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SUPREME COURT FINE: Lawyers group wants NBA to disregard Afe Babalola, Olanipekun

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By Joshua Timi

The Radical Agenda Movement in the Nigerian Bar Association, a group of lawyers within the national body has advised by the National Executive Committee of the bar to disregard a letter purportedly written by the duo of Afe Babalola SAN and Wole Olanipekun SAN to protest the heavy cost imposed on them and the harsh words directed at them by the Supreme Court at their appearance in relation to the Bayelsa State governorship election judgment.

In a statement signed by Chairman of the group, Mr. Ogunlana Adesina Ademola and the Secretary, Ayo Ademiluyi, the group wonders why two learned Senior Advocates are making efforts to set the NBA against the Supreme Court based on what is termed as “their misadventure at the Supreme Court”

Recall that both lawyers represented the All Progressives Congresses (APC) and its candidates in the last governorship election in Bayelsa State – David Lyon Pereworinmin and Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo – in their request to the court to set aside its judgment, voiding their victory in the election.

The Supreme Court, in a ruling by a seven-man panel on February 26, 2020, dismissed the applications by the APC and its candidates, with Justice Amina Augie, in the lead ruling, rebuking both lawyers and awarding N30million punitive cost against each of them.

According to the two protest letters addressed to the National Executive Council (NEC) of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Chief Babalola and Olanipekun are insisting that they did no wrong by asking the court to take a second look at its earlier judgment.

In the said letters, the Learned Silks while seeking NBA’s intervention argued that they did nothing unlawful and unprofessional to warrant the harsh words used on them and the unprecedented cost awarded against them for merely carrying out their professional responsibilities as lawyers.

Babalola SAN and Olanipekun SAN argued that the decision of the Supreme Court, as it relates to them, was capable of laying wrong precedence that lawyers could be penalised for merely seeking to explore the justice administration process for the benefit of his/her client.

While Olanipekun personally authored his letter (dated March 10, 2020), Babalola’s letter (dated March 11, 2020) was written by the Managing Partner of his law firm, Adebayo Adenipekun.

Both letters were addressed to the NBA President, Paul Usoro (SAN).

In his letter, to which he attached all processes in respect of the case, Olanipekun said: “I and the team of lawyers that I lead in the matter did no wrong, either in terms of our presentation through the filling of the application or during the oral adumbration in court.

“I repeat again, with every emphasis at my disposal and all sense of responsibility that I/we did no wrong, committed no error and did/do not deserve the harsh comments (to put it mildly) in the leading ruling of the Honourable Justice Amina Augie.

“It might interest you to note that there is no nexus or proximity or even bearing between the processes filed by us and the most unfair and least expected stern expressions of His lordship, Amina Augie.”

Part of Babalola’s letter reads:”I write to bring to the formal attention of the National Executive the Nigerian Bar Association, the unfortunate events which occurred that day, but more importantly, to protest and draw the attention of NBA to the danger posed to the due administration of justice by the disparaging remarks made in the ruling of the court concerning our principal, Afe Babalola SAN, CON and the imposition on him of the unprecedented costs of N30million.”

“The action of the Court, aside from being unfair and totally unwarranted, is, if not urgently addressed, capable of sending a wrong signal to judges of courts, lower in hierarchy to the Supreme Court about how they can and should relate with lawyers, who appear before them to plead the case of their clients.

“This in the long run will be inimical to the development of trust and respect between the bar and the bench and will ultimately hamper the smooth operation of the justice delivery sector in Nigeria.

“It is with respect to their Lordships of the Supreme Court, who sat on the 26th of February 2020 that we state that the award of cost of N30million against Aare Afe Babalola SAN, CON failed to meet the standard set by that very court concerning the award of costs.

“Costs have never been imposed to intimidate counsel as is apparent in the cost orders made by the Supreme Court in this instance.

“The cost order lose sight of the fact that Aare Afe Babaloia SAN, CON, like every other lawyer, has a duty under the rules of professional conduct to devote his attention, energy and expertise and subject to any rule of law, to act in manner consistent with the best interest of his client.

“It is in the light of the above that we most respectfully request the ‘Nigerian Bar Association, though the National Executive Council, to look into this matter with a view to preventing a situation where the courts would seek to intimidate counsel and prevent them from either adequately presenting the cases of their clients or punishing them for doing so in a manner required of them under the rules of professional conduct.

“This situation, at the risk of repetition, if allowed to persist and gain footing, will do incalculable damage to the administration of justice in Nigeria.”

RAMINBA in the statement asked as follows:

  1. Why was it that other counsel who after them have brought similar applications were not in like manner rebuked or sanctioned by the Supreme Court?
  2. What does the letters intend to achieve? Is it for the NBA to review the Supreme Court judgement and reverse same?

3.Does the NBA have locus and vires to entertain or probe the judicial action and verdict of the Supreme Court to warrant the entertainment of the letters of the Senior lawyers?

  1. Are the letters meant to incite the Bar against the Supreme Court because of what has turned out to be a misadventure of two lawyers to the quarters of the Supreme Court?

