LEKKI GARDENS: OPEN LETTER TO GOV. BABAJIDE SANWO-OLU, BY OSFRA

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ENUGU MAGISTRACY SAGA: ‘MY STORY,’ BY ‘REMANDED’ LAWYER

MR. FIDELIS OKEKE is the lawyer in the eye of the storm. He was reportedly remanded by His Worship, Ezeobi Ngozi Anidi (Mrs.), a Chief Magistrate sitting at Agbogugu Magistrates Court in Enugu State, in lieu of his client. In this no-holds-barred interview with CITY LAWYER, he chronicles the eventful proceedings that have caught the attention of the nation’s legal community

Please briefly introduce yourself
I’m Okeke Chinweze Fidelis Esq., also known as F. C. Okeke Esq. I am a legal practitioner of No. 33 Ogui Road, Enugu. I wish to state my ugly experience at the Magistrate Court, Agbogugu on 16th March, 2021 where I was detained by the magistrate for inexplicable reasons.

We understand you were remanded by a magistrate due to the absence of your client. How true is this?
On 15th March, 2021, the Registrar of the Court by name Austin called me and informed me that the Magistrate told him to fix Charge No. CMA/12C/2017 for 16th March, 2021.

Immediately, I called my client who informed me that he was in Lagos. My client pleaded that I should represent him. On 16th March, 2021, the matter was called and both the Prosecutor and myself announced our appearances. I told the Learned Magistrate that the Registrar just informed me about the matter the previous day, that I called my client immediately but he was not around.

The Prosecutor did not object. As we were about to take date, the Learned Magistrate said, ‘Oh, I remember this case! This is the case I made an order and the accused is disobeying.’ The Magistrate started writing, after which she read what she wrote.
In her Ruling, she read that “the Court should be acknowledged and now justice and not a play house. In the regard the Counsel for the accused will remain in Police custody upon the production of his client.”

However, lawyers like Onwe Vincent Esq. (0803772xxxx), Gladys Ani and C. C. Agu (0803435xxxx) were in court, including the Prosecutor, Innocent Egbuaba (ASP).

The trending order has been cited as fake. How true is this?
Those who regard the order in circulation as fake are enemies of justice. On 16th March the order was made. I applied for the Record of Proceedings. If I go to MTN, I can get (call record) evidence that from that 16th March, 2021 the Registrar continued delaying to issue me the record and the ruling until 25th March, 2021.

I paid for the record of proceedings and a receipt was issued to me in regards to that. I have the receipt as evidence that I processed the Proceedings and the Ruling. Whatever that makes any person(s) to classify a genuine Order of Court as fake is strange to me. The person(s) can produce another one to contradict the one I have.
Again, those who regard the Order as fake ought to have verified if the signature in the Proceedings is that of a staff of Magistrate Court Agbogugu designated to sign such processes. I deem the allegation that the Order is “FAKE ” as laughable.

Tell us briefly about the facts of the case
The fact is that the Complainant is the step-sister of the accused (my client). The Complainant reported at Agbogugu Police that the accused person demolished her (complainant’s) father’s house and built a Duplex. The complainant claimed that her property inside was valued about N7 million. The accused was charged to court. Upon the accused’s arraignment, he was granted bail and the condition fulfilled by the accused person’s surety (not myself). Subsequently, trial commenced. PW1 testified and was cross examined.

On the day the matter was adjourned for PW2 to testify, the Prosecutor made an application for the accused person to give the Complainant one room in his (accused) house. The application was granted. Dissatisfied with the Order, the accused filed an action for judicial review, challenging the Order for Possession made by the Magistrate in a criminal matter.

The High Court, Awgu delivered Judgment against the accused person. Dissatisfied again, the accused filed a Notice of Appeal and Stay of Execution. The Stay of Execution is still pending at the High Court, Awgu in Suit No. HAW/2019.

On 8th December, 2020 the Magistrate – without any application before her – remanded the accused for contempt of court. Dissatisfied, the accused approached High Court, Awgu and was granted bail.

At Awgu High Court, the accused applied for the Order to be quashed based on INEC and Ejike Oguebego where the Supreme Court (coram Nweze JSC) held that where a defendant in a cause challenges the validity of an Order directed against him, either by way of an appeal or other application, he cannot be proceeded against for contempt of that order unless and until the issue of its legality is settled. Nweze JSC further held that for contempt exfacia curiae, a charge and plea are necessary and the accused is entitled to fair hearing.

