The NBA made good its threat to shun the swearing-in ceremony of the new SANS following the CJN’s (Chief Justice of Nigeria) decision to ignore their request that the ceremony be held on the 19th of September, which was the originally slated date for the event and marks the beginning of a fresh legal year. The NBA queried the urgency of the CJN to conduct the ceremony before his mandatory retirement which is to follow his turning septuagenarian. The NBA said it would not be in the interest of the celebrants to host the event within the Muslim Ramadan period.
The NBA had warned that lawyers and the recipients of the SAN award, to boycott the swearing-in ceremony, stressing that, “any legal practitioner that attends the ceremony will not be referred to by members of the NBA with any rank he possesses and if in any NBA body such as the Body of Benchers will lose all privileges and be stripped of membership of any committee or body that the NBA participates in.”
Although the ceremony was indeed conspicuously bereft of the presence of the Body of Benchers and legal luminaries across the federation, the 30 new SANS all attended the event. They defended their decision to boycott the NBA saying that their primary allegiance should be to the Supreme Court of Nigeria which they said granted them licence to practise as lawyers in the country and not the NBA. True to the NBA’s fears, the customary speech which every sitting president of the NBA is expected to deliver at such legal event was sidelined by the CJN. The ceremony would have been an excellent opportunity for the CJN to offer constructive criticism on any perceived anomaly in the profession especially at these times when the judiciary is said to be in a rot and certain controversial issues remain unresolved within the judiciary. The retiring CJN however did not honor the tradition at the swearing.
The 30 new SANs were selected to represent the 2010 and 2011 legal years.
The newly sworn-in SANs for year 2010 are; Pat Onegbedan, Isaac Nwazue Ijioma, Agatha Obiozo Mbamali,Dan Ose Okoh, Kenneth Ekene Mozia, Yahaya Mahmood, Ferdinand Oshioke Orbih, Olanrewaju Ayodele ogunlesi,Anthonia Titilayo Akinlawon, Oluwemimo Adepoju Akinlanwon, Oluwemimo Adepoju Ogunde. Prof. Imran Oluwole Smith [Academics] Ikechukwu Ezechukwu, Okechukwu Amechi,Nnadi Jude Ositadinma and Abiodun Jelili Owonikoko.
While those for the 2011 legal year are; Faye Dikio,Garba Shamatu Pwul, Granville Isetima Abibo, Hassan Muhammad Liman, Babatunde Adekunle Aiku, Dr. Peter Terkaa Aper [Academics] Adesegun Muhammed Ajibola, Yakubu Chonoko Maikyau, okon Nkanu Efut, David Oghenovo Ezaga, James Uko Kalu Igwe [Academics] Norrison Ibinabo Quakers, Jibrin Samuel Okutepa and Solomon Eyibo Umoh.