SALAMI SUIT: CJN ASK COURT TO JOIN EX-NBA PRESIDENT
The Chief justice of Nigeria [CJN], Justice Dahiru Musdapher has asked a federal high court to join a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association [NBA], Chief Oluwarotimi Akeredolu [SAN] as a party to the suit filed by suspended President of the Court of Appeal [PCA], Justice Ayo Isa Salami against the recommendations of the National Judicial Council [NJC].
But the presiding Judge, Justice Donatus Okorowo has fixed October 18, 2011 to decide on the application filed by Mr. S. T. Ologun Orisa on behalf of the CJN.
The CJN has prayed the court to hear his application for joinder before hearing the motion on notice brought by the National Judicial Council (NJC) saying that the court lacks jurisdiction to hear Salami's suit.
Counsel to Salami and former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Chief Akin Olujimi (SAN) informed the court that there are plethora of cases decided by the federal high court, court of appeal and the Supreme Court that have insisted that the issue of jurisdiction in any case be resolved before delving into other applications.
It was learnt that the purpose of seeking to join Akeredolu was because he is
a member of NJC who equally partners with Salami's lawyer Olujimi in law practice who is the one prosecuting case against NJC.
Consequently there is fear that a member of NJC cannot be part of the prosecuting team against the council.
Other defendants in the suit including, the Deputy Chairman of the NJC, NJC's fact-finding committee, Hon. Justice Umaru Abdullahi, Hon. Justice Emmanuel Ayoola, Hon. Justice Dominic Edozie, Hon. Justice Michael Akpiroroh, Mrs. Rakia Sarki Ibrahim, Hon. Justice Ibrahim Ndahi Auta, Hon. Justice Kate Abiri and Hon. Justice Peter Umeadi through their respective counsel favoured the argument that the joinder application be taken first before the issue of jurisdiction.
In his submission, counsel to the former CJN, Justice Aloysius Katsina-Alu, Mr. Aloysius Nwosu (SAN) said, 'let us take joinder application first before taking application for jurisdiction filed by defendants holistically. Efficacy of any judgment is determined by giving all the parties fair hearing'.
Meanwhile, counsel to NJC, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), told the court that while this matter is pending, some lawyers went on demonstrating in Lagos and Ilorin ostensibly inciting the public against the defendants' counsel.
He urged the court not to be swayed by public opprobrium and that the court should look at the matter from the facts and the law before taking a decision one way or the other.
Justice Donatus Okorowo assured all the counsel in the matter that the court would not be swayed by the press even as he advised that the media should not be allowed to ridicule the judiciary.
The plaintiff is seeking the following reliefs:
'An orderSetting aside the decision of the 1st defendant reached on 18th August, 2011 purporting to suspend the applicant from office as the President of the Court of Appeal, recommending the applicant to Mr. President to be retired from service and also directing that the applicant to hand over to Hon. Justice Dalhatu Adamu .
'An order nullifying or setting aside any action or steps taken or being taken in the implementation or further implementation of the said decision.
'An order generally restoring the status quo ante as at the date the said decision was taken by the 1st defendant/respondent.'