Sadly, as if the Learned Magistrate had the intention to remand the defendant’s Counsel, at the bottom of the Order I secured, surprisingly the Magistrate wrote: “defendant council (sic) is to be put in Oji custody until he complies.”

In fact, one of the Judges at High Court, Awgu saw the order and started laughing and jokingly asked, ‘Counsel, why are you here instead of Oji Prison.’ Other lawyers started laughing.
The application the accused made was first ex parte and for stay of all actions; this was granted. After service of the processes, including hearing notice, the respondents didn’t oppose; in short, the lawyer to the Complainant at the lower court said that he was not opposed to the application. The High Court Awgu presided over by His Lordship N. Orji delivered judgment in favour of the accused on 25/3/21.

In the judgment, the remand of the accused without any contempt proceedings was quashed and the charge was transferred to Awgu Magistrates’ Court. The High Court Registrar said that the CTC of the Judgment will be ready this week.

Is it true that the remand order was discharged by the magistrate?
The lawyers I mentioned earlier pleaded for the Magistrate to discharge the Order but she refused initially. However, when the Magistrate finished all her matters, the lawyers continued begging until she read again that the Order was discharged. One of the lawyers had pleaded that instead of detaining a lawyer, a Bench Warrant be issued against the accused. The Magistrate then issued a Bench Warrant against the accused.

Surprisingly, when I got the Order from the Registrar, there was no discharge or Warrant of Arrest Order contained therein. Immediately, I asked the Registrar of the Court if that was the only thing on record and he said yes. I tried to find if he omitted some pages but he was firm that there was nothing more on the record of the Court for that day.

We understand the accused had a contempt order hanging on his head which had not been discharged. Could that be a reason the court was aggravated by his absence?
It is very interesting to point out that there is no contempt proceeding/charge against the accused person. The accused was always in court except that day that I was given a short notice. I immediately called the accused but he told me that he was not in town.

Could your attitude to the court have compelled the remand order on you?
I had never exhibited any unusual conduct in the Court, including the day the incident occurred. Ask lawyers that are always in the court. I had never behaved in any way that could have led to such incident. I never behaved in any reprehensible manner. My conducts have been that of a diligent lawyer.

We understand the order was promptly discharged by the magistrate, and that you suffered no hardship ultimately. Is this correct?
I maintain that I am still surprised that the Learned Magistrate purportedly feigned to have discharged the Order when she was about to rise because when she made the Order, lawyers in the court pleaded for her to discharge the Order but she refused. I had no option than to sit in the court hall because I was aware that an Order was made against me. When she finished all matters in the cause list, lawyers continued begging the Learned Magistrate; then she purportedly read that the Order was discharged and I was able to leave the court.

What is in circulation was the document the Registrar issued to me and nothing less or more. The document is genuine and I paid for it. In fact, the Order made by the Learned Magistrate is worse than the one in issue. I am also ready to produce all the documents I mentioned in connection with this case.

We understand that the matter has been transferred to another court. How does that make you feel?
From all indications, even the High Court Awgu saw reasons to transfer the matter; but all in all, I suffered because after the Order, I would have gone because I was supposed to go for check-up at the 82 Division Hospital due to my illness but I stayed until the court rose and read that I was discharged.

Given that the remand order was discharged by the court and that the matter is no longer before the magistrate, some may accuse you of seeking cheap publicity or sensationalizing the issue. What is your reaction to that?
Despite that the discharge order is not contained in paper circulating, I was purportedly discharged in the presence of the lawyers that pleaded. If I wasn’t discharged, will it be said that I disobeyed the Court or why did the police in Court not arrest me? Even the Complainant whom the Prosecutor said was in Lagos later appeared and was jubilating. I feel that some information can on interrogation come from the Complainant.

Before the paper even started circulating, I told many lawyers about my ugly experience in the court and how I was remanded. Also on the 25th of March, 2021, I informed my Lord N. Orji about how I was detained by the Learned Magistrate. On the same day, I applied for CTC of the proceedings, yet till date the Registrar has been telling me to come today, come tomorrow; though that can’t be a much barrier to me. I posted this issue in my ESUT LAW CLASS 05 WhatsApp group on 24/3/21 while we were discussing about the remand of an Abuja lawyer by the group.

The trending ruling does not show you were really discharged. Do you plan to take steps to remedy this?
As it stands now, it is obvious that the Order has not been discharged. My liberty is at stake because once it is an Order of a court, it is subsisting until discharged.

