Court dismisses suit to stop the reinstatement of Justice Ayo Salami

 A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has dismissed a suit challenging the reinstatement of suspended President of Court of Appeal Justice Ayo Isa Salami. 

Justice Abdul Kafarati in his ruling observed that the plaintiff, Noah Ajare lacks reasonable cause of action.

According to the judge, the plaintiff “has no work to do and has plenty time to waste.”

The court further held that the second defendant, the National Judicial Committee (NJC) is not a creation of the law and cannot be sued.

Mr. Ajare had asked the court to stop President Goodluck Jonathan from reinstating the suspended President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Isa Ayo Salami.

Ajare argued that the suit Salami filed challenging his suspension is still pending in court thus taking any step to reinstate him at this point will further undermine the rule of law.

The plaintiff was also seeking an order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants  from implementing, discussing and or rectifying the recommendations of the NJC in respect of Justice Salami pending the hearing and determination of any suit, so as not to set a wrong precedent.

In an affidavit in support of the originating summon, it was averred that the plaintiff is not against Salami’s reinstatement but wants due process to be followed.

The NJC had recommended that President Goodluck Jonathan, reinstate the suspended President of Court of Appeal, who was suspended last year after he fell out with the former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Kastina Alu.

Court orders Lagos PDP to put congress on hold

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has ordered that the congress of The Lagos State chapter of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) scheduled to hold tomorrow be put on hold.

Presiding Justice, Mohammed Liman’s order is sequel to a suit filed by some aggrieved members of the party who are dissatisfied with the conduct of the ward congresses held by the party across the local government areas in the state on the 3rd of March, 2012.

The plaintiffs in the suit are led by the PDP chairmanship candidate for Agege Local Government, Alhaji Imam Akorede. They are seeking the annulment of the local government congresses for noncompliance with the guidelines as stipulated by article 12 and 16 of the constitution of the PDP, 2009 as amended.

The defendants to the suit are Ambassador Musiliu Obanikoro, Mrs Dupe Sasore, Chief Ayo Waddel, Dr Lekan Sobowale, Prince Adegboyega Oyebola, Chief Lanre Osundairo, Engineer Tunji Amosu and Hon Wahab Wale Owokoniran.

They were all sued as members of the PDP Transition, Reconciliation and Congress Committee.

Other defendants are; Hon. Setonji Koshoedo (Chairman, Lagos PDP), Captain Tunji Shele(Secretary, Lagos PDP), Alhaji Abubakar Baraje (PDP National Chairman), Hon. Secondus (PDP National Organising Secretary), Prof. Attahiru Jega (INEC Chairman), the Lagos State INEC Commissioner, Lagos State Commissioner of Police and the Director of State Security Services.

The plaintiffs have equally asked the court for an order directing the National Executive Committee of the PDP to establish a caretaker committee to run the affairs of the Lagos state branch of the party pending the conduct of another congress in the state.

Justice Mohammed Liman while adjourning the matter to the 20th of March declared that in view of the fact that the “substractum” of the suit revolves around the conduct of the congress, it will be better to put the congress on hold so as not to defeat the intent of the suit.

He has also directed that necessary processes must be served on the defendants before the date when arguments on the motion for interlocutory injunction will be heard.

Salami suspension:Federal High Court Cedes Jurisdiction to Court of Appeal

 

A Federal High Court in Abuja on Thursday referred a suit filed by the suspended President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Salami, against the Nigeria Judicial Council (NJC), to the Court of Appeal.

Salami had dragged the NJC and 10 other respondents, including Justice Aloysius Katsina-Alu, then Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), to the court over his alleged unlawful suspension.

Delivering the ruling, Justice Donatus Okorowo held that only the appellate court could determine whether the suit should  be heard in the Federal High Court or the National Industrial Court.

The plaintiff had further prayed the court to allow the appellate court to determine why he was suspended without due process.

