ABUJA – Some legal practitioners in Nigeria have established another professional association of lawyers known as the Law Society of Nigeria (LSN) thereby splitting the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA).
The association which is led by Kunle Ogunba (SAN), according to its promoters, was formed to break the monopoly of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), which is the sole umbrella body for the legal profession in Nigeria since 1933.
It was gathered that it was registered as far back as December 1994.
On its Twitter page @LawSocietyofNig, the association describes itself as an alternative for change.
It has Ogunba as its president, Hon. Nimi Walson-Jack as the vice president and Abdulquadir Alhaji Sani as the secretary.
Other members are Olasupo Ojo as its welfare secretary, Chioma Ferguson as its treasurer and Douglas Ogbankwa (publicity secretary).
In a swift reaction to the formation of the group, Richard Oma Ahonaruogho (SAN) who described himself as the founding secretary of LSN asked lawyers in the country to ignore the list of the purported executive committee of the association.
Ahonaruogho said consultation was still ongoing and that the announcement made in the press statement issued by Douglas Ogbankwa was hasty.
Ogbankwa had said in the statement he issued yesterday that the association was formed to redefine the ideas of the founding fathers of the profession.
He described the legal profession in Nigeria as having a chequered history spanning from “the sublime to the ridiculous. This is in keeping with international best practices, which allow for an alternative, to ensure that lawyers thrive within the realm of those they have shared values with.
“The Law Society of Nigeria promises to up the ante, in matters that have been ignored in the legal profession, prominent of which are premium on members’ welfare and an open and transparent system in choosing leaders of the legal profession at the national level,” he said.
But Ahonaruogho stated that “my attention has just been drawn to the purported executive committee of the Law Society of Nigeria (LSN) and hereby wish to assure all legal practitioners in Nigeria that the purported executive committee is unknown to the Law Society of Nigeria (LSN).
“The Law Society of Nigeria (LSN) was incorporated on 28th December 1994, by my good self, Richard Oma Ahonaruogho, as convener and as secretary with Mr Charles I. Idehen as chairman.
“The idea was to save the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) from self-destruction after the 1992 Port Harcourt crisis and we have over the years reviewed the need to keep the Nigerian lawyers under the main umbrella of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA).
“Recent events in the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) have led to an increasing agitation for the full commencement of activities of the Law Society of Nigeria (LSN) for which some representatives of the persons now claiming to be Executives of the Law Society of Nigeria (LSN) held a meeting with me and one of the promoters of the Law Society of Nigeria on 6th October 2022, in Lagos, where their appeal for the commencement of full activities was tabled, considered and deferred for further consultations with some of the other key promoters and the sole surviving Trustees.
“The logo and motto: Justice For All on the purported letter claiming to be that of the Law Society of Nigeria (LSN) are alien to the Law Society of Nigeria (LSN) and amount to the tort of passing-off.”
“That the offices known to the Law Society of Nigeria (LSN) as provided for in Article 6 of the Constitution of the Law Society of Nigeria dated 10th February 1994, and submitted to the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) are as follows: president, president-elect, chair of the House of Delegates, secretary, treasurer, secretary-elect, treasurer-elect, executive vice president
“In conclusion, on behalf of the promoters of the Law Society of Nigeria (LSN) and as founding secretary, I hereby state categorically that no executive has been appointed for the Law Society of Nigeria as of today, Sunday 30th, October 2022, and that the purported notice should be disregarded,” he said.
Already, the LSN had written to the chairman of the Body of Benchers, Chief Wole Olanipekun, to notify the BOB of its existence and to introduce its protem national officers.