Court reverses ratification of Oduah’s suspension as NBA Sec-Gen
A Federal High Court in Abuja, yesterday, nullified ratification of the suspension of Joyce Oduah as Secretary General of Nigerian Bar Association (NBA).
The ratification by NBA’s National Executive Council (NEC) was voided and set aside on the ground that the action was an affront to the rule of law and a violation of court proceedings on the matter.
Justice Ahmed Ramat Mohammed, while ruling in an application filed and argued by Mr. Ayotunde Ogunleye on behalf of the plaintiff, held that the NEC, which gave legal effect to suspension of the plaintiff, acted in bad faith and in utter disregard of proceedings.
The court, thereafter, fixed August 31 for hearing in a motion on notice seeking mandatory order of injunction against the defendants in the suit.
The judge agreed with Ogunleye that the ratification done on August 21 ought not to have been carried out by the NEC, in view of the pendency of a suit challenging the suspension in the first instance.
Mohammed also agreed with the plaintiff’s counsel that the purported ratification was not only an insult to the court but also a denigration of the sanctity of the judiciary, which, on several occasions, has been condemned by the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
Ogunleye had, in his application, drawn the attention of the court to the fact that the outgoing NBA president, Olumide Akpata, who is the second defendant in the suit against the suspension, presided over the August 21 meeting of the NEC where the purported ratification was carried out.
Ogunleye cited Supreme Court authorities to establish that the Akpata-led NEC acted against established law in taking steps in a matter pending against them, stressing that the purported ratification was a deliberate and desperate ploy to foist helplessness on the court.
He urged the court to condemn the council for resorting to self-help in a suit being adjudicated upon by a law court.
Mohammed agreed that having submitted to court jurisdiction, joined issues with the plaintiff in court, and with or without express order of court, no party ought to have taken any further steps on the subject matter of the litigation.
The judge said the action of the council, in relation to the unlawful ratification, was irritating, annoying, condemnable and liable to be set aside, since the actors in the illegal ratification could not claim ignorance of the position of law on such contemptuous attitude.