My Appearance At The Supreme Court And Jibrin Okutepa, SAN, Concerns - THE DAILY CRUCIBLE



Monday, June 27, 2022

My Appearance At The Supreme Court And Jibrin Okutepa, SAN, Concerns

 •Omirhobo               • Okutepa

| The Daily Crucible | Monday June 27, 2022

By Chief Malcolm Omirhobo

My attention has been drawn to  the post of Mr. Jibrin Samuel Okutepa,   SAN concerning my appearance at  the Supreme Court of Nigeria  making the rounds in the social  media and consequently it is important that I clear the air .

I attended the supreme court as a   legal practitioner as of right   to observe proceedings and not to appear for any party . In the circumstance it would have been  contemptuous of  me to stand up to address the court as  suggested by Mr Jibrin  without first  seeking the permission of  the court or without being called upon by the justices to speak. 

On whether the  Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee (LPDC),  can or will   sanction  me for  dressing and appearing  in the mode and manner  prescribes  by my religion  before the Supreme Court? The answer is NO because according to the Supreme court of Nigeria  by   virtue of section 38 of the Nigerian constitution every Nigerian  is entitled to freedom  of thought, conscience, and religion, and freedom (either or in community with others, and in public or in privacy) to manifest and propagate his religion or belief in worship, teaching, practice and observance. This my right  cannot be wished away just because some other persons feel uncomfortable with it.

The way I dressed to the Supreme court constitutes an act of worship, hence the refusal to allow me   to put on my traditional outfit on my  lawyers uniform will be a  clear infraction of my  constitutionally guaranteed right . 

On that faithful day , I arrived the Supreme Court Complex at about 9am and  by the time I finished addressing a press conference it was about 11 am . I then proceeded to enter the court room . By the time I got there the justices of the Supreme Court were on recess  . As I made my way into the court room ,  the  policemen and other security operatives  at the entrance of the court  tried to stop me but I refused and  forced my way in and sat down at  the bar on the third roll because the first two rolls were already occupied.  When the justices reconveyed they saw me  and were  discomfited and had to abruptly rise after hearing an application which they struck out .

It is not true that   the  Supreme Court Justices did not notice me as Mr . Jibrin said . They did . Every lawyer knows that the bench from their vantage position in courts are able to view the bar and the gallery as well as monitor the  activities in their  courts . On this occasion  I was sitting at the third roll dressed with painted face , feathers in my wig , tying a red cloth , with beads and calabash around my neck and cowrie's on my wrist and jibrin  say that the justices did not see me ? Haba!  There is God oooo. 

Practicing lawyers and litigants  will bear me  witness that no composed judge not to talk of  the justices of the apex court  will spare an improperly dressed lawyer  that enters their court not to even talk of sitting at the bar . The reaction of the justices after seeing me goes to show  that they were taken aback  if not three  things would have happened , the first is that they would have  stood me up and lambasted  me after which they will throw me out of their court  . The second is that they would have cited me for contempt and  the third thing is that the justices would have ordered that I be sent  to a Psychiatric Hospital  to check my mental state . But none of these  happened .Feeling my presence in their court , the justices read the handwriting on the wall and let me be . I must however  commend them for their maturity and discernment .

Granted without conceding that the justices of the supreme court  did not see me,  the question now  is  what  did  the learned silk that saw me do ?  Nothing  because he too like the justices was discomfited . As a member of the inner bar ranking higher than myself  in the legal profession,  what is expected of him with the  other four Senior Advocates of Nigeria that he claimed were present in court  was  for  any of them  to approach me to find out what the problem was and if my responses are not satisfactory then they 
 would have  asked me to  leave with support of the other members of the bar .  Mr. Jibrin Samuel Okutepa,    SAN did nothing,  only for him to go  to the social media to  seek relevance . 

I am not in anyway  introducing   religion in our profession as suggested by the learned silk but helping to develop it.  Importantly too I did not attend  the supreme court to make trouble but to celebrate with the justices of the supreme court for their recent judgement  permitting every Nigeria to dress in public places as prescribed by their religion .

I shall continue to exercise my fundamental rights to freedom of thought , conscience and religion   as enshrined and guaranteed in the Nigerian constitution and as affirmed by the decisions of the Supreme court of Nigeria by appearing the way I did at the Supreme Court in other courts . Nobody  can deprive me of my fundamental rights because it will be illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional to do so .

I advised the learned silk to  save his Bible verses  until.he sees the Daniel in me  in no distant time because I believe that  action speaks louder than words.

Chief Malcolm Emokiniovo Omirhobo

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