LAGOS, Nigeria (VOICE Of NAIJA)- A Federal High Court in Abuja has faulted the decision by the National Executive Council (NEC) of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) to ratify the suspension of NBA’s General Secretary, Joyce Oduah.
In a ruling on Tuesday, Justice Ahmed Mohamed voided the ratification by NBA-NEC of Oduah’s suspension by the NBA’s National Executive Committee.
The ruling was on an application filed by Oduah, which was argued on Tuesday by her lawyer, Ayotunde Ogunleye.
Justice Mohammed was of the view that the NBA’S NEC, which ratified Oduah’s suspension, acted in bad faith and in utter disregard of the proceedings of the court.
The judge upheld Oduah’s lawyer’s contention that the ratification effected by NBA-NEC at its meeting on August 21 ought not to have been carried out in view of the pendency of a suit by the suspended General Secretary, challenging her suspension.
He agreed with the plaintiff’s lawyer that the purported ratification was not only an affront to the court but a denigration of the sanctity of the Judiciary which action the Supreme Court had condemned on many occasions.
Justice Mohammed rejected the argument by lawyer to NBA, Godwin Omoaka (SAN) that the ratification of the suspension was neither a slight on the court nor an attempt to change alter the subject matter of the case.
The judge held that having submitted to court’s 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.
He further held that the action of the NBA-NEC in relation to the unlawful ratification was irritating, annoying, condemnable and liable to be set aside since the actors in the illegal ratification cannot claim ignorance of the position of law on such contemptuous attitude.
The National Executive Committee (EXCO) of the NBA led by Olumide Akpata on August 15, 2022 suspended the General Secretary pending ratification by NBA’S NEC for final removal from office.
Nine out of eleven officers, who signed the resolution authorising the suspension, also referred Mrs Oduah to the NBA’S NEC for disciplinary action and for removal from office for alleged gross misconduct.
The NBA-NEC ratified the suspension but declined to ratify the recommendation for Oduah’s removal from office in view of her pending suit.
Listed as defendants in the suit are the NBA, members of its national EXCO and the Inspector General of Police (IGP).