Court orders registration of new lawyers association to rival NBA

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The Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered the Corporate Affairs Commission to register a new association for lawyers in the country.

Some lawyers had sued the CAC over its failure to register their association as a legal practitioner body in the country.

The lawyers are Bolaji Ayorinde, Mela Nunge, Garba Gajam, Emeka Ichoku, Chioma Ferguson, and Tejumola Adigun.

In the suit, the plaintiffs had contended that the names being considered for registration as a body of lawyers are not similar to that of the Nigerian Bar Association which could mislead the public.

In a judgment delivered on December 15, 2023, a copy of which was seen by our correspondent on Tuesday, Justice Gladys Olotu ordered the CAC to approve any of the proposed names submitted by the plaintiffs.

The names submitted by plaintiffs are “Nigerian Law Society,” “Nigerian Bar Society,” “Nigerian Lawyers’ Society” and “Association of Legal Practitioners of Nigeria.”

The judge ordered the CAS, “To approve for registration and thereafter register any of the proposed names submitted to it on behalf of the plaintiffs, being: The Nigerian Law Society,” “Nigerian Bar Society,” “Nigerian Lawyers’ Society” and “The Association of Legal Practitioners of Nigeria” and issue a certificate of registration to that effect.

Olotu held that the right to peaceful assembly and association, guaranteed under Section 40 of the Constitution, Article 10 of the ACHPR, and Article 20 of the UDHR cover the kind of association the plaintiffs plan to register.

The Nigerian Bar Association established in 1933 has remained the only professional body for legal practitioners in the country.

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Since its establishment, the NBA has encountered multiple instances of several groups vying for registration as a lawyers’ association.

Efforts to get the reaction of the NBA spokesperson, Akorede Lawal, proved abortive as calls to his line indicated it was not reachable. He has yet to respond to the message sent to him as of the time of filling this report.

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