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Ezenwa Anumnu v. Incorporated Trustees of NBA : Counsel To NBA President Writes NBA, On Own Account Of What Transpired At The Court

Olasoji O Olowolafe Esq Counsel to the NBA president Mr AB Mahmoud and the General Secretary Mr Isiaka Olagunjuhas with respect to the supposed serial violation of court orders made in the case of Ezenwa Anumnu v. Incorporated Trustees of NBA FCT/CV/277/16 written a letter disclosing the status of the case to the office of the General Secretary of the Nigerian Bar Association.

In the letter, it was disclosed that the case came up for the contempt proceedings initiated at the instance of Mr. Annuumnuand that Mr. Tolu Babaleye appeared for the plaintiff who was present in court and appearance was announced in protest for the President and General Secretary of the Bar who are parties cited in the contempt proceedings.

According to the letter, Mr. Babaleya sought to move an Ex parte application and it was told the court that though a party may move an Ex parte motion even when the respondent is in court and such a respondent may not be heard in opposition, an exception occurs when respondent is contesting the issue of jurisdiction of the court; that such a party can be heard in opposition to the Motion Ex-parte on the issue of lack of Jurisdiction.

They however noted that the court stated that they should allow counsel to introduce his motion Ex-parte so as to know if it is just an innocuous application. According to the letter, Mr. Babaleye introduced his motion Ex-parte which was on substituted service of the processes in the contemptproceedings on the 3rd and 4th Respondent/Alleged contemnors, and that the motion was moved and thereafter granted. Also, Mr. Babaleye made an application that since it was a contempt proceeding which is a criminal proceeding, the presence of the first and second contemnors could not be dispensed with.

Counsel to the NBA executives, however noted that they corrected the wrong impression by the opposite counsel to the effect that the proceedings is purely criminal and therefore stated that the proceedings was rather a quasi-criminal proceeding. They also stated that there was indeed an exception which will aid to dispense with the appearance of their clients and, that is when the jurisdiction of the court is challenged. This was argued citing the case of Brittania – U Nig. Ltd v. Seplat Petroleum Devt. Co (2016) 6 NWLR (pt. 1503), which happens to be a recent decision.

They affirmed that, they as well urged the court that NBA cases are like family matters and it should never get to the point where any member of the body should be urgingthe arrest of the President and the General Secretary. Counsel however noted that indeed the court preached the “why” of the integrity of the court and also why it must be preserved, no matter how high the persons involved are placed and also that a date be picked for the filing of processes to articulate their jurisdictional objections. Therefore, the matter was adjourned tothe 18th day of January, 2018.

Counsel therefore stated that the report published by TheNigerialawyer about the case never represented the true state of the matter, as it is believed to be instigated by the plaintiff. On the contrary the Plaintiff is saying the earlier report published was the true fact of what transpired.

Recall that TheNigerialawyer on Thursday published news titled “Contempt of Court: Lawyer begs judge not to issue a bench warrant against NBA president and General Secretary”.

The matter is adjourned to 18th January 2018.

The Nigeria Lawyer

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