At the new 2020/2021 legal year ceremony of the Supreme Court and conferment of the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) on 72 senior lawyers on Monday, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad is noticeably absent.
On December 7, 2020, the Director of Press of the Supreme Court, Dr. Festus Akande, in a statement had disclosed that the CJN would preside over the event and give an address on the state of the nation’s judiciary as well as the Supreme Court’s plan for the new legal year.
The event has always been presided by the sitting CJN. In his absence, the event was however presided by the most senior Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Olabode Rhodes-Vivour.
Justice Rhodes-Vivour serves as the Deputy Chairman of the National Judicial Council, ranking next to the CJN as the chairman.
He congratulated the conferees noting that they emerged successfully out of 150 Advocates and 22 academics who applied but 62 Advocates and 10 academics were found to have satisfied the requirements.
He noted that they have excelled in both character and expertise. He also congratulated the Nigeria Bar Association under the leadership of Olumide Apata Esq.
Rhodes-Vivour thanked all the judicial officers that worked tirelessly regardless of the pandemic to attend to urgent cases.
Justice Rhodes-Vivour charged the lawyers that the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) comes with prestige and great responsibilities. He used the opportunity to advise them on the need to be more patriotic as the new level in the profession confers on them more responsibilities and they act as role models to young legal practitioners especially young lawyers. To observe all court rules, obedience to law court orders and especially dressing nothing that there will be severe punishments for all defaulters.