By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA — The first female Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mrs. Patricia Olubunmi Etteh, was among 4,225 new lawyers that were called to the Nigerian Bar, yesterday.
Etteh headed the hallowed green chamber of the Nigerian legislature from June to October 30, 2007.
While administering oath on the new lawyers, yesterday, the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen, warned them against engaging in “sharp practices.”
He said: “As a legal practitioner, you must respond promptly, as reasonably possible, to request for information by your client.
“Negligence in handling a client’s case may be of such a nature as to amount to professional misconduct. You must endeavour to adequately represent your client in all matters you are handling.
“Futhermore, as ministers in the temple of Justice, it is never enough to solely protect the interest of your client. You musty strive to attain justice above all and not derail its course even if it may not favour your client and avoid ‘sharp practices.
“You must not knowingly advance a claim or defence that is unwarranted or with intent to abuse court process or maliciously injure another.
“Always remember that all oral or written communications made by your client in the normal course of professional employment are priviledged. Therefore, you shall not abuse or take advantage of the confidence reposed in you by your client for your personal gain or benefit or for any other consideration.
“Similarly, where you collect money on behalf of your client, you are expected to promptly report and account for it, and shall not mix such money with, or use it as your own. You must promptly ensure that such payment is lodged into the client’s account as soon as possible. The consequences of non-compliance for any legal practitioner could mean liability to the discipline of the profession, via the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee.”