A Lagos-based rights activist, Spurgeon Ataene, has urged the Legal Practitioners Privileges Committee, LPPC, to review the criteria for the award of Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN
He made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Monday in Lagos.
Mr Ataene said that that the award of the title of SAN should be based on merit and service to the bar.
He expressed concerns over the high fee to be paid by prospective lawyers aspiring to be SAN, describing the N1 million fee announced by the committee as outrageous.
“For the year 2023, I thought the dynamics of the award of SAN should have changed from some form of uneasy requirements to those I consider meritorious.
“My take is that an award of such magnitude should not be in respect of individual qualifications only.
“I actually maintain the position that genuine contribution to the growth of the law should be paramount,” he said.
Mr Ataene said that the recommendations by the public in terms of lawyers’ visible contributions should form a strict basis for this award, aside from the basic requirement of 10 years at the bar.
The rights activist also said that the blueprint for the survival of the judiciary in 2023 should be based on the tenacity of the judicial officers.
Mr Ataene urged every judicial officer to strive to promote the rule of law and avoid the pitfalls of monetary enticement.
He urged the judicial officers to “save the cracks” in the country where agitations based on perceived inequity and social injustice may spread.
“Lawyers who are tempted to get needless injunctions should refrain from being susceptible to the lure of wealth accruing to them and think of the country first.
“The same goes for judges and the political class who are hereby advised to remain neutral in the political chess game,” he said.
He also called for reciprocal respect between the bench and the bar as being a galvanising force to promote efficiency.
Mr Ataene urged security agencies to cooperate with the judiciary in the performance of their official duties.