Former Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) First Vice President, Mr. John Aikpokpo-Martins and Bar Leader Funmi Adeogun have headed to the Court of Appeal to challenge the verdict of the Federal High Court which dismissed their lawsuit against the Minister of Art, Culture and Creative Economy Hannatu Musawa and media personality Kenny Ogungbe.

CITY LAWYER recalls that the duo had dragged Musawa to court for allegedly violating the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Act. The lawsuit led to a discord between the duo and NBA leadership. Analysts believe that it is not unconnected with the dissolution of the Executive Committee of NBA Section on public Interest and Development Law (NBA-SPIDEL) led by Aikpokpo-Martins.

They also asked the court to compel the NYSC to nullify the certificates given to Musawa and Ogungbe, alleging that the issuance of the certificate was contrary to the provisions of NYSC Act Cap N84.

In the Notice of Appeal made available to CITY LAWYER, the duo asked the Appeal Court to set aside the judgment of Justice J. K. Omotosho on the ground that the NBA was not a party to the case and that “NBA did not apply to join in the case as a party or interested party.”

The appellants also argued that the judge misdirected himself in law when he held that “the plaintiffs in this suit have commenced this action not in their personal capacity as natural persons but in their official capacities as chairman and secretary of NBA Section on public interest and development law”.

They contended that “There is nowhere in the entire affidavit in support of the originating summons that the appellants deposed that they bring the action as the chairman and secretary of NBA-SPIDEL.”

The appellants also stated that the trial judge misdirected himself in law and in fact when he held that “the said NBA-SPIDEL being an incorporated body and without the authority of the National Executive Council of the Nigerian Bar Association before this suit was instituted” when the same section 17(4) of the NBA constitution relied upon by the Honourable Court did not give only the National Executive Council of the NBA the exclusive power to grant authority sections to institute actions in court in the name of the Association and when also there was no evidence that the National Executive Council did not authorize the institution of this case.

The appellants had sought a declaration at the lower court that Musawa and Ogungbe are not entitled to be engaged as employees by any employer of labour or services (including the Federal Government of Nigeria) without first possessing and presenting their certificates of national youth service.

They also sought a declaration that the Musawa is not entitled to continue to hold the exalted office of Honourable Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria or any public office in Nigeria after allegedly violating the provisions of Sections 2(1), 12(1), and 13(1) of the National Youth Service Corps Act, Cap. N84, LFN 2004.

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