Nigerian lawyers have started a petition to strip the Attorney General of the Federation Abubakar Malami of his Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) title due to his recent changes to the rules of professional conduct for lawyers in the country (RPC, 2007).
The lawyers accused AGF Malami of carrying out the revisions without due process and consultation with stakeholders.
They accused him of taking the sole decision to change the way the Law Profession is being practiced in Nigeria.
Some of the provisions removed include the requirement for the seal and stamp of the NBA on court processes.
According to the lawyers, this requirement put a check on fake lawyers and served as a means of authentication.
He also removed the bar practicing fee, which was a requirement for Government lawyers. It served as a source of revenue of the NBA.
The move on the part of the AGF has effectively rendered the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) ineffective as a professional association.
In other words Attorney General, Malami has degraded the NBA to the status of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) which are voluntary organisations.
The petition started on an online platform is calling for Malami to be stripped of the title of SAN.
Excerpts from the petition read;
“Since his assumption of office as the Attorney-General of the Federation has continued to go rogue, from his disobedience to court order, to his lackluster prosecution, to his outright failure to prosecute, to allegations of corruption and bias against his person, to usurpation of office, to shielding of suspects, to his general dereliction of duty.
“This time, the AGF has decided to take his imprudence to top-notch by unilaterally deleting the provisions of the Rules of Professional Conduct which provide for stamp and seal as well as bar practicing fee for government lawyers. The AGF does not have such power. Section 12 (4) of the LPA gives the General Council of the Bar power to make any such amendment and make other decisions concerning the NBA.“
“There is no record of any meeting convened by the Attorney General of the Federation who is the president of The Bar Council. The AGF took the decision alone and his actions constitute a threat to the rule of law. His action is totally shameful and is undeserving of a lawyer in the rank of a Senior Advocate, let alone a Chief Law Officer of the federation.”
More than 900 lawyers have signed the petition thus far.