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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

BARRISTER JOE IGUNBOR AND THE CONVERTED N23,000.00


Called to the bar in August 1984, Jonathan Nofe Igunbor, was very much at home at the Ikeja bar for quite a long time, up till 2005. This is no surprise as Igunbor, popularly called Joe Igunbor had grown up in Lagos and speak unaccented Yoruba.
A general practitioner, Igunbor was well known in the Ikeja bar and had attempted in the past to become the chairman of the virile bar, popularly known as the Tiger Bar.
However since about five years ago, Igunbor an easy going fellow and a ready mixer-described by these who know him more closely as an otherwise-able lawyer, has become very scarce in the Tiger Bar.
Credible information has it that Igunbor has relocated finally to his true native roots-Benin. The move was said to be motivated by a desire to “make it more” in life as the gentleman, who is in his unripe fifties was said to believe he would thrive better in his native Benin, than Lagos, the land of his youth.
In fact there were some shreds of information that Igunbor is presently into farming in Benin apart from his legal practice.
However there indications that Igunbor’s relocation to Benin was more of a forced flight than a voluntary decision.
In the year 2005, in the administration of Adekunle Ojo Esq, as the Chairman of the Tiger Bar, Igunbor got himself engaged, himself in a scandal that touched on his financial integrity and scorched his reputation.
What happened was simple but unpalatable. Two members of the Tiger Bar had paid their Annual Conference fee, totaling about Twenty-three thousand naira, to the branch.
The branch was to forward members’ fees to the secretariat of the national body, at Victoria Island, Lagos.
On the very day the N23,000.00 was paid, Igunbor strolled into the branch secretariat. Just when one of the clerks of the Ikeja bar one Seun Fagunwa, who was instructed to take the money down to the National Secretariat, was ready to go on the errand Igunbor a well known “uncle” figure to the young woman asked her to give him the money as he too was going to the Victoria Island, just then and would help her to make the payment.
The clerk, happy to be relieved of the stress of a long journey, respectfully handed Igunbor the money. Unfortunately Igunbor failed, refused or and neglected to make the payment. Yet he equally, failed, refused or and neglected to return the money to the Ikeja Bar.
Igunbor’s misconduct was discovered when he had no receipts in proof of the payment, to give or show the NBA Ikeja.
Despite numerous demands on Igunbor all through 2005, and indeed up till date, he has not paid back the money. At least on no less than five occasions, since 2005, the Squib has had occasion to ask Joe Igunbor, when he would pay back the twenty-three thousand naira he fraudulently converted in 2005. Igunbor’s constant answer has always been “I will pay”.
It would be recalled that when the issue of Joe Igunbor’s conversion of the money in question was raised at a General meeting of the branch, some Senior counsel like Deacon Dele Adesina S.A.N frowned at the position of those who accused Igunbor of stealing the sum of twenty-three thousand naira, in the circumstances of the case, as stealing was guilty of the twenty-three thousand naira in question.
According to Adesina, since Igunbor was yet to be prosecuted and convicted for stealing the money, it was not right for the minutes of the meeting that discussed his case, to describe him as stealing the money.
It is disheartening and disturbing to note that the incidence of financial misdeeds such as conversion of client’s funds and properties, theft, forgery etc are on a sharp rise amongst Nigerian lawyers, a situation, if condoned or complacently treated will soon rise to epidemic proportions.
The question remain: Where is Barrister Joe Igunbor? When is he going to pay back the #23,000.00 he stole from the Nigerian Bar Association, Ikeja branch?

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