The Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen, on Thursday, admitted 1,468 new lawyers to the Nigerian Bar.
Among the new wigs included one Tukur Ismail, who got a posthumous call into the Nigerian Bar.
Ismail was said to have died shortly after he was shortlisted among successful candidates that passed the April 2017 Bar Final examinations.
Aside okaying the award of posthumous certificate to the deceased lawyer who was listed as No. 628 among the first batch, the CJN, who doubles as Chairman of the Body of Benchers, ordered observance of a minute silence in honour of the late wig.
“I congratulate the new wigs who are privileged to be called to Bar by the Body of Benchers having undergone thorough training at the Nigerian Law School and found to be worthy both in character and learning as certified by the Council of Legal Education.
“The Body of Benchers, after thoroughly screening each of the aspirants for Call, has also found them to be fit and proper to be admitted to the Nigerian Bar”, the CJN stated.
While imploring the new lawyers to exhibit the highest level of professional ethics and decorum at all times, the CJN, urged them to “have respect for Judges and presiding officers of the court”.
He said: “If we want a justice system which is the envy of the world, commands respect both with and from other jurisdictions, attracts inward investment and instil confidence, we must make that investment in access to justice and the Rule of Law.
“A society which does not exude its support for the Rule of Law, its investment in the quality and integrity of its judicial system, its Judiciary, and of its legal practitioners, cannot, and will not prosper.
“The legal profession is the engine room for the development of any nation. It serves as the vanguard for the sustenance of human rights and rule of law. It is an undisputed fact that the legal profession in our great country has in many ways set the pace and served as a shining example in many spheres of life.
“As legal practitioners, you cannot close your eyes to the social, political and economic problems of our time, therefore you have a duty to help rescue our society from pervasive lawlessness, corruption and anti-social activities.
“My advice to the new wigs is to be disciplined and punctual to Court and all functions. You are required to remain and act as a Minister in the Temple of Justice who must not be fraudulent, but rather demonstrate a high degree of uprightness and sound moral probity.
“Similarly, you should not handle a legal matter without adequate preparation, neglect a legal matter entrusted to you or attempt to exonerate yourself from personal malpractice or professional misconduct. The consequence of non-compliance could make you liable to appear before the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee”, the CJN warned the new lawyers.
In his address, the Director-General of the Nigerian Law School, Mr. Olanrewaju Onadeko, disclosed that out of the 1, 468 new lawyers that were called to the Bar on Thursday, 1, 390 of them were successful at the April 2017 Bar Final examinations, while 78 of them were from precious Bar Final examinations.
“The April 2017 Examinations were undertaken by the resit students, after two months of intensive preparations. The compulsory intensive revision exercise was the timely and effective decision of the Council of Legal Education for all intending resit candidates. Their performance at the examinations vindicated the decision because the success rate was 72%.
“Of note is the impressive performance of some candidates, with one attaining the level just short of the First Class grade. It is our hope that the level of performance at the future examinations will continue to be good”, he added.