Court Dismisses UNICAL Dean’s Motion Challenging ICPC Lawyer’s Qualification

Justice James Omotosho of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on Thursday, dismissed a motion filed by the suspended Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Calabar, Prof. Cyril Ndifon challenging the qualification of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC)’s lawyer, Osuobeni Akponimisingha.

The judge in his ruling held that the application and counter affidavit filed by parties in the controversy over the legal qualifications of Akponimisingha and defence counsel, Joe Agi, (SAN), was not for the court to determine.

He said the Legal Practitioners’ Privilege Committee (LPPC) was the appropriate body to determine whether a lawyer is on its roll call.

The judge said: “It is clear that the committee can investigate such allegations upon a petition by any of the parties.”

Ndifon and his co-defendant, Sunny Anyanwu, had alleged that Akponimisingha was not qualified to practice as a lawyer.

The duo through their lawyer insisted that Akponimisingha’s name was allegedly not on the roll of legal practitioners in Nigeria under Section 2 of the Legal Practitioners Act.

They argued that the four-count amended charge preferred against them by ICPC was incompetent as a result of the disputed identity of the ICPC’s lawyer.

The applicants said the development had robbed the court of its jurisdiction to entertain the matter.

They, therefore, prayed the court to quash the charge against them.

Akponimisingha, in his counter affidavit dated March 20, accused the suspended dean and his legal team of being jealous of his academic qualifications.

The lawyer, who attached his Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Practising Licence document dated 2016 with the counter affidavit, said he graduated from law school.

He equally alleged that the names of defence counsel and other senior advocates appearing with him in the criminal case were not on the roll of Legal Practitioners in Nigeria with the appendage of “SAN.”