Muslim lawyer at Osinbajo’s law firm counters Kperogi’s claims
Bashir Ramoni, a Muslim lawyer working at Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s law firm, SimmonsCooper Partners, has reacted to allegations of religious bias in the recruitment process of the firm raised by a renowned columnist, Farooq Kperogi.
In a widely circulated article titled “10 Reasons Osinbajo Will Ignite a Religious Civil War”, Mr Kperogi alleged that the law firm “regulates” employment of Muslims and that 99 percent of the employees are Christians.
“Yoruba Muslims say there’s a “standing rule” in Osinbajo’s law firm, Simmons Cooper Partners, that the employment of Muslims there must be regulated, which has ensured that “99%” of people who work there are Christians.
“In fact, someone confided in me that Osinbajo once asked an employee at his law firm with a Muslim last name, who’s actually a Christian, if he thought about how his name might “work against” him, subtly encouraging him to change it,” Mr Kperogi wrote.
But Mr Ramoni, who leads Tax and Revenue Practice at the firm, faulted Mr Kperogi’s assertion, saying the firm had employed practicing Muslims and does not discriminate against them.
“All allegations that suggest that SimmonsCooper Partners discriminates against Muslims are false and mischievous.
It is public knowledge that entry into SimmonsCooper Partners is attained through a transparent and competitive process devoid of any religious or ethnic considerations. The firm has employed practising Muslims and does not discriminate against anyone on the basis of religion, ethnicity, gender or any other ground. Today, I am one of the partners in the firm and I started as a pupil counsel in 2008, and have risen through the ranks to the firm’s leadership.
“Also, one of the longest serving staff members in the firm, Ismaila Aromire is a practising Muslim whom the firm is very grateful to for his long years of service.
When Prof Osinbajo was with the firm as Senior Partner, we Muslims, got promoted to different cadres as at when due along, with our peers who are Christians.
“The malicious nature of the allegation becomes obvious when you examine the spurious claim that Prof Osinbajo had a conversation with someone encouraging the individual to change a muslim name. This is false as there is no such person on the record of the firm and Prof Osinbajo never got involved in the employment process.
There is no one that fits the description of a Muslim convert who was being goaded to change his/ her name to a Christian sounding name. This is a blatant lie that indicates the vile nature of the proponent.
“As a practising Muslim from birth and till date and a pioneer staff of SimmonsCooper Partners, I have only grown in the firm and not discriminated against. We all have worked closely with this amiable man of repute for over a decade. He never for once took any decision that affected our faith and the practice of our religion. On the contrary, it was because of the Muslim faithful that Prof Osinbajo required the firm to start the weekly case review meetings earlier while also shortening it for Muslim staff in the firm to observe Jumu’ah service on Fridays