AGF’s Amendment Of RPC Won’t Harm Lawyers, Says Ex-NBA Chair
Posted: 22/Sep/2020

Former chairman, Ikorodu branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Adebayo Akinlade, has said the purported amendment of the Rules of Professional Conduct (RPC) for the legal profession won’t affect lawyers.

Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN), amended and gazetted Rules 9(2),10,11,12 and 13 of the RPC on September 3, via statutory instrument No 15 of 2020.

The AGF’s action has elicited reactions from stakeholders. Some criticised it for being illegal because the meeting of the General Council of the Bar was not convened prior to the amendment.

But others said there was nothing strange about what Malami did since it was the same procedure that brought the said provisions in 2007.

Akinlade said lawyers would not suffer any harm as a result of the purported deletion of some sections of the RPC because they were called to the Bar and not to the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA).

He said: “Some people have sought to distort history for selfish and sentimental reasons to keep lawyers under their control by maintaining that the NBA has always been there.

“NBA was the brainchild of lawyers who were already practising in Nigeria. It wasn’t there in the beginning of legal education and practice in Nigeria so, what’s the big deal?

“NBA was once proscribed in the 90s yet people were still called to Bar. The Body of Benchers, the General Council of the Bar and the Council of Legal Education were all still in existence during that period.

“Several lawyer groups like the Christian Lawyers Association of Nigeria (CLASFON) also existed – organising national and local conferences while NBA was dead; so what are we talking about? Let’s face the real issues and think outside the box for once

“NBA is not about the sections that were deleted, it’s our lack of foresight that makes us worry over irrelevant provisions such as the ones purported to have been removed.”

According to him, lawyers need to rebrand themselves.’’
 
He added: “The RPC as it is cannot work for the times we are in so lawyers must restructure and reorganise.

“We have not been productive collectively for a very long time now. We spend too much time on frivolities and unproductive activities. Most lawyers have no support from the so-called association, they face a corrupt judiciary alone; they also face a corrupt police and government system alone. Lawyers are powerless in the face of adversity while the association suffers from disinterested and compromised leadership

“The NBA leadership has to think outside the box if they want to change the narrative. Every  NBA branch leadership must think outside the box if they want to make any meaningful impact on the lives and practice of lawyers.

“One last thing, for the avoidance of doubt, the AGF is the official leader of the Bar and not the NBA President.”