Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) President, Mr. Yakubu Maikyau SAN came face-to-face Wednesday in legal arguments with Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama SAN at the Court of Appeal over an attempt by NBA to stall registration of the Nigerian Law Society (NLS) by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).

CITY LAWYER recalls that the Federal High Court presided over by Justice Gladys Olotu had given the green light to the CAC to register the nascent Nigerian Law Society.

The NBA has however filed an application at the Court of Appeal seeking to upturn the judgment and stop CAC from going ahead to register the new association.

When the matter was called, Gadzama announced appearance “under protest” for the 1st Respondent and one of the NLS promoters, Chief Bolaji Ayorinde, SAN, while Maikyau led the NBA team for the applicant, Incorporated Trustees of the Nigerian Bar Association. The Appeal Court panel was led by Justice Hamma Akawu Barka with Justice Abba Bello Mohammed and Justice Peter Chudi Obiorah as members.

Maikyau contended that the applicant had served all the Respondents through the counsel who represented the promoters at the trial court. He argued that it behoves the counsel to draw the attention of either the court or the parties to the fact that he had no authority to receive service.  Counsel to the CAC aligned with Maikyau’s position.

Gadzama however countered the argument, saying that an application to appeal is an appeal in itself as well as an originating process which ought to be served personally on all the respondents and not through proxies.

CITY LAWYER gathered that both parties cited copious authorities to buttress their arguments.

Following the legal fireworks, the Appeal Court has reserved ruling on the application till a date to be communicated to the parties.

There are strong indications that the battle ground may shift to the other respondents who were not represented in court during the hearing. They include Chief Mela Audu Nunghe, SAN; Amb. Garba Gajam; Chief Emeka Ichoku; Mrs. Chioma Ferguson, and Tejumola Adigun who are listed as 2nd to 6th Respondents.

Aside from contending that the NBA was not a party before the trial court, the NLS has also argued that its application for registration by the CAC is rooted in Section 40 of the 1999 Constitution which permits freedom of association. This right, it argues, is also secured by the African Declaration on Human and Peoples Rights and the United Nations Universal Declaration on Human Rights (UDHR). The arguments have been countered by the NBA.

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