*Four Persons Nominated As Members Of The Body
Retired Supreme Court Justice, Justice Olabode Rhodes-Vivour, has been appointed the new Chairman Body of Benchers ASKLEGALPALACE gathered.
He emerged as the Chairman following the retirement of Chief Onueze Chukwujinka Joe Okocha, MFR, SAN, JP, DSSRS. O.C.J Okocha, SAN retired today, after chairing the Body for 2 years.
According to the information disclosed to ASKLEGALPALACE, the Retired Supreme Court Justice, Justice Olabode Rhodes-Vivour, was appointed to succeed Chief O.C.J Okocha, SAN, while Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN is to serve as the Body’s Vice Chairman.
O.C.J Okocha, SAN, in his valedictory address held today, thanked the current Chairman who was the Vice Chairman of the Body, Justice Olabode Rhodes-Vivour, JSC(Rtd), past Chairmen, and members of the various Committees, Standing and Adhoc, body and all those who assisted him in one way or the other while he was the Chairman.
However, he listed some key issues affecting the legal profession. Among issues were on the amendment of the Legal Practitioners Act, Funding of the Body of Benchers, Disciplinary Committee and Call to the Bar ceremony amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.
The former chairman of the body Mr O.C.J. Okocha MFR, SAN expressed appreciation which the members vested with the task of amending the Act. He maintained that the Body of Benchers was able to conclude work on the proposed Legal Practitioners Act (Amendment) Bill, which had been under the consideration of the Body for quite some time.
He said at the meeting that the proposed Amendment Bill has undergone contributions and work by concerned body especially the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and the Harmonization Committee under the Chairmanship of Honourable Justice Abdu Aboki, JSC. He expressed hope that the National Assembly upon receipt of the Bill will hasten the work on the Bill, which upon passage will suit the present-day purposes of our learned and Honourable Profession.
The outgoing chairman of the Body Mr O.C.J. Okocha MFR, SAN acknowledged the devastating effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on the activities of the body while commending the Attorney General of the Federation Hon. Abubakar Malami SAN, in securing a befitting venue for the meeting of the body.
He also raised an issue on the duties of the Body of Benchers as encapsulated in Section 3 (1) of the Legal Practitioners Act which includes and not limited to the call to the Bar of persons seeking to become legal practitioners in Nigeria.
The Chairman also acknowledged and commended the efforts of the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee (LPDC) under the able chairmanship of E.C Ukala SAN, which remains ever dedicated to its duties and has through the discharge of their duties have continued to uphold the dignity and prestige accorded the profession and urged the committee to quicken the pace of the disciplinary process as complaints are arising day by day against Legal Practitioners.
However, he expressed dissatisfaction in the area of funding of the Body of Benchers which has remained a setback to the discharge of the functions of the body. He maintained that the Funding of the Body is the responsibility of the Federal Government with some contributions of members of the Nigerian Bar Association and various judiciary and ministry of justice across the country. He also expressed regret about the Body’s uncompleted Hall while expressing hope that with the continued support of the parties’ responsible, it will soon become a materialized project.
While expressing appreciation to all members of the body, the chairman nominated Awa Kalu, SAN, fòrmer Chairman NBA Abuja branch and Attorney General Abia State, Chinwe Eugenia Iyizoba, Retired Justice of Court of Appeal and former Attorney General, Anambra State, Justice Adama Iye Iyayi-Lamikanra, Chief Judge of Rivers, who will retire soon and Justice Ngozi Priscilla Emehelu, current Chief Judge of Enugu state who will retire soon to be considered for appointment into the Body of Benchers.
He finally submitted and prayed the Benchers Appointment Committee to favourable recommend the said persons for appointment as Honourable Benchers.
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