Wednesday, 29 April 2020

Controversy:Is This Man A Real Or Fake Lawyer..As NBA Denies His Membership

The Nigerian Bar Association has disowned a Lagos-based social critic, Adeola Samuel-Ilori, saying it has no record of him as a legal practitioner.

The NBA, in a correspondence from its General Secretary, Jonathan Gunu Taidi, said Samuel-Ilori’s name was not on the enrolment list of lawyers with the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

“I further state that the said name is not contained in the database of the Nigerian Bar Association and I am unable to provide any information on him,” Taidi added in the letter dated January 7, 2020.

The Secretary, Ikeja branch of the NBA, Chinedu Ifezue, in a mail to our correspondent on March 11, 2020, said there was no record of Samuel-Ilori.

Ifezue stated that Samuel-Ilori should be queried on his enrolment details with the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

The enquiries followed complaints to The PUNCH about the activities of the critic, who was alleged to be operating under the name, Lead Solicitors, a chamber in the Ikeja area of the state.

The critic, it was alleged, collected money from people, who had issues with power companies, promising to take matters up for them.

A source told our correspondent that the activist ran a programme on Rainbow FM, a radio station in Lagos, where he asked members of the public to call him for their problems.

A source said, “He has a law firm called Lead Solicitors. He also goes about under the name of a consumer advocate group, the All Electricity Consumers Forum. He encourages people to register with him and he issues them with ID cards to show that they are his members.

“He also takes up their cases as a lawyer. He is on a forum where you have governors, ministers, former ministers and electricity distribution companies, claiming to be representing the public.”

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The source wondered how Samuel-Ilori deceived some media houses, who regularly sought his views as a lawyer and an activist.

He noted that the owners of the radio station, where the suspect hosted the talk show every Tuesday, called him a lawyer.

“And most of the things he says are not correct, but a lot of people are carried away. He institutes cases on behalf of people, who approach his law firm. While sometimes he does it himself, he uses people in his chambers at other times,” he added.

PUNCH Metro obtained documents where Samuel-Ilori allegedly claimed to be a lawyer, affixing the title, Esquire, to his name.

Our correspondent also observed that Samuel-Ilori had on December 17, 2018 filed a civil suit before a Federal High Court in Lagos State.

However, in that particular matter, it was observed that another lawyer in his chamber, identified as Charles Afolabi, used his NBA seal.

Samuel-Ilori also deposed to a 16-paragraph affidavit suing the Eko Electricity Distribution Company, the Ikeja Electric and the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu.

When our correspondent contacted Afolabi and asked if he was aware that Samuel-Ilori could be fake, he laughed it off.

“To the best of my knowledge, he is a lawyer and he was in the profession before me. In fact, he came from a family of lawyers,” Afolabi stated.

PUNCH Metro confronted Samuel-Ilori with the reports of the NBA and asked him for a rebuttal.

He, however, claimed to be in a meeting and asked if he could meet the reporter for a one-on-one discussion.

When the reporter insisted on a telephone conversation, he asked to call back.

However, when our correspondent called back, Samuel-Ilori only asked for his details.

Two days later, PUNCH Metro called him back to respond to the allegations, but he did not take the calls.

The reporter then sent him a text message reminding him of the request to call back.

“I can’t recollect sir. I received many calls from the media, especially on the recent issue of electricity tariff and estimated bill capping as my group, the All Electricity Consumers Protection Forum, was involved in the advocacy and struggle that worked to achieve it. But you can let’s talk tomorrow sir,” he replied.

Our correspondent reminded him that the purpose of the call was to clarify if he was a lawyer and for him to disprove the NBA statements.

He never replied.

More than two weeks later when our correspondent called his line, Samuel-Ilori said he could not talk because he was in a noisy area and promised to call back.

He never did.

A representative of Rainbow FM told PUNCH Metro that Samuel-Ilori was not an employee of the radio station, adding that he was only a regular guest on a programme hosted by an independent producer.


“We don’t have anything to do with him. It is one of the independent producers, who brings him on our show. His credentials are not with us and we don’t have any official business with him,” the official said.

The President of the NBA, Paul Usoro, said many people had been sent to jail for claiming to be lawyers when they were not.

He said whenever the association got such complaints, it usually report to the police for arrest and prosecution.

Usoro, however, noted that a lawyer might be deregistered after facing a disciplinary committee.

The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, Bala Elkana, said the command had yet to get complaints on the activities of Samuel-Ilori.

“Now that you have brought it to our attention, we will work on it and get to the root of the matter,” he added.

Source:Punch

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