 

 

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NBA, JUDICIARY WADE INTO ENUGU MAGISTRACY REMAND SAGA

The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and Enugu State Judiciary have waded into the controversy trailing the alleged remand order on an Enugu-based lawyer by His Worship, Ezeobi Ngozi Anidi (Mrs.), a Chief Magistrate sitting at an Agbogugu Magistrates Court in Enugu State.

The social media was agog at the weekend following reports that a lawyer, Mr. Fidelis Okeke was ordered to be remanded in police custody following the absence of his client in court in Charge No. CMC/12c/2017, Commissioner of Police vs John Chidozie Igwe. Speculations were rife that the trending ruling was fake, prompting a frenzied debate among lawyers and jurists.

CITY LAWYER can authoritatively report that both the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and Enugu State Judiciary have waded into the controversy with a view to unraveling the facts.

The first hint of NBA’s intervention was dropped by the National Welfare Secretary and Publicity Secretary Emeritus, Mr. Kunle Edun via an online post thus: “The NBA 1st Vice President is following up on the matter with the local branch. We are impatiently waiting for the report of the local branch intervention.”

When CITY LAWYER sought more clarification on the post, Edun, a human rights activist, said: “We want to get first-hand report from the branch first, which we are still awaiting.”

Confirming the interventions, Okeke told CITY LAWYER that both NBA Enugu Branch Chairman, Mr. Jude Ezegwui and the Chief Registrar of Enugu State Judiciary, Magistrate Kingsley Eze have got in touch with him.

While he had narrated his experience to the Chief Registrar, there are strong indications that the branch may have asked him to submit a written report on the debacle for onward transmission to the national body. “I plan to do so immediately I’m done with the two matters I have in court today,” he told CITY LAWYER.

Though Okeke claimed that the chief magistrate ordered his remand in police custody, some lawyers argued that the trending ruling was fake, as it was not signed by the magistrate. There were indications that the remand order was vacated by the court.

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ENUGU RULING: DIALECTICS OF CTC, REMAND AND LAWYER’S FREEDOM, BY PROF. RACE ACHARA

In this article, leading jurist and former Dean of Law, PROF. R. A. C. E. ACHARA tackles the claim that the certified copy of a trending ruling of an Agbogugu Magistrates Court presided over by His Worship, Ezeobi Ngozi Anidi (Mrs) which allegedly ordered a remand of one F. C. Okeke Esq, is fake and proffers a synthesis 

The beauty of law often consists in its long established rules for testing between opposed versions of a story.

Currently, there is a CTC of the court’s proceedings. A CTC is by our Evidence Act the equivalent of the manuscript record of the presiding magistrate. If it has been forged by the court’s registrar, we should all be alarmed and the felon should be prosecuted and dismissed from service. What was published is not an enrolled order where perhaps the registrar might, in the inevitable attempt at summarization, have lost the meaning intended by the adjudicator. But even here, the hoary legal principles provide an important safeguard. If it is an enrolled order drafted by the court’s clerk or registrar, the adjudicator himself must sign it. This affords such a magistrate the opportunity and duty to cross-check the draft. A CTC involves no summary. It is a direct capture ipsissima verba of the record made by the adjudicator on the record book. This is why there’s no legal necessity for the judge to sign it, having already signed the original record book from which it has been extracted by her own staff.

So, which of the two conflicting stories would lawyers accept under our age-old laws and practice procedures? The record book (extracted by the court’s registrar, at a fee, and under the judicial seal of Enugu State by the usual Evidence Act procedure of a CTC)? Or, a social media publication by a random lawyer (with no legal practitioner’s stamp and seal, no claim of representation for the Hon. Chief Magistrate, or any apparent nexus or employment with the Enugu State judiciary)?

Nota bene:

The two narratives conflict only on the matter of whether or not the learned magistrate made the order suggesting, as shown in the CTC of her own records, that learned counsel should be remanded in police custody until such a time as his contemptuous client is found to replace him in gaol.

The grammatical ambiguity might be good reason for the police not to detain the lawyer, but that is a different conversation altogether.

Other than in this respect, the body of the new narrative does not conflict with the gist of the CTC. It talks of the conduct of the client, which if proven, could warrant his committal to prison for contempt. Apparently, the learned Chief Magistrate had already indeed committed him (ostensibly in absentia) to prison. It did not address the CTC evidence that as a result of the client’s assumed peccadilloes, the Hon. Chief Magistrate turned her ire on the client’s counsel. Indeed, the narrative tends to buttress this.

