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SAN sues lawmaker over ‘unsettled’ professional fee

By Joseph Onyekwere
03 May 2022   |   2:55 am
A Senior Advocate of Nigeria and Professor of Law, Andrew Chukwuemerie, has sued the House of Representatives member, representing Southern Ijaw Federal Constituency

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria and Professor of Law, Andrew Chukwuemerie, has sued the House of Representatives member, representing Southern Ijaw Federal Constituency of Bayelsa State, Hon. Preye Oseke, over alleged refusal to pay his professional fees for services rendered to him during the 2019 elections.
  
In two separate suits marked ABJ/CV/3403/21 and ABJ/CV/3404/21, before the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), the claimant is seeking an order compelling the defendant to pay the balance of his professional fees.

  
He claimed that he owed him since 2019 when he defended him (the lawmaker) in respect of the 2019 House of Representatives election.
  
The claimant, according to court papers, is demanding an order of the court compelling the defendant to pay him the sum of N24, 500,500 being and representing the payment on a quantum meruit basis (reasonable value of services) out of the N35 million agreed professional fee for filing a suit against one of the defendant’s opponents in the then poll, Hon Benson Konbowei.
  
While asking the court to order the defendant to pay him N5 million as exemplary and punitive damages, he also prayed for another N20 million as the cost of the suit.

In the second suit, which has to do with defending the lawmaker at both the Election Petition Tribunal and at the Court of Appeal also in 2019, the senior lawyer is claiming the sum of N20 million as outstanding professional fees, another N500, 000 as outstanding appearance fees, and the sum of N15 million as cost of the suit.
  
According to the claimant, the defendant had engaged him to defend his victory at the Election Petition Tribunal and the Court of Appeal in 2019.
  
The defendant had contested the seat of the Southern Ijaw Federal Constituency in 2019 under the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and won the election, which was challenged by his opponent.
 

 
The claimant said due to his competent and diligent defence, Oseke won at both the tribunal and the appellate court.
  
He said the problem started after Oseke’s victory at the Court of Appeal when he refused to pay him the outstanding of his professional fees and would neither pick up his call nor reply to his text messages.
  
At the time of the election cases, he stated, the defendant claimed that he was cash-strapped and promised to pay his debt immediately he gets money, adding that he would pay once he gets to the National Assembly and starts receiving entitlements.
  

The claimant, however, revealed that several attempts to get the lawmaker to fulfil his promises have failed to yield results, adding that the defendant has “remained recalcitrant and unwilling to pay his debt.”
  
“It is now obvious that the defendant will not pay those fees except he is compelled by an order of this court,” the claimant declared.

But the defendant denied the first case and in the second disagrees with the figures.

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