Senior lawyer under pressure over comments regarding Kogi governorship election

The recent comments by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Jibrin Sam Okutepa, SAN, have triggered angry reactions in Kogi state and beyond.

In an interview with Channels Television, the senior lawyer had commented on the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) used in certain local government areas during the Kogi governorship election.

Another member of Okutepa’s legal team, Barrister Rilwan Okpanachi, also made certain comments that angered residents of the state.

In a statement sent to journalists on Tuesday, the Youth Advocacy expressed deep concern over the comments.

The group queried the ethical breaches in the legal profession regarding the election, especially regarding comments made by the lawyers.

In a statement signed by its convener, Comrade Seun Adeaanu, the group said:

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“As an organization committed to upholding justice and the rule of law, we emphasize the critical importance of maintaining impeccable standards of professional conduct among legal practitioners.

“It is imperative that lawyers adhere to ethical principles outlined in the Rules of Professional Conduct and uphold the integrity of the legal system.

“Recent events involving Jibrin Sam Okutepa, SAN, underscore the need for vigilance in ensuring ethical accountability within the legal profession. Okutepa’s actions, which appear to contradict established ethical standards, raise serious concerns about the integrity of legal practice in our society.

“The Youth Advocacy Network urges regulatory bodies such as the Nigerian Bar Association, the General Council of the Bar, the Body of Benchers, and the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee to address these ethical lapses.

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“It is essential to safeguard the reputation and credibility of the legal profession and uphold public trust in the administration of justice.

“We call upon these regulatory bodies to conduct thorough investigations into the conduct of legal practitioners implicated in ethical breaches and to impose appropriate sanctions where necessary.

“Upholding the highest standards of professional conduct is paramount to preserving the integrity of the legal system and ensuring access to justice for all.”

According to the group, Okutepa and one Barrister Rilwan Okpanachi, “have conducted themselves in a manner inappropriate with the dignity and honour befitting a legal practitioner.”

The group further stated that Okutepa, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, benefitted immensely from previous Kogi state governments but became antagonistic towards successive administrations due to ethnic considerations.

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”Okutepa’s endeavours to besmirch the reputation of the Kogi State government since power divinely shifted from the East to the Central have been brazen and unchecked.

”Misguidedly considering himself as the only legal practitioner in the country whose voice must be heard in his usual ultracrepidarian belief, he has orchestrated acts aimed at plunging the state into chaos and turmoil through his social media presence, television appearances, and clandestine orchestrations of protests against the government over the years,” the group lamented.

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