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Contempt of Court: NBA President escapes bench warrant

*Lawyer begs judge not to issue the warrant

It was a melodrama at today’s hearing of the motion for an Order committal of Mr. A. B. Mahmoud, President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and Isiaka Olagunju General Secretary of the NBA to prison for contempt of court in serial violation of court orders made in Ezenwa Anumnu Versus Incorporated Trustees of the NBA in suit number FCT/CV/277/16.

Mr. Tolu Babaleye counsel to the Unity Bar had urged the court to issue a Bench Warrant for the arrest of the duo of Messrs A. B. Mahmud (SAN) and Isiaka Olagunju (1st and 2nd contemnors) for failure to appear in person to answer to the series of violation of subsisting court orders made in the course of the proceedings.

Mr. Babaleye urged the court that it is proper to issue a bench warrant to arrest the contemnors in order to preserve the integrity of the court.

Soji Olowolafe and Ifeoma Dako appearing (in protest) for A. B. Mahmoud (SAN) and Isiaka Olagunju, the alleged contemnors, pleaded with the court to give him time to regularise his processes notwithstanding that his appearance is in protest as there is an exception to the general principle of law that contemnors have a duty to appear in person to answer to the quasi-criminal proceedings. He also said he is challenging the jurisdiction of the court.

He urged the court to apply restraint in the interest of the reconciliation of the parties which he intends to initiate. The court notwithstanding observed that nothing has been filed before it in that respect but it was minded to give the alleged contemnor’s counsel an opportunity to come properly before her. The judge incidentally is new in the matter. He warned against meddling with the sanctity of the court as the court will not hesitate to bring the full weight of the law on erring parties.

The court reiterated that orders of the court must be respected at all times by all persons as that is the meaning of the rule of law.

Mr. Babaleye in the spirit of the contemnor’s counsel passionate plea, stood down his application and the suit was adjourned to the 18th of January 2018 for pending applications.

www.gongnews.net had reported several disobedience of court orders by the NBA President and General Secretary whose tenure is standing on the appeal against its removal by the jugdement of Hon. Justice Tsoho of the Federal High Court in March 2017 in Olasupo Ojo Vs Incorporated Trustees of the NBA

This is a very sad development coming from the body of lawyers in the country that is expected to hold government or any such institution doing same accountable. The NBA’s action portends grave dangers for the sanctity of the courts in the land.

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