December 10, 2022

Why we didn’t consider NBA petition against Olanipekun, before call to bar event – Body of Benchers


By Innocent Anaba  

The Body of Benchers, BoB, has said that the petition by the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, through its president, Mr. Yakubu Maikyau SAN, asking the Chairman of BoB, Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN, to recuse himself from presiding over the just concluded call to bar ceremonies, was not considered because the  

the sole business of the day was the call to bar event.

The body insisted that since the letter was written to  Olanipekun, he must reply before the body decides one way or the other.

It also noted that NBA’s letter was received by the body at 9.32 a.m., on December 5, the morning of the meeting with majority of the members claiming they were yet to receive the letter.

Recal that NBA through it’s President, had boycotted the call to bar event,  saying that BoB did not consider its letter for Olanipekun to recuse himself from presiding over the ceremonies over sundry allegations against his law firm.

But BoB in a statement by the Secretary, Daniel Tela, yesterday,   said: “It is on record that the Media (print and social media) has been agog with reports regarding the call by NBA for the Chairman of the Body of Benchers, Chief Olanipekun, not to preside over the Call to Bar ceremonies. This widely circulated call, has saturated the media space, from December 4, 2022 till now.

“At the meeting of the Body of Benchers held on December 5, 2022, which notice was given on November 14, 2022, the sole item for discussion was consideration of the Report of the Screening Committee of the Body, preparatory to the Call to Bar Ceremonies; 

“The report was duly considered and approved. Under AOB, the President of NBA informed members that he had written a letter to the Chairman of the Body to which the Chairman stated that although he had not read the letter as it was not yet brought to his attention, he was aware of the fact that it had already been circulated in the media, particularly the social media, and that despite the fact that the letter was personally addressed to him and not to the Body, he was prepared to wave all his rights as he would want it discussed, one way or the other in view of the contents of the letter which centred on his personality and integrity.”

“The NBA President then stated that he sent the letter to members’ mails in the evening of December 4, 2022, and also made copies of the said letter and brought to the meeting, but majority of the members responded that they were yet to receive such mail. Some members were of the view that the letter was definitely not ripe for consideration, assuming it was meant or addressed to the Body. The said letter was received at the Body of Benchers Secretariat at 9.32am on December 5, 2022

“Despite the comments and contributions of members, the Chairman still passionately pleaded that the matter be taken and made reference to a previous letter written in July, 2022 on the eve of Call to Bar Ceremonies. Majority of members were of the view that the Chairman drop his insistence that the matter be conclusively decided, bearing in mind several factors, including the fact that majority of the members did not receive the email, coupled with the fact the Call to Bar subject was too important and central to the Body and the content of the letter was not such that could be taken under AOB. Furthermore, the letter was addressed to the Chairman, Body of Benchers, therefore, there was need for the Chairman’s response to be received for proper consideration;

“It was, therefore, resolved that the matter be taken at the emergency meeting of the Body scheduled to take place in January, 2023, at a date to be communicated to members. Thereafter, the motion for adjournment of the meeting was moved. The Body frowned at the use of the Social Media platform in forwarding sensitive official communication”.