The ratification of barrister Joyce Oduah’s suspension as secretary general of the Nigerian Bar Association has been overturned by a federal high court in Abuja.
The ratification by the NBA’s National Executive Council was annulled Tuesday and quashed by the court on the grounds that the action was an affront to the rule of law and a violation of the court’s procedure in the case.
Judge Ahmed Ramat Mohammed, who ruled in a petition filed and argued by Ayotunde Ogunleye on behalf of the plaintiff, found that the NBA’s NEC, which gave legal effect to the plaintiff’s suspension, acted in bad faith and the proceedings of the Plaintiff completely ignored. court.
The judge agreed with Ogunleye that the ratification carried out on August 21 should not have been carried out by the NEC given the pending lawsuit challenging the suspension in the first instance.
Judge Mohammed also agreed with the plaintiff’s counsel that the alleged ratification was not only an insult to the Court, but also a denigration of the sanctity of the judiciary, which had been condemned on several occasions by the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
In his application, Ogunleye had drawn the Court’s attention to the fact that outgoing NBA president Olumide Akpata, who is the second defendant in the suspension lawsuit, chaired the August 21 meeting of NBA’s NEC, where the alleged ratification was carried out. carried out.
Ogunleye quoted Supreme Court authorities as saying that the Olumide Akpata-led National Committee acted against the established law by taking steps in a pending case against them, adding that the alleged ratification was a deliberate and desperate ploy to to impose helplessness on the court.
He urged the court to convict the Council for resorting to self-help in a lawsuit adjudicated by a court.
Judge Mohammed agreed that after submitting to the jurisdiction of the court, no party should have settled disputes with the plaintiff in court and with or without express order of the court, should not have taken any further steps with regard to to the subject of the dispute.
The judge said that the NBA Council’s actions with regard to the illegal ratification were irritating, annoying, objectionable and voidable, as the illegal ratification actors cannot claim ignorance of the law’s position with regard to such a contemptuous attitude.
The NBA National Executive Committee headed by Olumide Akpata had suspended the Secretary General on August 15, 2022 pending ratification by NBA’s NEC for permanent removal from office.
Nine of the 11 officials who signed the resolution approving the suspension also referred Ms. Oduah to the NBA’s NEC for disciplinary action and for removal from office for alleged gross misconduct.
While the NBA’s NEC upheld the suspension, it refused to ratify the plaintiff’s removal from office on the basis of its existing legal action against the suspension.
Godwin Onuakwu, a senior lawyer from Nigeria, had made vigorous efforts to justify the ratification on the grounds that the NBA’s NEC acted only after a completed act.
He urged the court not to rule that the NBA’s NEC’s action amounted to self-help or attempts to impose a sense of hopelessness on the court, as the suspension can be quashed and quashed by the courts if justifiable. in the plaintiff’s case. .
However, Judge Mohammed disagreed with the senior attorney on the grounds that the NBA’s NEC action was a direct attack on the court and should not stand.
In particular, the judge noted that the action of the NBA’s NEC members was painful because they are all legal professionals.
The court then set August 31 for a hearing in a motion on a notice demanding a mandatory injunction against the defendants in the lawsuit.