Security operatives at the Supreme Court yesterday engaged in a free-for-all after persons in the entourage of Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello, were denied entry into the hall where 29 new Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) were being sworn in by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen.
A plain-clothed policeman that accompanied the governor to the apex court main door was manhandled, with the buttons on his shirt removed by the security operatives which comprised both the Police and officers from a private security firm, Halogen.
Governor Bello, who was temporarily delayed at the door, had already entered inside the apex court when the fight that led to smashing of a camera belonging to a photojournalist broke out.
Aside his supporters, equally locked out by the operatives included some judges and SANs that were already at the apex court by 9:30am for the event that commenced by 10am.
It took a long time to secure entry for some of the judges, among whom included Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court. Meanwhile, the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo and his wife, are among dignitaries at the main courtroom of the apex court where the swearing-in ceremony took place.
Osinbajo’s brother, Akinlolu, who was former Attorney General of Ogun State, is among the new SANs. Others are the Attorney General of Kwara State, Kamaldeen Adeyemi Ajibade, former national legal adviser of the Peoples Democratic Party and gubernatorial candidate of Alliance for Democracy in Ondo State, Chief Olusola Oke, human rights lawyer, Festus Keyamo, Chibuike Adindu Nwanne Nwokeukwu, Johnnie Nnaemeka Egwuonwu, Bert Chukwuneta Igwilo, Sylvester Emenike Elema, Ikenna Victor Egbuna, Wilcox Achace Abereton, Michael Abayomi Bidade Alliyu, Francis Forum Egele, Prof. Enefiok Effiong Essien.
Equally on the list are Prof. Sadiq Sylvester Shikyl, Prof. Adebambo Anthony Adewopo, Prof. Adedeji Olusegun Adekunle, Nasser Abdu Dangiri, Emeka Peter Okpoko, Sani Hussani Garun-Gabbas, Abdul Atadoga Ibrahim.
Also on the list are John Olusegun Odubela, Gboyega Oyewole, Joshua Yusuf Musa, Ibrahim Mohammed, Ekemejero Ohwovoriole, Oyetola Oshobi, Sulaiman Usman, Kehinde Ogunwumiju and Chiesonu Okpoko.
Even though 30 senior lawyers were initially okayed for elevation to the prestigious SAN rank, however, the Legal Practitioners’ Privileges Committee, LLPC, last Friday, suspended the swearing-in of the only female on the list, Mrs. Oluwatoyin Ajoke Bashorun.
The LPPC said it deferred Mrs. Bashorun’s confirmation to await the conclusion of investigation into issues surrounding her eligibility for the rank.
According to a statement by Secretary to the LPPC and Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court, Mrs. Hadiza Mustapha, Bashorun will be investigated by a panel set up by the CJN who doubles as Chairman of the LPPC.
Mrs. Mustapha had earlier revealed that a total of 156 senior lawyers applied to be conferred the SAN rank.