The Legal Practitioner’s Privileges Committee (LPPC) has withdrawn the award of the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria, recently conferred on a lawyer, Ikhide Ehighelua, following allegations he instigated contradictory judgements from sister courts.
The LPPC announced the withdrawal in a statement issued at the end of its emergency meeting which held on Wednesday.
The statement, signed by the committee’s secretary, Hadiza Mustapha, said the LLPC has also placed Mr Ehighelua on a five year-probation period during which his conducts will determine whether he can re-apply to be made a senior advocate or not.
“That the nomination for the conferment of the Award of the Senior Advocate of Nigeria on Ikhide Ehighelua, Esquire on July 12, 2018 is hereby withdrawn;
“That Ikhide Ehighelua, Esquire is hereby barred from applying for the Award of Senior Advocate of Nigeria for the next five (5) years or five applications beginning from 2019; and
“That after the expiration of this period, Ikhide Ehighelua, Esquire would be at liberty to apply for the rank subject to good behaviour as assessed by the Legal Practitioners’ Privileges Committee.”
According to the statement, the committee acted based on a petition written against Mr Ehighelua.
The said petition alleged that Mr Ehighelua instituted a suit with the number: A/36/2017 at a High Court lsseleUku, Delta State where he had filed a motion for interim injunction which was dismissed for lack of merit.
Following the dismissal, the accused lawyer filled an appeal at the Benin Division of the Court of Appeal. After filing the appeal, Mr Ehighelua curiously went ahead to institute a fresh suit at another high court seeking the same reliefs as those dismissed in suit number A/36/217.
Subsequently on July 30, Mr Ehighelua controversially secured the intended interim injunction at the other court and proceeded to implement it.
“He subsequently wrote a letter dated July, 31 2018 to the Executive Governor of Delta State notifying him of the existence of the Interim Injunction above,” the statement said.
The LPPC described the actions of Mr Ehighelua as a blatant disregard for the provisions set out as guidelines for senior advocates in Nigeria.
The statement however said nothing about the judge who granted the controversial order or if the court was even aware of the previous ruling on the same matter.
The NJC has condemned the actions of lawyers and judges who encourage the issuance of conflicting judgements by sister court on similar issues.
In a previous remark on the matter, former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Mahmoud Mohammed, said the NJC would investigate and ensure that penalty is meted on judicial officers culpable in propagating conflicting court judgements.