Without delving into the facts of the case upon which the two Senior Advocates brough their application or the merit thereof or otherwise, it is clear as noonday that the action of two Learned Silks in bringing the application without meeting the grounds upon the Supreme Court judgement can be called upon to review itself brings the Supreme Court to opprobrium. The words of Honourable Justice Amina Augie speak to the defiance of the Majesty of the Supreme Court to sit as a court of final jurisdiction.

Furthermore,as learned Senior Advocates, they ought to know that the Nigerian Bar Association does not have the locus or vires to entertain inquiry into, probe, review or even set aside the judgment of the Supreme Court? Why appeal to the NBA after their application for review of judgment has been struck out by the Supreme Court?

Overall, why are the two learned Senior Advocates intent on setting the Nigerian Bar Association on collision with the Supreme Court based on their misadventure at the Supreme Court? Can we then encourage a situation where the local Branches of the NBA will sit on appeal on the judgments of the High Court in their jurisdiction based on the reprimand of two members of the Branch by the same Court? The answer is NO.

We are of the view that , contrary to the prayers of the Senior Advocates in their respective letters to the NEC, the duo should be referred to the Legal Practitioners’ Disciplinary Panel by the Nigerian Bar Association for appropriate sanctions for their actions , which amounts to gross professional misconduct.

GidiNews is exclusively designed to cover and report Lagos, Nigeria's commercial capital city. We bring you news updates, reports, opinions and analyses in Politics, Business, Sports, Entertainment, Crime, Health and Education among others. GOT NEWS FOR US? Reach us: +2349090870065, +2348055441309

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NURTW calls off proposed protests

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The National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW),Lagos chapter has called off the proposed protest slated for today.

In a phone conversation with our correspondence, the Chairman Lagos chapter of the association said the protest slated for today has been postponed. He made the decision after the intervention of the commissioner of police and the director of DSS Lagos State office.

It will be recalled that the association has forwarded a letter to the state Governor on a proposed peaceful protest as they want the state governor Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu to prevail on the suspended chairman of the union Alhaji Musiliu Akinsanya, to vacate the union’s office to avert another looming protest worse than End Sars.

Speaking with newsmen, Akeweje asked the Governor to instruct the embattled Lagos park management chairman popularly called MC Oluomo to vacate the office in accordance with the national body’s directives.

The peaceful protest is slated to pick up from the Governor’s office in Alausa Ikeja, Lagos down to the NURTW state office at Agege, Lagos.

Akeweje told our correspondent that the embattled chairman of the union Alhaji Musliu Akinsanya aka Mc Oluomo has been told to vacate the office since April 2nd this year but has remained in the office in defiance to the instruction of the national leadership of the association.

Akeweje calls on the governor to prevail on him to avoid possible breakdown of law and order that will endanger serious security breach.

According to Akeweje, “NURTW is the authentic body for transport business in Lagos state, we are all experienced members of the union from different branches and unit in Lagos state, we are also card carrying members of the All Progressive congress (APC) under the leadership of our father Asiwaju BOLA AHMED TINUBU.

Commenting on the protest, NURTW National Chairman, Alhaji Tajudeen Baruwa confirmed the proposed protest by its Lagos branch urging them to remain peaceful even in the face of provocation.

Akeweje notes that, they agreed to suspend the protest after the state commissioner of police and the director of DSS pleaded with them to give the government two weeks to proffer solutions to the problem.

Alhaji Akeweje said if the government failed to fulfill it’s own side of the agreement, they will be forced to go on with their planned protest by the end of two weeks.

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Group demands justice for Deborah

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CCGI, Civic Consciousness Global Initiative, a non governmental organization in a media parley on Wednesday in Lagos stressed the need for the people to participate in the running of government. The group lamented over the deteriorating state of the nation, calling on government to end the incessant killings in the land and proffer solution to the widespread insecurity facing the country at large.

 

CCGI specially demanded for accelerated justice for the killers of Deborah Samuel, a student of the Shehu Shagari College of Education stoned to death last week, for alleged blasphemy.

“Religion crises, killings and violent protest may come to an end if there’s strong political will to uphold the constitution and bring perpetrators to book without bias”. Professor Idowu Sobowale, Chairman of the Civic Consciousness Global Initiative, CCGI.

 

During the meeting which was supported by Rev Dr. Julius Odofin, Rev Solomon Adegboragun, Bishop Funsho Awe and the famous Dr. Bolaji O. Akinyemi of PVC-Naija, Professor Shobowale expresses sadness that impunity reigns supreme in Nigeria to an extent that people take the lives of others and go scot free.

Below is the full text of CCGI Press Statement as read by Professor Shobowale…

“the state of our nation has been very worrisome in the past few years

 

Insecurity has reached its highest level in our history as a nation, the event leading to the Nigeria civil war seems a child play when compared with the present happenings!

 

We need not remind you of the gory details, but for the records :

The smuggling of the Islamic Sharia laws into our Constitution ab-initio has been the bane of divisions among all loving Nigerians. Those who smuggled it in had a hidden intention and those who saw the evil or danger inherent in it, out of fear of losing out kept quiet. The same attitude goes on today and unless the fraud is arrested boldly and firmly, the recurring stone age jungle justice will continue in our beloved Nation Nigeria. Few cases will suffice for the press as guide to our Rulers.

