Former president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Dr. Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), has urged the association to remove the name of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) chairman, Danladi Umar, from the list of lawyers in Nigeria.
In a three-ground prayer, the vocal rights campaigner submitted that Umar not being a judicial officer is subject to the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee.
“In the light of these violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct, we pray the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee to direct that the name of Mr. Danladi Umar be struck out of the Roll of Legal Practitioners in Nigeria,” he stated.
The senior lawyer accused Umar of assuming jurisdiction on January 14, 2019 as the chairman of the CCT in a matter against the CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen, knowing that the CCT had no jurisdiction in view of its own decision in the case of Hon. Justice Sylvester Ngwuta which also involved asset declaration.
According to him, the Court of Appeal in Nganjiwa v. FRN (2017) LPELR-43391 (CA) had held that allegations of misconduct against a serving judicial officer must first be referred to and handled by the National judicial Council (NJC).
He pointed out that it is only after the NJC had entertained and made a finding or pronouncement on the allegation against a Judicial officer and recommended to the president or governor, as the case may be, that the removal of such judicial officer is accepted and acted upon by the appropriate authority. He added that the prosecuting agencies of the federal government could proceed against such judicial officer to make him face the law.
Agbakoba alleged that Umar knew the state of the law, yet he acted otherwise and created a constitutional crisis and brought great embarrassment to the legal profession.
The SAN also said that the CCT chairman on January 23 issued a defective ex parte order, having not set out on record the counsel that made the application.“This gives the impression that the CCT may have drawn up the application on itself,” he said, adding that it led President Muhammadu Buhari to suspend the CJN.”
Umar himself, he claimed, is facing trial at the Federal High Court, Abuja, for allegedly demanding a bribe of N10 million from one Rasheed Taiwo in 2012.According to him, the alleged demand was made in relation to a case (CCT/ABJ/03/12) involving Mr. Taiwo, an offence contrary to Section 12(1) (a) and (b) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2003.