History was made on Thursday, October 21, 2021 as an Assistant Commissioner of Police, Simon Lough became the first Nigerian Police Officer to be elevated to the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN).
The elevation of the highly decorated senior cop to the coveted rank was communicated by the Legal Practitioners’ Privileges Committee (LPPC).
In a statement by the Acting Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court, Hajo Sarki Bello on Thursday, the LPPC disclosed that it took the decision to elevate 72 lawyers to the prestigious SAN rank at its 149th plenary session held on Wednesday, October 21.
Further, it revealed that the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Justice Tanko Muhammad would swear in the new SANs on Wednesday, December 8, 2021 at the Supreme Court premises to mark the commencement of the 2022 legal year of the apex court.
ACP Simon Lough is presently serving at the Force Legal Department of the Nigeria Police, Louis Edet House, Force Headquarters, Abuja.
Born in 1969, Simon Lough is one of the shining lights in the Nigeria Police Force. The Benue-born lawyer has represented the Force as a prosecution counsel in many high-profile cases in which he has secured some daring convictions, distinguishing himself as a thorough-bred, outstanding and dogged crusader for justice and a firm upholder of human rights.
Despite the corruption-tainted profile which some bad eggs have foisted on the Nigeria Police, the overwhelming feedback from many who have crossed the path of the cerebral Simon Lough either in the courtroom or in other areas of discharging his professional duties is that of a policeman with a huge dose of integrity who acts in good faith to everyone he encounters.
His elevation to the rank of SAN comes as further testimony of the fact that, in spite of the often badly portrayed image of the Force, there are still men and women of good standing within its fold.
Equally important, the 52-year-old Simon Lough has enjoyed a stellar, largely scandal-free career in the Nigeria Police Force. On Monday, March 5, 2018, the erudite cop was one of the 61 Chief Superintendents of Police (CSP) promoted to the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) during the 26th Plenary Meeting of the Police Service Commission (PSC), presided over by the Chairman of the Commission, Dr. Mike Mbama Okiro, a retired Inspector General of Police.
His elevation to the prestigious rank of SAN – a first in the history of the Nigeria Police Force – comes as fitting reward for his years of meritorious representation of the legal profession in his chosen field of endeavour, even as it is believed that the development would further open the door for other outstanding lawyer-cops to achieve the exalted rank.
Simon Lough was elevated alongside 71 other lawyers comprising 10 academics and 62 advocates.
Among other recipients of the 2021 SAN award is a 91-year-old Professor of Law, Ajagbe Toriola Oyewo; Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Mr. Tony Ojukwu; a former member of the House of Representatives, Ehiogie West-Idahosa; a former Secretary of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Emeka Obegolu and Eko Ejembi Eko, son of a Supreme Court Justice, among others.
The SAN rank is awarded as a mark of excellence to members of the legal profession who have distinguished themselves as advocates and academics.
The position of SAN confers a few privileges on the awardee. This includes a higher order of precedence as a SAN sits in the inner bar by occupying the front row of the seats available for legal practitioners in courts.
This also extends to the right of a SAN to mention his cases ahead of other lawyers, no matter their age of professional qualification.
Also, a SAN must always appear in court with a junior lawyer. Appearing with a junior lawyer may, however, be waived where the matter is a criminal one. Further, SANs dress differently from other lawyers.
Their gowns are sown more stylishly and made of silk materials which makes the appearance also more elegant. SANs are also called “the Silk” because of the clothing materials they use.