following the allegations, he wrote to the defendant to refrain from further participating in the activities of LPDC but rather he chose to call off a meeting of the LPDC scheduled for March 28, 2011, at which a temporary and substitute chairman would have been elected.”
Justice Eri, who is also the administrator of the National Judicial Institute, NJI, is being investigated for a N6 billion fraud at the NJI by the ICPC and is said not to have honoured an invitation extended to him by the anti-corruption agency for questioning over the allegations.
Prof Adesanya further alleged that Justice Eri instructed the secretary to inform members of the Committee that the meeting had been postponed because of the forthcoming elections, “as if the dates for elections were not known to him before the fixing of the date and moreover , the courts and offices will operate during the election.”
According to him, “it is a monumental scandal to both the legal profession and the plaintiff that the chairman of a committee of which the plaintiff is a member and which committee decision is binding is being investigated for misappropriation of public funds and that the defendant still insists on sitting in judgment over other persons being tried.
“It has never happened in the history of the LPDC that a person who is being investigated for misappropriation of funds or even lesser crime is appointed to sit in judgment over other persons and I was surprised to see the defendant on television as one of the speakers at an induction of new electoral judges by the NJI.