This is no instance to throw the safety of fellow counsel to the dogs merely for representation of their clients in court. Unless taken to its legal limits, the precedent would be dangerous and only encourage any out of control adjudicator to gamble on an abusive, infra dignitatem imprisonment of a legal practitioner, in the malicious understanding that before its reversal, the humiliated fellow lawyer would have unjustly, even if for a few hours, been incarcerated in shame.

Chief Theodore Ezeobi, SAN, God rest his soul, would never tolerate this sort of humiliation. His name need not be dragged into this fiasco.

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ALLEGED REMAND ORDER: IN DEFENCE OF ENUGU MAGISTRATE, BY LAWYER

Following a trending ruling of an Agbogugu Magistrates Court presided over by His Worship, Ezeobi Ngozi Anidi (Mrs) which allegedly ordered a remand of one F. C. Okeke Esq, counsel for the accused person, MARY BASSEY GODWIN, ESQ. x-rays the proceedings and concludes that the entire saga is designed to smear the hard working jurist, adding that no lawyer was remanded in custody or mistreated

THE TRUE FACTS OF THE FABRICATED ORDER TO ARREST A LAWYER PURPORTEDLY ISSUED BY AN ENUGU MAGISTRATE CIRCULATING (IN) THE SOCIAL MEDIA

The complainant who claimed to be an only child of her parents, told the court on giving evidence that her father made her promise not to forfiet (sic) her father’s name in order to secure the family name.

Upon the death of her father, her mother married a woman into the family to bear children. The accused is said to be the produce of the said marriage.

Upon hearing, the complainant told the court she received a call from Lagos that her step-brother had demolished the house she built and has demolished her father’s house. She rushed down to the east and saw it was true. She went to the police station and made a formal complaint and the matter was brought to court.

Upon the commencement of proceedings, the complainant prayed the court that she was stranded and had no place to sleep each time she came to the village praying the court to allow her have a room in her father’s house pending the determination of the suit that her brother would not allow her into her father’s house any more.

The court gave a ruling ordering the brother to open a room for the sister pending the determination of the suit.
The court’s ruling was based on the Supreme Court case of Ukeje v Ukeje, the judgement of Honourable Justice Olabode Rhodes-Vivour (which now grants women from the Eastern part of Nigeria a right to inheritance).

The accused’s counsel appealed the ruling to the High Court Agwu, Enugu State. The High court upheld the judgement of the lower court and sent the case back to the magistrate court.

The magistrate then gave an order for the accused to make a room available to the complainant. In December 2020, the matter came up again before the magistrate. The court was informed that the accused had not carried out the order of court.

The magistrate again instructed the accused to carry out the order of the court or face a contempt charge. Yet again, the Accused did not carry out the order of the court. The accused told the court he would not give up a room for his sister. The court then ordered for the arrest of the accused who was in contempt of court for disobeying the order of court.

The accused was remanded in prison custody. At the next adjourned date, the complainant informed the court that the accused was not in prison custody and had been going about town bragging that his money is speaking and remains untouchable.

The court issued a warrant of arrest repeatedly and was told by both counsel and the prosecutor that they were unable to locate the accused. The complainant at the following hearing informed the court that the Accused was in the village.

On the 16th of March the matter came up .The court yet again asked if the accused has been seen, the counsel for the accused said no. The court yet again asked the counsel for the accused if he was aware that the accused is at large. Counsel for the accused, after a short silence told the court that the accused was sick.

After this revelation, the court addressed the other lawyers in court who immediately rebuked the counsel for the accuses (sic) and asked him to apologise to the court. Counsel for the accused pleaded with the court and undertook that by the next adjourned date, he will work with the police to produce the accused. The magistrate then issued a bench warrant for the arrest of the accused.

After that hearing, the spurious and fabricated document emerged on social media in an attempt to intimidate the court.

Enugu State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Muhammad Aliyu and the officiating DPO, Mr. John Igele, have both confirmed that the order to arrest a lawyer circulating on social media is a fabrication. It never existed nor was any lawyer arrested.

Mary Bassey Godwin, Esq.

Copyright 2020 CITY LAWYER. Please send emails to citylawyermag@gmail.com. Join us on Facebook at https://web.facebook.com/City-Lawyer-Magazine-434937936684320 and on TWITTER at https://twitter.com/CityLawyerMag. To ADVERTISE in CITY LAWYER, please email citylawyermag@gmail.com or call 08138380083. All materials available on this Website are protected by copyright, trade mark and other proprietary and intellectual property laws. You may not use any of our intellectual property rights without our express written consent or attribution to www.citylawyermag.com. However, you are permitted to print or save to your individual PC, tablet or storage extracts from this Website for your own personal non-commercial use.

