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NBA wants Oyo ACJ sanctioned

Posted by AKEEB ALARAPE, Ibadan on 2007/06/25 | Views: 397 |

NBA wants Oyo ACJ sanctioned

The Ibadan branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has petitioned the National Judicial Council (NJC) over what it called the 'despicable, deplorable and arrogant conduct' of the embattled Acting Chief Judge (ACJ) of Oyo State, Justice Afolabi Adeniran.

The Ibadan branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has petitioned the National Judicial Council (NJC) over what it called the 'despicable, deplorable and arrogant conduct' of the embattled Acting Chief Judge (ACJ) of Oyo State, Justice Afolabi Adeniran.

The NBA's petition was a follow up to the boycott of the ACJ's court as ordered by executive council of the Ibadan Bar on Saturday June 9 as a mark of protest against the conduct of the proceedings of Friday, June 8, when Justice Adeniran quashed and set aside the Oyo State Government White Paper, which indicted Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala of misappropriation of public funds.

In a letter, dated June11, 2007 and addressed to the Honourable Chief Justice of Nigeria, who also doubles as the chairman, National Judicial Council (NJC), the lawyers specifically referred to the ACJ's handling of suit No: M/267/2007 between Otunba Christopher Adebayo Alao-Akala versus Attorney-General, Oyo State, which they alleged was abuse of court processes as it wa filed secretly.

Entitled: 'Petition Against Honourable Justice Afolabi Adeniran, The Acting Chief Judge, Oyo State of Nigeria', the lawyers stated that two suits, M/266/2007 and M/267/2007, which sought for the quashing of the report of an Administrative Panel of Enquiry set up by the former administration of Senator Rasidi Ladoja, where both Governor Alao-Akala and the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Chief Layiwola Olakojo, were both indicted for misappropriation of public funds, were done in secrecy and in violation of all principles of Law.

According to the petition, signed by Vice Chairman of the association, Luqman Laoye Esq, the case had earlier been filed in suits M/249/2007 and M/255/2007, before another court of same jurisdiction, presided over by Justice Adegboyega Gbolagunte, who dismissed them on the ground that they constituted abuse of court processes. The same case was also said to be pending before a Federal High Court, Ibadan, in suit FHC/IB/CS/18/2007.

The Ibadan Bar pointed out that upon the unceremonious sack of the then ACJ, Justice John Olagoke Ige by the new state governor and the reinstatement of Justice Adeniran in his stead, the contending suits were filed secretly in Adeniran's chambers and assigned to himself.

"No wonder, the suits were not recorded in the Record/Log Book in the open registry when a search was conducted, little wonder then that the two suits were not assessed by the principal or any appropriate officer of the court and indeed, the respondent did not sign the affidavit in suit No: M/266/2007 and the Commissioner of Oath did not sign in Suit No: M/267/2007; simply because they were processed before the Acting Chief Judge Adeniran.

"To show that everything was shrouded in secrecy, when on June 7, 2007, Abiola Olagunju Esq, one of the counsel to the members of the Administrative Panel of Enquiry sought to file process in the two suits, officials in the open registry turned down the processes on the ground that they had no record of them," the NBA explained.

The Bar equally expressed its dismay that despite the rancorous proceedings of June 8, 2007 and the allegation of bias and interest leveled against the ACJ by one of the counsel representing the defendant, Senator Ladoja, he went ahead in granting all the reliefs sought by the plaintiff.
"Suit No M/267/2007 came up for the first time on June 8, 2007, heard same day and the court raced against time to grant all the reliefs therein contained. To confirm the allegation that the judge acted a script, a gazette was published immediately the court set aside the White Paper.

"One wonders why the judge was in a hurry to hear and determine the Originating Summons the first time it came up before the court, having regard to the fact that there was no affidavit of urgency filed by the Plaitiff. To show that he was above board like Caesar's wife, he ought to have granted the
adjournment sought till Monday the 11 of June 2007.

"It cannot be gainsaid that the poor handling of the above suit by the Honourable Justice Afolabi Adeniran in very questionable circumstances culminating in quashing the White Paper had brought the judiciary to ridicule and odium "The Ibadan Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association was aghast and mortified when Justice Afolabi Adeniran ignored all known settled principles of Law and in one
stroke set aside the White Paper by which the plaintiff and other public officers were indicted of
embezzlement," the Ibadan Bar stated.

The Bar, therefore called on the NJC to expedite disciplinary action against Adeniran, whose retirement
was due in August, so that he would not go scot free with the alleged damage he has done to the legal

"We deem it necessary to invite your Lordship to this position in the hope that an Emergency meeting of
the National Judicial Council can deal with this matter expeditiously," it stated.

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