 

The case of Tafawa Balewa University students on whom the sentence of FATWA (an Islamic death sentence) was pronounced in 2004 by a 31 year old FULANI man who is still walking around as a free man today!

 

One of the sentenced persons in this School had been beheaded before CAN (Christian Association of Nigeria) intervened to rescue the rest to Lagos!

 

We also have the RCCG woman who was on her Daily Morning Evangelism (Morning Cry) in Abuja that was brutally killed!

 

We cannot forget the case of AKALUKA who was beheaded somewhere in Kano and his head was hoisted on a stick and carried about in jubilation like a flag.

 

The Head of State then, General Sanni Abacha ordered the death of eight (08) of the nine (09) culprits fingered in the case.

 

The ninth person, though, incarcerated for two (02) years then, is today walking about now, a free man!

 

There is also the very annoying case of a government teacher who was transfered to a school in Gombe state, Northern Nigeria and while invigilating in an internal examination, she tried to prevent a student from cheating by seizing the student’s bag and throwing it where other students’ bags were kept. The cheating student instantly raised a false alarm that the teacher had desecrated her copy of the holy Quran!

 

The teacher was lynched and beaten to death!

 

Sad enough that arms of equal military sizes are in the hands of non state actors, enemies of our sovereignty, for whom a more strategic decisive action is still being expected from the highest security authorities in the land.

 

Our President, SIR, in the hope of a better and greater country, you have the assurances of our prayers for your person and office, trusting the Lord will grant you a happy ending of your tenure in 2023.

 

Of concern is the deteriorating value for human life; the sokoto killing unlike many others before the advent of technology didn’t save us from a video sighting of an evil of psychosocial trauma.

 

We are indeed traumatized!

 

The killing of Deborah Samuel a 200 level student of Shehu Shagari College of Education, speaks volume for our constitution, rule of law and administration of justice. We stand in shame with you before the global community! We therefore, condemn the killing of Deborah Samuel. We also need to call the attention of the global community to the protest for the release of certain persons who were arrested in connection with the crime. That religion is the reason is a fallacy, well meaning Muslims have come out to condemn the killing; notable among them sre His Excellency, Aminu Tambunwa, the Executive Governor of Sokoto state and the Supreme leader of Islam in Nigeria to whom all Muslims must defer in all matter of their religion. It is sad to note the the person and office to interpret the appearance of the moon is judged to be in error over is condemnation. Little wonder Alhaji Atiku Abubakar was rumoured to have withdrew his condemnation of the killing.

 

The practice of Islam in Nigeria is more political than religious.

 

The mob in the video and those who came out to protest against the civility of The Governor of Sokoto state and the throne of Sultan are intellectually incapable of electoral decision. We should therefore as a matter of urgency, given the embarrassing level of our illiteracy review the conditions of eligibility of voters in Nigeria. If persons to be voted into offices requires a level of educational qualification, it is needful that those to decide that fate must have an aligning level of knowledge.

Back to Justice for Deborah

 

Diverse as the many faces in the video are, are reasons for which the blue murder was committed.

 

The question it raises however is for the constitution to answer and for your as the President and Commander In Chief Of The Armed Forces to defend. Our sympathy will be with your office if the 1999 constitution as amended has no answer! This will further strengthen the need for restructuring of our federation and raise the immediate need of a new constitution.

 

The question on very many lips is when will the next one happen? This lack of hope in us as a nation, we must rise to disappoint those who have the urge to continue to kill senselessly.

 

We therefore want to make the following recommendations in the immediate:

 

The arrested initiators in her class and their army of collaborators who took the law into their hands to kill Deborah must be brought to book.

 

Long term recommendation, we can’t feign ignorance of separation that Islam expected between male and female, nor are we ready to be pretentious about the right of every Christian, may we therefore recommend that Christian students be given exclusively their faith educational facility where the hope of ignorantly annoying the faith of Muslims would not exist

 

Give Nigerian ONE mutually agreed CONSTITUTION where peace and justice truly reigns he concluded.

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Oniseri of Isheri Kingdom laid to rest

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The remains of His Royal Majesty Oba Wahab Ayinde Balogun, the Onisheri of Isheri Olofin Kingdom who joined his ancestors on Tuesday 8th of February was interred in his palace at Isheri on Wednesday.

Council Chiefs, politicians and many prominent individuals who thronged the internment programme, were full of eulogies for deceased King.

Many took out time to commiserate with the popular son of the late monarch, Crown Prince Idris Oluomo of Isheri Kingdom.

The Lagos state house of assembly member hon Kehinde Joseph described the late Monarch as a man of integrity and hardworking,

Also, hon Babatunde Aboyade, APC Apex Leader and vice chairman Lagos west senatorial district described the Oba as father for All, ”

he united the people of Idimu, Isheri and Alimosho for a peaceful environment”

Oba Ayinde Balogun joined his ancestors at a very ripe and eventful age of 97

Prince Idris Balogun fondly called Oluomo Kafata is an House Representatives hopeful in Alimosho Federal constituency come 2023.

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