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NBA president Mahmoud laments quality of nation’s legal education

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Director General, Council of Legal Education, Prof. Isa Hayatu Chiroma (left); Mike Ozekhome (SAN); Director General, Legal Aid Counsel, Mrs. Joy Bob-Manuel; and Director General, Nigeria Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS); Deji Adekunle during the 58th Annual General Conference of NBA in Abuja…yesterday. PHOTO: LUCY LADIDI ELUKPO

The outgoing president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Abubakar Mahmoud (SAN) yesterday said legal education in Nigeria had become dysfunctional following the dwindling standard of education in the country. 

According to him, the situation has led to the churning out of half-baked lawyers, resulting in loss of confidence in the profession. 

He also criticised the Body of Benchers, which has the responsibility to admit lawyers to the Bar, over operational methods. 

Mahmoud, who spoke during a session on “NBA reform agenda” at the association’s yearly general conference in Abuja, said the 294 members of the Body of Benchers, comprising retired judges and other appointees, were ill-equipped to effectively regulate the legal profession. 

“You cannot have serious regulation done by an amorphous body,” Mahmoud said in reference to the Body of Benchers. 

To address the issues, he said he set up the Legal Profession Regulation Committee headed by Chief Anthony Idigbe (SAN).

Mahmoud expressed regret that aspiration to the association’s leadership has become competitive, rancorous and disruptive.

To some lawyers, the NBA has become an “influence peddling mechanism”, with ethnic cleavages taking root.

Mahmoud said he proposed that NBA should be professionally run. 

“We said the management of the Bar has to be handled by professionals because the association has become too big, but this didn’t go down well with some of our colleagues.”

He urged lawyers to support the proposed amendments by the Idigbe committee. 

“If we allow the Bar association to remain where it is, it cannot act as bridge with the rest of the society.

Unless we transform our Bar, we are not going to play the role we should play in this day and age. 

“We have a great role to play in moving the country forward. We must not remain in the old order,” the outgoing president said. 

Idigbe, represented by a member of the committee, Prof. Anthony Agom, said they came up with the Legal Profession Regulation Bill. 


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