Lawyer faults NBA over bank’s free legal services
A Lagos-based lawyer, Mr. Johnson Esezoobo, has condemned the national body of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), for its response against the move by the Union Bank of Nigeria to provide free legal services to the public.
The bank had announced it seeks to offer legal services such as company incorporations, contracts, mediation and arbitration, debt recovery, perfection of title documents and regulatory compliance to the public.
However, the NBA in its response to the bank in public notice had said that the bank does not have the statutory responsibility to provide such services to the people.
The response dated April 16, 2018 and signed by the General Secretary, NBA, Aare Isiaka Abiola Olagunju, stated: “We hereby state that Union Bank of Nigeria Plc or any other Bank or other financial corporation is not a body licensed to render such legal services and cannot hold itself out as a firm of legal practitioners or in partnership with a firm of legal practitioners to render the said legal services.
“Rule 5(5) of the Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners’ states that it shall be unlawful to carry out legal practice as a corporation. This expressly precludes any corporation from engaging in the practice of the law, Union Bank Plc inclusive.
Members of the public are hereby advised not to patronize Union Bank Plc for the said services and to disregard this publication in its entity. We wish to also state that NBA is heads-on in addressing the issues raised by the unfortunate advertorial.”
In response, Mr Ezesoobo described NBA as ‘selfish’, adding that there are important national issues NBA should concern itself with rather than dissipating energy on irrelevant things such as the Union Bank’s free legal services.
Mr Ezesoobo in a statement said: “This ‘Public Notice’ once more demonstrates the selfishness of the NBA, which underlies our poor responses to challenges of our nation Nigeria. This Public Notice shows us as interested in and practicing only for bread and