The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has vowed to launch a probe into an alleged attempt to bribe a judge of the National Assembly and State House of Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal in Kano, Flora Azinge.
The association said in a statement Saturday that its National Executive Committee (NEC) similarly resolved to probe the allegations of sexual assault against Cyril Ndifon, the suspended Dean, Faculty of Law, University of Calabar, Cross River State.
The body of Nigerian lawyers passed the resolutions on the issues, among other ethical matters, at the August edition of its National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting presided by its President, Yakubu Maikyau, the statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Akorede Lawal, stated.
Ms Azinge, the Kano State election petition judge, had, on Tuesday, raised the alarm over an attempt by some lawyers to compromise the integrity of judges on her panel who are adjudicating on electoral disputes in Kano.
However, the judge did not disclose the identity of the lawyers allegedly involved in the bribery saga.
The NBA disclosed that it had written a letter to Ms Azinge, requesting further details on the issue.
“You may also be aware of the recent media report of the attempted bribe of Justice Flora Azinge of the National Assembly and State House of Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Kano.
“The NBA has, by a later dated 16th August 2023, formally requested his lordship to avail the NBA of further details in this regard to enable investigation into this allegation,” the NBA statement read in part.
Allegations of judicial bribery and manipulation are rife in Nigeria.
In June, a Nigerian senator, Adamu Bulkachuwa, boasted on the floor of the parliament about influencing the decisions of his wife, Zainab Bulkachuwa, while she was serving as the President of the Court of Appeal.
An attempt to investigate Mr Bulkachuwa over his confession by an anti-corruption agency, ICPC, has been stalled due to a suit filed by the former senator to stop his investigation.
The NBA has gone a step further in Mr Ndifon’s case, by setting up a panel to investigate allegations of sexual scandal against him.
Mr Ndifon, a law professor, was suspended from office on Thursday due to a protest by female law students at the faculty at the University of Calabar. The mostly female students accused him of sexually harassing them.
A video surfaced on social media recently in which dozens of law students at the University of Calabar mostly females held a rally demanding Mr Ndifon’s sack over alleged serial sexual assaults on female students.
Although Mr Ndifon denied the allegations.
But the NBA has now empanelled an ad-hoc committee to investigate the allegations, according to the association’s statement on Saturday.
The investigative committee comprises, the statement said, the 1st Vice President of the NBA, Linda Rose Bala; the Assistant General Secretary of the NBA, Mr Daniel Kip; the chairperson of NBA Women’s Forum and the chairperson of the Calabar Branch of the NBA.
NBA refers suspended Adamawa electoral commissioner, young lawyer to LPDC
The association also petitioned the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee (LPDC), demanding an investigation into the action of Hudu Yunusa-Ari, the suspended Adamawa State Resident Electoral Commissioner of INEC.
Mr Yunusa-Ari was accused of illegally declaring fabricated results at the last Adamawa State governorship election on 16 April.
He caused a stir when he illegally declared the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Aisha Dahiru, the election winner a day after the supplementary polls.
When he made the declaration, votes were still being counted, and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Ahmadu Fintiri, was in a clear lead.
But the electoral umpire eventually declared Mr Fintiri the winner of the polls.
INEC has since suspended and filed criminal charges against Mr Yunusa-Ari.
In furtherance of its resolve to instil discipline in lawyers, the NBA equally referred Ifunanya Excel Grant, a young lawyer of Aba Branch in Abia State to the LPDC for investigation.
Ifunanya is widely known for his eccentric posts through her social media profile, Baddest Lawyer.
NBA said she posts her pictures and videos “unclad and smoking marijuana”.
“While it is important to underscore the fact that none of the lawyers petitioned or being investigated is deemed guilty of professional misconduct until the LPDC hands down its decisions after fair trial,” the statement said, but Mr Maikyau, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) vowed to rid the profession of “bad eggs.”
culled from Premium Times Nigeria