… lawyers insist West-Idahosa not worthy to be conferred with SAN rank
A founding Director General of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governors Forum, Earl Osaro Onaiwu, has called on the Legal Practitioners Privileges Committee and the Disciplinary Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) to impose stiff sanctions on Dr. Ehiogie West-Idahosa, for bringing the noble profession to disrepute.
In a petition to the legal practitioners’ disciplinary committees, Onaiwu said West-Idahosa misled the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, through a petition, to issue a sub-judicial instruction to the Nigeria Police Force to assist some dissident members-elect and lawmakers to illegally take over the Edo State House of Assembly (EDHA) Complex.
Ehiogie West-Idahosa had written to the Office of the AGF, asking for his intervention in the crisis that is rocking the state assembly, despite the fact that the matter of the vacant seats of 14 of the lawmakers is currently before a Federal High Court in Abuja. The AGF had consequently asked the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, to provide security for the dissident members-elect of the Assembly.
Onaiwu’s petition follows a similar one by legal practitioners under the auspices of Truth, Fairness and Justice Associates and signed by Victor Agugoesi, Esq., to Chief Justice of Nigeria who is also the Chairman of the Legal Practitioners Privileges Committee (LPPC), the body responsible for screening applicants to be conferred with the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN).
The Abuja-based Agugoesi is asking the LPPC to carefully scrutinise the application of West-Idahosa for SANship, in the light of allegations of conflict of interest and failure to uphold the rule of law that were made against him in the said petition. Hearing of the petition at the Supreme Court is yet to commence.
Onaiwu, in his petition, noted that such action is totally irresponsible and unbecoming of a practitioner with fairly long years at the bar.
He explained that West-Idahosa, against standard rules in the legal profession, stood as both a prosecuting and defence counsel to Mr. Adams Oshiomhole in the same matter in the same court, being the Federal High Court.
Onaiwu recalled that Mr. Ehiogie West-Idahosa was the counsel to Bishop Osadolor Ochei when the latter dragged Oshiomhole to the Federal High Court over fraud and contract inflation in the construction of Edo Specialist Hospital in 2018.
He said the same West-Idahosa duplicitously transmuted into Oshiomhole’s counsel when the former governor sued the Attorney General of Edo State over the same subject matter, obtaining an ex parte order to stop Oshiomhole’s probe.
Onaiwu reckoned that West-Idahosa’s conduct in the aforementioned matter gravely offended the 2007 Rules of Professional Conduct for Lawyers in Nigeria on conflict of interest and duty of counsel to uphold the rule of law.
He therefore asked the regulatory bodies in the legal profession to de-bar West-Idahosa to serve as a deterrent to other members of the noble profession who may want to offer themselves to politicians as instruments of anarchy and injustice.