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Sentence Dalung for contempt of court -NBBF

*NBBF contests election guidelines as illegal

By Oluwole Francis

We can report that the crisis bedevilling the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) has been taken to an Abuja High Court presided by over by Justice B. O. Quadri. The NBBF whose election took place in Kano on the 12th June are the supposed brains behind the legal tango which is already being contested on contempt charges against the minister.

The matter which was filed by Originating Summons has plaintiffs Alhassan Auwalu and Abdullahi Bello, who are challenging the validity of the elections guidelines because it amounted to the usurpation and overthrow of the written constitution binding them and the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF).

In a Motion on Notice filed on the 17th July, 2017 and served on the 18th July, the plaintiffs are seeking for the Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung, to be tried for contempt of court. They claimed that the minister turned deaf ears on the originating summons and a motion on notice for interlocutory injunction to contest the validity of the guidelines the Ministry issued in conducting elections into the Sports Federations.

By their arguments, a written summon was filed on the 8th June 2017. The notice for contempt noted that: “The contest is beyond the purported illegal elections contested on the 13th June 2017 into the NBBF offices. The matter first came up by exparte on the 9th June, 2017, for relief of interim injunction against the election of 13th June 2017.

The Honourable court was however of the view that you be put on notice and consequently adjourned to 13th June 2017 for hearing of the motion on notice for Interlocutory injunction.

“Unfortunately, despite the counsel to the Minster pleading for an adjournment on the basis of the fact that though he had more than 48 hours required for the motion to be argued, he needed more time to be able to study the ‘voluminous documents’, the election subject to the motion on notice for injunction was purposely conducted in contempt of court.

“Honourable Minister, as one of the ambassadors of the noble legal profession, you are familiar with the statement of the law, that the rule of law and rule of force are mutually exclusive. Law rules by reason and morality, force rules by violence and immorality. Thus where the rule of law operates, the rule of self-help by force is abandoned. Therefore, as in the instant suit, once parties have admitted to the jurisdiction of the court, they must not resort to self-help. In other words, once the court is seized of a matter, no party has a right to take the matter into his own hands. No one including the government or executive is entitled to take the law into his own hands.

“As law abiding citizens, our clients therefore requests us to draw your attention to all the foregoing and that you refrain from the intending inauguration of those purportedly elected into the 3rd defendants’ board pending when the court rules one way or the other.

The Judge, Federal High Courts, Abuja, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister for Justice, the Inspector General of Police, the Chairman of the Public Complaints Commission and the President of FIBA were all copied in the letter.

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