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Chief Awomolo SAN, Assumes Leadership of Body of Benchers

The Body of Benchers has named Eminent Bar Leader, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo SAN to assumed leadership as its Chairman. This came on the heels of completion of the tenure of Justice Mary Odili as chairman of the elite body.

Meanwhile, the body has appointed six of its members as Life Benchers including Justice C. N. Uwa of the Supreme Court; Chief Emeka Ngige SAN, Chairman of the Council of Legal Education, and former Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) President, Mr. Paul Usoro SAN.

Two members including Senator Opeyemi Bamidele and Mr. Mela Nunghe SAN were also appointed as Benchers, even as the Appointments Committee bemoaned the fact that it could not treat 17 nominees for appointment as Benchers due to a legal cap of 20 members for that category. The committee noted that unless the Body of Benchers Regulations are amended, it would continue to be hamstrung in recommending more aspirants for appointment as Benchers.

In his acceptance speech, Awomolo stated that “Today’s honour is not by my learning, might or strength as an individual but the goodwill of all you the noblest in the legal profession and importance attached to the letters of law, respect for the rule of law as opposed to the rule of might.”

While commending Justice Odili for her “inclusivity” and consensus building, the Bar Leader stated that the body has a huge task ahead of it especially in light of proposed amendment of Nigeria’s Constitution and the Legal Practitioners Act.

His words: “There was reported in the media yesterday of the proposed alteration of the Constitution which would make appointment, discipline and removal of judicial officers in the States the prerogative of the Governors. This move is alarming and will creates (sic) a threat to the independence of the Judiciary. The Body cannot be passive or ‘siddon’ look. The danger in this move is to take the Judiciary back to pre-1999.”

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