GADZAMA LLP TO HOST OPUTA MENTORING PROGRAM APRIL 24

  • CHIEF KANU AGABI SAN IS KEYNOTE SPEAKER

Leading law firm, J-K Gadzama LLP will on Saturday, April 24, 2021 hold the 6th Edition of its Hon. Justice Chukwudifu Oputa JSC (Rtd) Professional Training and Mentoring Programme for Young Lawyers. Time is 10:00 am to 6:00 pm.

The theme of this year’s mentoring programme is “Navigating the rough path in the legal profession – The mix of the old and new generation.” The Keynote Speaker is former Attorney-General & Minister of Justice, Chief Kanu Agabi SAN while the Acting Chief Judge of the High Court of FCT , Justice Salisu Garba is the Chairman of the occasion.

Discussants include Mr. Oyetola Atoyebi SAN, Managing Partner, OMAPLEX Law Firm; Mrs. Diane Okoko FCIArb, Partner, Marcus Okoko & Co.; Ms. Toyin Bashir, Partner, Banwo & Ighodalo, and Mr. Darlington Onyekwere ACIArb, Partner, J-K Gadzama LLP.

The event will be moderated by Sarah Jeta Atumga and Lamar Joe-Kyari Gadzama, both Associates at J-K Gadzama LLP.

According to the statement made available to CITY LAWYER, “Young lawyers below 10 years at the bar should kindly click on the link below to register https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZUrc-mhqTspHdy79VrT2rMaIjMMsIEFINdM

“From the pool of registrations, a selected number will be invited to attend physically – keeping in line with the COVID-19 guidelines – while other participants will join virtually.”

Copyright 2020 CITY LAWYER. Please send emails to citylawyermag@gmail.com. Join us on Facebook at https://web.facebook.com/City-Lawyer-Magazine-434937936684320 and on TWITTER at https://twitter.com/CityLawyerMag. To ADVERTISE in CITY LAWYER, please email citylawyermag@gmail.com or call 08138380083. All materials available on this Website are protected by copyright, trade mark and other proprietary and intellectual property laws. You may not use any of our intellectual property rights without our express written consent or attribution to www.citylawyermag.com. However, you are permitted to print or save to your individual PC, tablet or storage extracts from this Website for your own personal non-commercial use.

BAR LEADER, DURU NAMED BADMINTON ASSOCIATION CHAIR BY SANWO-OLU

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu has named Bar Leader and former 1st Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Lagos Branch as the new Chairman of the board of Lagos State Badminton Association.

In a letter dated 8th March, 2021 and made available to CITY LAWYER, it was noted that Duru’s appointment was “as a result of your keen interest and contributions to sports development as well as selfless service to humanity and sterling achievements in your chosen field. We believe and expect these qualities will be fully brought to bear in your role as a Board Member.

The letter which was signed by the Executive Chairman of Lagos State Sports Commission, Sola Aiyepeku added that “By this appointment, members of the board are expected to work assiduously for the transformation of the Association in line with the Lagos State Sports Commission’s Vision of building ‘The foundation for a sustainable vibrant industry’ and Mission ‘To make Lagos the leading sports destination in Africa.’

Also appointed as board members are Mr. Abiodun Akinyemi (Vice Chairman), Mr. Lekan Abdul, Mr. Bayo Haastrup, Alhaja Rekia Zubair and Mrs. Bukky George. The board members were sworn in on Thursday, March 11, 2021 at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Surulere, Lagos and have since assumed duties.

An avid badminton enthusiast and player, Duru was the Chairman of the Badminton Section of Ikoyi Club 1938.

Copyright 2020 CITY LAWYER. Please send emails to citylawyermag@gmail.com. Join us on Facebook at https://web.facebook.com/City-Lawyer-Magazine-434937936684320 and on TWITTER at https://twitter.com/CityLawyerMag. To ADVERTISE in CITY LAWYER, please email citylawyermag@gmail.com or call 08138380083. All materials available on this Website are protected by copyright, trade mark and other proprietary and intellectual property laws. You may not use any of our intellectual property rights without our express written consent or attribution to www.citylawyermag.com. However, you are permitted to print or save to your individual PC, tablet or storage extracts from this Website for your own personal non-commercial use.

NIN REGISTRATION: UBANI FLOORS FG, DEADLINE NOW APRIL 6

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has ordered the extension of the deadline for enrolment for the National Identity Number by two months with effect from Tuesday, March 23, 2021.

