By Fola Ademosu
Olumide Akpata, President of the Nigerian Bar Association, (NBA) has apologised over the conducts of two lawyers who appeared before the Lagos Judicial Panel On Restitution For Victims Of Sars-Related Abuses And Other Matters. The lawyers, Cyril Ejiafor– representing the Nigeria Police– and Olukoya Ogbungbeje who appeared for a petitioner Basil Chita had clashed at the panel’s December 4 sitting.
Akapta conveyed his regrets through a NBA delegate to the panel, Bernard Onigah.
“The president of the Bar (NBA) has asked me to come here this morning to say that he is aware of certain incident that occurred on Friday between two of our colleagues here. He has asked that I extend an apology to this panel on behalf of the Nigeria Bar and that what transpired that day, as you well know, does not reflect the true quality and character of the Nigerian lawyer,” said Onigah.
In her response, Chairperson of the Panel Justice Doris Okuwobi (retd.) lauded the NBA president for his “intervention”.
The Gazelle News.com had reported the hot exchanges between Ejiafor and Ogungbeje. During his address, Ejiafor argued that Chita’s petition was defective because the respondents were “nominal entities.
“This petition before this tribunal is pregnant. No agency is stated …It is trite in law that if you are bringing an application, you must be specific,” Ejiafor argued.
In a counter argument, Ogungbeje reminded the panel of its earlier ruling, in which Justice Okuwobi (retd.) instructed the police legal team to either cross-examine the witness or close its case at its next adjourned date.
Ruling, Justice Okuwobi reinforced her earlier instruction to the police counsel, after which he decided to cross-examine the witness.