NBA asks Olanipekun to step down as Body of Benchers chairman

Wole Olanipekun

The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has urged the chairman of the Body of Benchers (BOB) Wole Olanipekun to recuse himself from the position to allow for investigation against his firm over allegations of misconduct.

Sometime in June, a lawyer in Olanipekun’s law firm Adekunbi Ogunde sought to hijack a client, Saipem SPA, of a colleague Odein Ajumogobia.

The firm Wole Olanipekun and Co disowned Ms Ogunde over the incident. Ogunde also apologised in a statement, saying she acted alone.

However, in a letter to Olanipekun signed by NBA president Olumide Akpata and dated July 22, the body urged the senior lawyer to make way for an interim BOB chairman to guarantee justice and fairness in the probe.

The NBA said it would be in the interest of justice if Olanipekun steps down as BOB chairman considering the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee (LPDC), which has received NBA’s petition against Olanipekun’s law firm, is a committee under the supervision of the BOB chairman.

It also said Olanipekun has been in a situation where his continued occupancy of the office of BOB chairman during the course of the investigation would “conflict or be reasonably interpreted to conflict with or influence the processes of the LPDC” by the public and members of the NBA.

“Consequent upon the above, I am constrained to invite you to recuse yourself from chairmanship of the BOB henceforth and to allow for the emplacement of an interim leadership of the BOB, in order to enable the LPDC carry out this particular assignment, amongst others, without coming under an undue suspicion of impartiality,” the letter obtained by said.