Justice Maureen Onyetenu granted the extension while delivering a ruling in a suit (MONDAY ONYEKACHI UBANI V. FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OF NIGERIA & ORS) filed by leading human rights lawyer, Mr. Monday Ubani against the Federal Government, Attorney General of the Federation, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy.

Ubani instituted the fundamental rights enforcement suit seeking enforcement of his fundamental rights as guaranteed by the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He contended that the initial two weeks ultimatum (now extended to 6th day of April, 2021) given to telecommunication operators to block SIM Cards of Nigerians who have not registered their SIM Card with NIN if allowed, will infringe on his constitutionally guaranteed right to freedom of expression, right to own moveable property and right to life. He therefore prayed the Court for an Order extending the deadline.

In her ruling, Justice Onyetenu granted all the reliefs sought by Ubani and made the following declarations and orders:

1. A DECLARATION that the ultimatum given to telecommunications operators by the 1st, 3rd and 4th Respondents to block all Subscriber Identification Modules (SIM) cards that are not registered with National Identity Number (NIN), is grossly inadequate and will not only work severe hardship, but will likely infringe on the fundamental rights of the Applicant (and millions of other Nigerians) to freedom of expression as guaranteed by section 39(1)(2) of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as well as violate section 44(1) of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) which prohibits the compulsory acquisition of right or interest over moveable property.

2. A DECLARATION that in view of the covid-19 pandemic and the rising cases in Nigeria presently, the deadline given by the 1st, 3rd and 4th Respondents to the Applicant and over 200 million Nigerians to register their SIM Cards with NIN, will lead to a rush, thereby resulting to clustering of the Applicant and other Nigerian citizens in a NIN registration centre, subjecting him to the possibility of easily contracting the covid-19 virus, and such will amount to a violation of his fundamental right to life as protected by section 33(1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).

3. AN ORDER halting the said ultimatum given by the 1st, 3rd and 4th Respondents to telecommunication operators to block all SIM Cards that are not registered with the National Identity Numbers (NIN).

4. AN ORDER directing the 1st, 3rd and 4th Respondents to extend the deadline for the registration of SIM Cards with NIN for a further two months with effect from the 23rd day of March, 2021.

Copyright 2020 CITY LAWYER. Please send emails to citylawyermag@gmail.com. Join us on Facebook at https://web.facebook.com/City-Lawyer-Magazine-434937936684320 and on TWITTER at https://twitter.com/CityLawyerMag. To ADVERTISE in CITY LAWYER, please email citylawyermag@gmail.com or call 08138380083. All materials available on this Website are protected by copyright, trade mark and other proprietary and intellectual property laws. You may not use any of our intellectual property rights without our express written consent or attribution to www.citylawyermag.com. However, you are permitted to print or save to your individual PC, tablet or storage extracts from this Website for your own personal non-commercial use.

ENCOMIUMS, AS ODUBELA IS BURIED WEDNESDAY

• BOSAN, AMOSUN, DINO MELAYE, OTHERS MOURN HIM
• VALEDICTORY COURT SESSION HOLDS TODAY

Leading lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. John Olusegun Odubela who died last Monday will be buried on Wednesday at his Ikenne, Ogun State country home. He was aged 55 years.

Meanwhile, a Valedictory Court Session organised by the Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (BOSAN) will be held today at the High Court of Lagos State, Ikeja by 2 pm in honour of the deceased. The hybrid event will be beamed to a global audience via ZOOM. The Meeting ID is 821 1756 0781 while Passcode is 337059.

While the Service of Songs holds tomorrow in Lagos at 5 pm (Meeting ID: 889 3896 7924; Passcode: 459997; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yeL_EiiPuJg), the burial service holds on Wednesday at 11 am at the Methodist Church, Ikenne, Ogun State (Meeting ID: 847 7681 6053; Passcode: 138208; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kbEG-1AGY7U).

Several jurists and politicians have also been extolling the virtues of the senior lawyer since his passing. Odubela was until his death the longstanding Head of Chambers at the leading law firm of Rickey Tarfa & Co. A former Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology in Ogun State, Odubela took silk in 2017.

According to THE PUNCH, “Odubela was lawyer to several VIPs, such as former Kogi-West lawmaker, Senator Dino Melaye; Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio; and the All Progressives Congress candidate in the last Edo State governorship election, Osagie Ize-Iyamu.” He was pivotal to the electoral petition victory of former Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole among several others. He was the Director-General of Prince Dapo Abiodun Governorship Campaign Committee.

