CJ Kogi v. Governor Bello: Court Indicts Bello's Lawyer For Misconduct

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An aftermath of the judgment of the High Court, Kotonkarfe, Kogi State, in the case filed by Kogi State Chief Judge, Justice Nasir Ajanah and the Chief Registrar of the High Court of Kogi State, against the Governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Bello and the Kogi House of Assembly, was the indictment of the Governor’s counsel, Mr. Adetunji Oso from the chambers of Chief A.A. Adeniyi & Co., who the court found to have behaved in an unprofessional manner.

In the judgment of the court handed down on Tuesday, 18/6/2019, the presiding judge of the court, Justice Alaba Omolaye-Ajileye stated that the gravity of the misbehaviour of Mr Oso, in the face of the court, made it expedient that the matter not only be put on record for future references but attract the attention of of the leadership of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and the Honourable Body of Benchers for appropriate action in order that the integrity of the court system may be preserved.

Reviewing the facts of the incident leading to the indictment in the judgment, Justice Omolaye-Ajileye stated that the genesis was the bare statement of Mr Oso informing the trial court on Friday, 14/6/2019, of a pending application for stay of proceedings of the case before it, pending before the Court of Appeal, Abuja.

Mr Oso argued that because he had informed the court of the pending application, the trial court must not proceed with the case, slated for definite hearing on that day.

Mr Oso was over-ruled by the court, which directed that the case should proceed to hearing.

Upon being over-ruled, the Judge stated further, Mr Oso “in most defiant, disrespectful and impudent manner, unbecoming of a legal practitioner, walked out on the court.”

Justice Omolaye-Ajileye considered Mr Oso’ s action as most unprofessional and condemnable.

“It is, unequivocally, a breach of the Rules of Professional Conduct”, the court held, stating further that, “I suppose a lawyer’s paramount duty is to the court and the rule of law. He must avoid doing anything that may have the effect of diminishing court’s authority or ridiculing the aura of respectability it commands and enjoys.”

Justice Omolaye-Ajileye explained that, as Judge, he was duty-bound to enforce high standards of conduct of legal practitioners that appeared before him.

Accordingly, he directed the Registrar of the court to make copies of the judgment of the court and the proceedings of the court of 14/6/2019 available to the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Chairman Body of Benchers and the President, Nigerian Bar Association of Nigeria for their notification.

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