Law & Human Rights

May 30, 2024

Body of Benchers’ chair: Ex-NBA chief, Alegeh plots sack of Awomolo

judges’ poor salaries

•Gets court order to stop his removal as BoB Appointment Committee chair

By Ise-Oluwa Ige

Former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Mr Augustine Oyarekhua Alegeh, SAN, is plotting to remove a respected silk and Chairman of Body of Benchers, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo, SAN from office.

Alegeh, who is aggrieved by the decision of Chief Awomolo, SAN, to remove him as chairman of Appointment Committee of BoB has already filed a lawsuit at the registry of the Federal High Court in Lagos to secure the required order to unseat the prominent silk.

In fact, he had approached the court by way of an exparte motion to remove Awomolo from office before the hearing of his substantive case against the BoB chair.

But the trial high court judge, Justice A. Lewis-Alagoa, had turned down the invitation by Alegeh on the account that he could not grant such an order exparte.

The judge who said Alegeh’s request could only be considered at interlocutory stage, however, stopped the chairman of Body of Benchers, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo, SAN, from removing Alegeh, SAN, as chairman of Body of Benchers Appointment Committee, pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.

Chief Awomolo, SAN assumed leadership of the Body of Benchers on April 1, 2024.

The Body of Benchers is the legal body of practitioners of the highest distinction in the legal profession, which is responsible for the formal call to the Bar of persons seeking to become legal practitioners as well as disciplining of erring lawyers.

He took over from a former Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Justice Mary Ukaego Odilli after her tenure expired.

But as soon as  Chief Awomolo took over, few of the few decisions he took regarding on how he intended to run the BoB in the next one year enraged few members of the august body including a life bencher and former President of the NBA, Mr Alegeh, SAN.

Although there were informal meetings arranged by the duo of Awomolo and Alege to settle the grievances between them, all efforts proved futile.

Alegeh who is presently in court is urging the trial high court judge to restrain Chief Awomolo, SAN from further holding the exalted office of the chairman of Body of Benchers.

In the substantive suit now pending before the Federal high court, Alegeh, SAN, gave four reasons he wanted the court to sack the BoB chair.

According to him, Chief Awomolo, SAN upon his assumption of office allegedly reconstituted unilaterally the various standing committees of the BoB in flagrant breach and violation of the Benchers’ Regulation.

He also accused him to have unilaterally reduced the tenure of office of members of various committees of the BoB appointed by his predecessor and former Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Mary Odili from three years to two years in violation of the body’s regulation.