Femi Falana, a human rights lawyer and senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), has berated lawyers criticising a court order directing the federal government to control commodity prices.
On February 7, 2024, the federal high court ordered the federal government to fix the prices of certain food commodities.
A wide range of items were included, from necessities like milk, flour, salt, and sugar to vehicles, bicycles, and motorcycles, as well as their spare parts.
The judge gave the order while delivering the judgment in a suit filed by Femi Falana, a human rights lawyer.
The price control board and attorney-general of the federation were the first and second defendants, respectively in the case.
In a statement released on Sunday, Falana said lawyers are hypocritical questioning the court’s price control order on essential goods while standing on their mandatory fees and NBA stamp.
According to Falana’s statement, several Nigerian court rulings have established the legal legitimacy of mandatory practising fees and the NBA stamp.
“Notwithstanding that Nigeria operates a so-called free market economy, no profession is more regulated than the legal profession in Nigeria,” Falana said.
“Interestingly, the lawyers who have criticised the order of the Federal High Court which has directed the Federal Government to control the prices of essential commodities by the federal government have not campaigned for the right to practice law without any form of regulatory interference.
“It is pertinent to review the laws that regulate and some of decided cases on the regulation of the practice of law throughout the country.
“In several cases, Nigerian courts have upheld the legal validity of the compulsory payment of practising fees and the NBA stamp.
“Yet, apostles of neoliberalism in the legal profession have not challenged such judicial decisions on the grounds that they infringe on the fundamental right of every citizen to access the court for legal redress in accordance with section 36(1) of the Constitution.”