The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) has ‘weakened’ the powers of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) with the introduction of a new rule.
Naija News reports that in a new gazette, AGF Malami amended the Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners 2007, removing the requirement for the NBA stamp and seal on court processes.
Recall that NBA membership was compulsory and the stamps and seals were sold at N4,000 for 72 pieces and were given upon payment of NBA dues.
A lawyer could not submit any document or letter to the court without the stamp.
With the new directive, the use of the stamp will no longer the needed to submit court processes.
Persons who are not members of the NBA, including non-lawyers are now empowered to submit court processes.
The gazette – marked S.I N0.15 of 2020 issued by AGF and dated September 3, 2020, which was obtained by Sunday PUNCH – reads in part, “In exercise of the powers conferred on me by section 12(4) of the Legal Practitioners Act Cap L11, LFN 2004 and of all other powers enabling me in that behalf, I, Abubakar Malami, SAN, Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice and President, General Council of the Bar, make the following rules:
“The Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners, 2007 is amended by deleting the following rules, namely: 9(2), 10, 11, 12 and 13.
“These rules may be cited as the Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners (Amendment) Rules, 2020.”
Naija News reports that this is coming at a time when a NBA had become factionalized following the decision of a group of mostly northern lawyers led by Nuhu Ibrahim and Abdulbasit Suleiman to set up the New NBA, otherwise known as the NNBA.