In a significant move to uphold professional integrity and ethical standards within the legal community, the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has announced its decision to launch investigations into multiple cases involving allegations of sexual assault and professional misconduct.
The statement, signed by Akorede Habeeb Lawal, the National Publicity Secretary of the NBA, disclosed that the association is focusing its attention on Prof. Cyril Ndifon, the suspended Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Calabar.
The allegations of sexual assault against Prof. Ndifon prompted the NBA’s National Executive Committee (NEC) to convene and deliberate on the matter during a recent monthly meeting, presided over by NBA President Mr. Yakubu Chonoko Maikyau, OON SAN, with all national officers of the association in attendance.
Subsequent to these deliberations, the NBA NEC has established an ad-hoc committee tasked with investigating the allegations against Prof. Ndifon. The committee comprises Mrs. Linda Rose Bala, the 1st Vice President of the NBA; Mr. Daniel Kip, the Assistant General Secretary of the NBA; the Chairperson of the NBA Women’s Forum; and the Chairman of the NBA Calabar Branch.
The statement further revealed that the NBA has initiated inquiries into other cases of professional misconduct. The association has formally petitioned Justice Flora Azinge of the National Assembly and State House of Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Kano regarding an attempted bribery incident. The NBA’s request for additional information aims to facilitate a comprehensive investigation into the matter.
In addition, the NBA addressed instances of unbecoming behavior within the legal profession. Petitions have been filed with the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee (LPDC) against individuals whose actions have raised concerns. Notably, Mr. Hudu Yunusa-Ari, the suspended Adamawa State Resident Electoral Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), faces allegations related to the declaration of results during the supplementary 2023 gubernatorial election in Adamawa State.
The association has also raised complaints against Miss Ifunanya Excel Grant, a young lawyer from Aba Branch known for her social media presence as “the baddest lawyer.” Her conduct, characterized by posting explicit content and videos of herself, has drawn attention to potential professional misconduct.
The statement emphasized that none of the individuals under investigation are presumed guilty of professional misconduct until the LPDC concludes its proceedings following fair trials.
President Maikyau reaffirmed the NBA’s commitment to maintaining high standards of conduct within the legal profession and expressed the association’s determination to address any lapses in professional ethics.