Odubela graduated from Ogun State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Law and was admitted to the Nigerian Bar in 1990. He also received a Master of Laws degree from the University of Lagos in 1995. A Notary Public of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the seasoned jurist was an active member of the International Bar Association (IBA) and the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA). Odubela was survived by a wife and three daughters.

Tributes have been pouring in celebration of the late senior lawyer who many describe as a humane and excellent lawyer and gentleman. Below are some of the tributes.

BODY OF SENIOR ADVOCATES OF NIGERIA (BOSAN)
‘Kindly be informed that the Valedictory Session in honour of Late Mr. John Olusegun Odubela SAN is scheduled for Monday, March 22, 2021 at 2 pm prompt at the High Court of Lagos State, Ikeja.

The esteemed presence of the distinguished members of the Inner Bar will be highly appreciated’, the statement reads in part.

The Late Mr. Olusegun Odubela, SAN, served as the head of chambers/Managing Partner in the law firm of Messrs Ricky Tarfa & Co. He was also a Notary Public of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Mr. Odubela graduated from Ogun State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Law. He was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1990, He obtained a Masters of Law degree from the University of Lagos, in 1995.

He was a member of the International Bar Association and Nigerian Bar Association.

EDO STATE GOVERNOR, MR. GODWIN OBASEKI
“I am deeply saddened by the passing of my friend and brother, John Olusegun Odubela, SAN, a great compatriot, who toiled till his last days in defence of justice and truth.

“Odubela was a fine gentleman, intelligent and committed to the fine ethos of democracy, working earnestly to defend the people against the excesses of their oppressors.”

“He was a brilliant lawyer, who was always on the path of justice and honour. Since 2007, Odubela has been active in the fight to protect the people’s right to choose their leaders. When circumstances caused a reenactment of the same battle, he threw his legal prowess into the ring to ensure that this legacy is upheld. He remains a shinning light in efforts at consolidating democracy in our dear state.

“On behalf of the Government and people of Edo State, I send heart-felt condolences to his immediate family; the people of Ogun State, who he served as Commissioner; his friends and associates and pray that God will grant us all the fortitude to bear this irreparable loss.”

SENATOR IBIKUNLE AMOSUN
Former Ogun State Governor

“As a Commissioner for Education in Ogun State, Barrister Odubela gave a good account of himself as a brilliant, hardworking, dependable and highly resourceful person. He exuded an unparalleled passion for the progress of Ogun State and Nigeria, and most particularly at the bar where he had an accomplished career and attained the prestigious rank of SAN,” Amosun stressed.

“Odubela, my dear Odubela. How can I be writing about my Commissioner One, our Commissioner One, the Commissioner One of the Ogun State Executive Council Class of 2011-2015 in the past tense?

“Excellency, I will go to court, let me challenge that in court” – this was your usual phrase. Who will now be going to court on our behalf? How could the cold hands of death snatch Odubela away so suddenly and in such a cruel way.

“Alas, at around 10.32pm on Monday night, 15th March 2021, I was informed that the worst had happened, Segun Odubela had gone to his creator.

“It saddens my heart that his life, dreams and blossoming legal career had to end abruptly at this time. J.O. Odubela, as he was fondly called, was a dutiful, loyal, ever joyful and smiling, and above all, an embodiment of what we called “Ogun Standard”. He will be sorely missed by all of us in Ogun State and beyond.

“As painful as his death could be, I enjoin the Odubela family, the Ogun State Executive Council Class of 2011-2015, members of the inner bar, the people of Ikenne and indeed Ogun State to take solace in the fact that Barrister Olusegun Odubela lived a fulfilled life and left behind enduring legacies. I pray that Almighty God will grant him eternal rest and give all of us the fortitude to bear the pain of his loss.

“Adieu Segun Odubela, my dear Commissioner One!”

SENATOR DINO MELAYE
In his tribute, Melaye wrote: “I am saddened and pained to hear the demise of my beloved friend and lawyer, John Olusegun Odubela, SAN. Someone I can call a brother and friend any time, any day. Though I know that death is inevitable as the Holy Bible tells me, but, why must it be you, my friend? I am yet to come to terms that you are no more. Oh death! What have you done?

John Olusegun Odubela, SAN was one of those who championed my cause and was there for me in almost all my legal battles. A man who truly believed that where there is a wrong, there is a remedy. A man who would not be bought or sold, who in his innermost soul is true and honest and will stand for what is right though the heaven falls. A fine and brilliant senior advocate per excellent. His death is indeed a great and devastating loss to me, the legal profession, Ogun State and our dear nation.

