The Nigerian Bar Association has placed a ban on congratulatory messages and media advertorials for legal practitioners newly admitted to the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria.
The directive was contained in a letter by the NBA President, Mr. Augustine Alegeh (SAN), dated September 7, 2015 and addressed to the 21 lawyers selected for the conferment of the prestigious award this year.
According to Alegeh, the decision to ban congratulatory advertorials for new SANs was a resolution of the NBA National Executive Committee.
He added that the practice, which had gone on for years, contravened the provisions of Rule 39 (2) of the Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners, 2007.
The NBA president also advised the newly selected senior lawyers to dissuade their families, friends and well-wishers, who may want to congratulate them on the pages of newspapers, on radio or TV.
A copy of the said letter read in part, “I wish to seize this opportunity to draw your attention to the provisions of Rule 39 (2) of the Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners, 2007, and a Resolution of the Nigerian Bar Association National Executive Committee in respect of the placement of congratulatory messages on behalf of lawyers on pages of national dailies and/or jingles on the electronic media and considers such practice as a serious professional infraction.
“I appreciate the fact that friends and family, who may be unaware of the RPC provisions, may wish to congratulate you on your recent elevation to the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria with paid advertorials and congratulatory messages on pages of newspapers or any other media platform. Kindly endeavour to draw their attention to these provisions and discourage them from putting up paid advertorials on your behalf”.
Since the directive was issued, some well-wishers, who had already booked space for congratulatory messages for the new SANs, have started calling off same.
A former NBA President, Olisa Agbakoba, who confirmed the authenticity of the directive, said the decision was taken to return the NBA to the strict path of professionalism.