Professor Caught Cheating In An Exam Makes SAN Rank Shortlist

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Professor Caught Cheating In An Exam Makes SAN Rank Shortlist

The professor, who makes the SAN shortlist of 69 lawyers, was caught “cheating” in a postgraduate course examination and was suspended in 2016.

By Ameh Ejekwonyilo

A professor who was caught and later suspended for examination malpractices has made the short list of likely recipients of the Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) rank.

The rank is reserved for Nigerian lawyers who have distinguished themselves in legal practice, either in the advocacy or academic lines.

The integrity and reputation of the candidate is also a major factor for consideration for the award.

Benedicta Daudu, the dean of the Faculty of Law at the Taraba State University, was shortlisted alongside 68 other lawyers for the SAN award by the LPPC which is domiciled at the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

PREMIUM TIMES had extensively reported on how authorities of the University of Jos (UNIJOS), Plateau State, suspended Ms Daudu for one academic session after she was caught “cheating” in a postgraduate course examination.

Ms Daudu, an associate professor of law and head of the Department of Jurisprudence and International Law of the Faculty of Law at UNIJOS, was caught cheating while taking an examination for a Master’s degree in Research and Public Policy in the Faculty of Social Sciences of the same university.

The development, after it was exposed by PREMIUM TIMES, earned her the sack from then President Muhammadu Buhari’s Presidential Committee Advisory Committee on Corruption (PACAC) in May 2016.

Confirming her exit from PACAC, the Executive Secretary of the body, Bolaji Owasanoye, a law professor and now chairman of Nigeria’s anti-graft agency, ICPC, had in a text message to this newspaper as then executive secretary of PACAC, said the committee discussed the allegation against Ms Daudu, and she “voluntarily” stepped down from the committee until the matter was resolved.

“The Presidential Advisory Committee on Corruption has discussed the allegations against Dr Benedicta Daudu based on information in the public domain and Dr Benedicta Daudu has voluntarily stepped down from the committee until the matter is officially concluded by the university,” Mr Owasanoye wrote.

Ms Daudu, who was an associate law professor, was working towards another master’s in Research and Public Policy when she was caught in the examination malpractice scandal.

The Department of Research and Public Policy accused her of smuggling in prepared answers during the examination for the Global Context in Public Policy course.

Sources said the matter was subsequently reported to the university’s examination committee but some students and faculty claimed there were attempts at cover-ups by the university authorities.

Efforts by the university management to sanction Ms Daudu based on her position as a lecturer failed owing to a legal action she instituted against the varsity.

However, the university in December 2016, suspended her while trying to properly investigate the issue.

But it was later learnt that Ms Daudu and the UNIJOS management reached a settlement agreement, where she resigned her appointment and was paid off.

She, from there, left for the Taraba State University, where she became a professor in 2019.

Fierce test ahead

Ms Daudu may face another bumpy ride in her bid to clinch the SAN rank as the second stage of the process of selecting the candidates offers the public an opportunity to send petitions about shortlisted candidates.

The Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court, Hajo Bello, in a statement Thursday announcing the shortlisted candidates for the awards, invited members of the public “to comment on the integrity, reputation and competence” of the shortlisted candidates.

During the interview that will come up in October, shortlisted candidates will be confronted with complaints about their suitability for the rank.

The first stage of selection of SANs from a pool of applicants was more about ensuring that each candidate met the basic requirements such as having the records of the required number of High Court, Court of Appeal, and Supreme Court judgements.

The LPPC also conducts chamber inspections at the first stage of the selection process to ensure that candidates, especially lawyers working in private law firms, to ensure the law offices have the baseline facilities, libraries and financial records.

PREMIUM TIMES had reported that the LPPC, a body chaired by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) and established to give the prestigious rank to deserving lawyers annually is domiciled at the Supreme Court.

Ms Bello, the Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court, doubles as the secretary of the LPPC.

Some of the shortlisted candidates include Fumi Falana and Kayode Ajulo, both human rights lawyers; Emmanuel Enoidem, former Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) legal adviser; and Agada Elachi, erstwhile chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Abuja branch.

There are 12 academics, including Ms Daudu on the list.

Source:- Premiumtimesng

| September 16, 2023.


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