My friend, I will sorely miss you for your exemplary life of service and strong commitment to the course of justice, good conscience and equity. It is very dishearten that your dreams, aspirations and good life had to end unexpectedly without any formal notice. Nevertheless, with a great sense of gratitude to God for the good life you lived and the lives of so many you touched and imparted. There is no doubt that the rich memories of official and humanitarian services to the legal profession, Ogun State and our nation would keep endearing you for a remarkable reckoning.

I’m also sending my condolences to Ricky Tarfa, SAN who mentored John Olusegun Odubela, SAN and was before his death, the Managing Partner and Head of Chambers of Ricky Tarfa & Co.

I pray God Almighty to grant those you left behind the fortitude to bear this loss, fill the gaping hole your demise had left in our hearts and grant you eternal rest. Amen.

Adieu my Friend.

ODUBELA_1

ODUBELA_2

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A/COURT SCREENING: ‘I PLAYED KEY ROLE IN NJC DUMPING NOMINEES,’ SAYS CAROL AJIE

RIGHT OF REPLY

Fiery Bar Activist and former Secretary of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Lagos Branch, Dame Carol Ajie has said that she contributed to the dropping of two candidates who allegedly performed poorly during the National Judicial Council (NJC) screening of the nominees for elevation to the Court of Appeal.

In a rejoinder to CITY LAWYER‘s report on the matter, Dame Ajie narrated her high-profile interventions on the controversial screening exercise, adding that CITY LAWYER did not credit her efforts as contributing to the reversal of fortunes suffered by the affected jurists.

Below is the full text of the rejoinder which was sent to CITY LAWYER.

NBA vs NJC Appellate Court Nominees: Mr Emeka Nwadioke – Unfair Reporting

As you privately twice acknowledged yesterday Saturday 20th Match I wrote self inspiringly interventionist views on the above subject many including Gambo Saleh NJC Secretary received it I I also sent it to Ms Hadiza Supreme Court Chief Registrar on my contact list via WhatsApp and email to a former CJN Mariam Muktar GCON. I believe a number of people were surprised that I backed Akpata on anything cos they had perceived I won’t and couldn’t back him.

Perhaps I don’t know the part of the real reason for NJC U Turn arose from the shocking endorsement I have Akpata though you are too dishonest to admit it in your poor article which I have trashed.

A former NBA GS who shall not be named wrote me a long whatsapp text yesterday to dump support for Akpata on this I didn’t buckle. I said Akpata is right.

I sought on my own initiative to back him that is why I wrote my interventionist text like that. If I didn’t want to back him I know how to write Read a draft of what would have appeared anti Akpata

An NBA President Akpata who never hid his aversion for the court room suddenly becomes an advocate of who a good appellate court Judge should be. Please Distinguished readers trash it. You know Akpata is conventionally greedy he has zero record on public interest chances are that as NBA President he probably had his preferential candidates who didn’t pass the mark set by CJN/NJC A transactional lawyer indeed should not be telling a CJN who is eligible for the bench when not his turf. Thank U
End

Chidi Odinkalu himself cannot file a motion he knows nothing about litigation he has no practice he was never in practice.

But why put down Akpata or Chidi they are my Brothers I said one from Midwest plus Akpata actually is UNIBEN Alum. As a Catholic Christian I said he has taken a right step let me publicly support him. That z it. As for Chidi he is my Brother I call him Brother CAO hus (sic) initials

If I wrote that anti Akpata and shared it within half an hour it would get to CJN through Ahmed Gambo.Saleh and Madam Chief Registrar SC or other sources. Trust me they will say Iroko Tree Ajie is against Akpata and she is for us CJN CR SC NJC Secretary and the fight goes on . Note there is no NBA nominee into FJSC I didn’t support Usoro and they read me and as you know CJN has not yet resolved it

My friends may not be happy with me that I backed Akpata openly I mean my friend Madam CR SC and then I am now reading a dishonest report in City lawyer magazine that failed to give credence to efforts in a struggle I courageously took part in my name on it

If you don’t know how to address me I am a Georgetown scholar I read for it on my degree certificate are the appellation Professor Scholar Juris I didn’t inherit it and as a renowned Constitutional Law lawyer I changed a few provisions in the Nigerian Constitution through documented struggles google search Carol.Ajie and Constitutional Law I have an Intl human rights certificate from Georgetown which cannot be bought with all the money in the World I worked to get my credentials Dues fully paid.

Best regards
CA

Copy Mr Akpata etc

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