Henceforth, the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) said it would descend on any lawyer who engaged in action capable of slowing down the process of justice.
The President of the NBA, Augustine Alegeh (SAN), said this on Wednesday, adding that the disciplinary arm of the association would not spare any lawyer found guilty of reprehensible conducts.
Alegeh, who said the allegations that the bar was frustrating the prosecution of corrupt public officers, was misplaced
He described the allegations as “sweeping”, adding that the NBA was at the forefront in the fight against corruption and was ready to sanction any lawyer who ran foul of acceptable legal principles.
“The allegations are very unspecific; we maintain at all times that lawyers do not frustrate proceedings.
“A person who is accused of an offence has the right to legal representation; both the victim and the defence have such right.
“When a counsel is briefed, he needs adequate time to sit with his client, who often times, is not granted bail, to discuss.
“You do not expect the lawyer to visit his client in prison where such client needs to show documents.
“Fundamentally, in order for there to be a trial according to due process of law, then both the accused and the victim require a defence; counsel must have access to his client.
“Representation by counsel is not just a figure of speech; counsel must be in a position to defend his client, and this cannot be described as an attempt to distort prosecution.
“For instance where an accused is charged and remanded in custody, how does the lawyer get access to him?
“The NBA has a zero-tolerance for corruption, and so, any lawyer who takes any step capable of impeding the course of justice faces sanction from the NBA.
“If you follow the trend, we have recently sanctioned a lawyer for filing an application that led to an order that was a perversion of the course of justice.
“Although the judge was not aware of the situation, but the lawyer was very much aware; so you can see we are doing our part and playing our role”, he added.
He ecommended that allegations of corruption on the part of lawyers be first forwarded to the disciplinary arm of the NBA for redress, before charging such lawyers to court.