Life Bencher and former Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association Security Agencies Relations Committee (NBA-SARC), Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama SAN celebrated his 25 years of conferment with the coveted rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria winning a $600 million lawsuit for his client.

This was heralded by a colloquium and book launch attended by leading lights of the Bar and Bench who joined the senior lawyer to mark the day.

The Court of Appeal delivered its judgment in the appeal filed by J-K Gadzama LLP on behalf of the Honourable Minister of the FCT & Ors. against the decision of the FCT High Court which had held the FCTA liable to pay over $600M with interest to Kohath Property Development Company Limited for alleged breach of contract.

Despite the order of stay of execution pending appeal by the FCT High Court and an appeal against the decision, Kohath had taken steps to commence enforcement of the judgment at the Rivers State High Court, Bori.

The court had granted the garnishee order absolute towards the enforcement of the judgment though there was a pending appeal and an order for stay of execution pending appeal by the same Court that delivered the judgment.

However, the Court of Appeal in its judgment remitted the matter to the FCT High Court to be given an expeditious hearing. The appeal was heard by Hon. Justice O. E. Williams-Dawodu, Hon. Justice U. A. Ogakwu and Hon. Justice J. Y. Tukur.

Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Body of Benchers, retired Justice Mary Peter-Odili has commended Gadzama for his giant strides, saying: “This colloquium and book launch of Chief J.K. Gadzama upon the attainment of 25 years as a senior advocate of Nigeria is an epochal achievement. It is no doubt appropriate that the team is ‘The Nigeria of our dreams: A call to the patriots.’ I say so in light of the prevailing situation in Nigeria as a result of the 2023 general elections which has generated a lot of storms necessitating the conversation we are about to indulge in as there seems to be a move to draw the nation into chaos or conflagration.

“This may be brought about by some individuals and groups who fan the embers of hatred, bigotry, and tribalism and fail to see the possible outcomes of utterances without caution that are being thrown around.”

Although the retired judge accepted that as humans it hurts when one feels cheated in a contest, she added that once a person is declared a winner irrespective of the grievances and shortfalls, such do not justify the destruction of the country.

She added: “I am confident that having such persons here including our chief host, Chief J. K. Gadzama, there is confidence that at the end of the day, a resetting of the mind would take place and we will keep things in perspective in the full knowledge that elections are seasonal and litigation relating thereto of the same vain and so, when the seasons are gone, the court gets back to their natural and regular duties of adjudication regarding the affairs, and rights of all persons irrespective of their status in life.

“J. K. Gadzama SAN has called us to this discussion lest we forget our past, the recent happenings in our country, and the need for a restoration of the ethos and the values for which the founding fathers have set a motion as a guide to all of us young and old irrespective of the positions we occupy in their society, we all have to get our axes together and rebuild our nation.”

The colloquium and book launch were hosted by the Minister of Education, Prof. Tahir Mamman, SAN and attended by Justice Mary Peter-Odili who was the Chairperson of the occasion; Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN, the Guest Speaker; Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Prince Lateef Fagbemi SAN (Special Guest of Honour). Others are His Royal Highness Shehu of Borno, Abubakar Ibn Umar Garbai Al-Amin El-Kanemi; His Imperial Majesty, Deji of Akure Kingdom, Oba (Dr.) Aladetoyin O. Aladelusi;  His Royal Highness, Emir of Uba, Alhaji Aliyu Ibn Ismaila Mamza II; Labour Minister, His Excellency, Simon Lalong, and the former Governor of Adamawa State, His Excellency Bala James Nggilari.

Others are former Governor of Bauchi State, Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar, SAN; former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Arch. Ibrahim Bunu; Chief Adegboyega Awomolo SAN and his wife, Victoria Awomolo SAN; the 2nd Vice President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Clement Chukwu Emeka (Democrat); NBA General Secretary, Mr. Adesina Adegbite; immediate past Chairman of NBA-SPIDEL, Dr. Monday Ubani; pioneer NBA-SPIDEL Secretary, Mr. Victor Nwakasi, and Chief C. P. Oli among others.

In his speech, the Guest Speaker said: “I have known the celebrant for quite a long; he is one of the few to have achieved this feat in the legal profession and I cannot say for once when he disrespected me or has shown discourtesy to any member of the legal profession. He is patient, humble and lifted of the Lord. That is J-K, and that is what his name means to me.”

Midway into the event, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Prince Lateef Fagbemi SAN unveiled the books titled “J-K Through the Cases” and “Compendium of Articles in Honour of J-K Gadzama, SAN”. He noted that the books are resources not only for now but also for future generations.

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