A new twist was on Tuesday afternoon added to the battle between the Nigerian Bar Association(NBA) President, Olumide Akpata, and suspended General Secretary of the association, Ms Joyce Oduah, as a Federal High Court Abuja set aside the ratification of the suspension by the National Executive Council, NEC of the Association.
A nine member executive officers of the association had last Friday August 19, 2022 announced the temporary suspension of Ms Oduah, saying it would leave the matter to NEC the next Sunday, August 21, to determine the fate of the General Secretary. Meanwhile, Oduah, through his lawyer, Ayotunde Ogunleye had challenged her suspension, asking the court for an interim order to void the suspension.
Rather than granting the order, Justice A.R Mohammed directed that she should put the other party on notice and adjourned till today, August 23, 2022.
Rather than wait for the decision, the matter was tabled before NEC on Sunday, and after a series of heated arguments, NEC ratified the suspension.
Several lawyers had criticized the ratification, calling it illegal and therefore void. One of such is notable senior lawyer, Mr Jubrin Okutepa SAN, who accused the NBA leadership of flouting the rule of law by constituting themselves as complainant, and the judge.
However, when the matter came up today, Justice Mohammed set aside the NEC ratification and reinstated Ms Oduah back to office. He said that the action of the Akpata led officers constitute an affront on the rule of law and therefore, void. He adjourned the suit till August 30 and directed the defendants should be served court papers through substituted service.
With this development, a lawyer told Gavel International that Ms Oduah is expected to be reinstated back to her office while every action and decision that pertains to the function of her office, and taken behind her becomes void. She will have an opportunity to give an account of her tenure at the general meeting of the bar on Thursday August 25, which the outgoing president, Akpata, and the nine executive members that suspended may not be comfortable with.
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