“A trial court is statutorily obligated to stay proceedings in a case when an issue bordering on jurisdiction is raised.

“In the circumstance, the plaintiff has by way of a question raised an issue on whether it was the prerogative of the Federal High Court or the National Industrial Court to adjudicate on the case.

“The best thing to do in this regard is to allow the Court of Appeal to determine the issue; the case is hereby transferred to the appellate for determination.

“Consequent upon this, proceedings on the rest issues will not continue in this court, therefore, the matter is stayed pending the decision of the Court of Appeal on jurisdiction,’’ Okorowo said.

In his reply to the application for referral, the counsel to the NJC, Mr Mike Ozekhome (SAN), contended that the issues which Salami sought to refer to the Court of Appeal were not on jurisdiction.

He argued that the issues bordered on the substantive matter “which requires evidence to be taken’’.

Ozekhome submitted that the court could not be called upon to transfer such questions to the Court of Appeal without first considering and determining them.

According to him, it is after the trial court has decided on the questions that they can be challenged in the appellate court.

“It is wrong for the Court of Appeal to come in now because those issues are the very substance of the case upon which evidence must be taken and argued in the trial court,’’ he said.

Chief Akin Olujimi (SAN), the counsel to Salami, had urged the court to disregard Ozekhome’s submissions, saying that the questions raised on behalf of his client for referral to the Court of Appeal satisfied all known parameters for reference.

Salami is challenging his removal from office which was a fallout of his allegation against former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Katsina Alu over the Sokoto state governorship election matter and other corrupt activities allegedly committed by the former CJN.

A panel raised by the National Judicial Council to look into the allegations cleared the former CJN of the alleged offences and directed Justice Salami to tender an apology to Katsina Alu.

Salami’s refusal to comply subsequently led to his removal from office while the case he instituted against the NJC was pending before the court.

No date has being fixed for the determination of the issues by the appellate court.

Court Adjourns Justice Salami’s Suit To Thursday 15th March

A Federal High Court Sitting in Abuja will on Thursday decide whether or not to transfer the suit instituted by the suspended president of Court Of Appeal, Justice Ayo Isa Salami, against the National Judicial Council (NJC) and 10 others to the court of appeal.

When the matter came up today, counsel to Salami, Chief Akin Olujinmi told the court that respondents had just served him their reply in court and that he would need time to respond to it.

But in a dramatic turn the NJC alongside the other respondents in the suit withdrew their counter affidavit and written address in opposition to the application and asked that the plaintiff go ahead to move his motion.

While withdrawing their opposition to the application, counsel to NJC, Mike Ozekhome, lamented that the NJC had been vilified and portrayed as frustrating the speedy determination of the matter and orally applied for the withdrawal of the council’s opposition so that the matter could proceed.

Mr. Ozekhome’s stance was subsequently adopted by other respondents in the matter.

The court consequently struck out both the counter affidavit and the written address of the respondents.

But while moving his application, Mr. Olujinmi urged the court to grant that some questions which he raised be referred to the court of appeal for determination.

He argued that none of the respondents had opposed the referral adding that such is a vital point which the court must consider before granting or rejecting the application.

He also added that the questions under reference arose from the proceedings and they arise from the interpretation and application of the constitution.

In his reply to the application for referral, counsel to the NJC, contended that the issues which the ousted president of the court of appeal seeks to refer to the court of appeal, outside the question on jurisdiction, bother on the substantive matter which requires evidence to be taken adding that the court cannot be called upon to transfer such questions to the court of appeal without first considering and determining such.

He argued that it is the decision of the trial court that can then be challenged at the appellate court.

Counsel to Salami, Mr. Olujinmi on his part, urged the court to disregard Ozekhome’s submissions and insisted that the questions raised on behalf of his client for referral to the court of appeal satisfy all known parameters for reference and should all be referred to the appellate for determination.

Justice Okorowo subsequently adjourned the case to Thursday the 15th of March to rule on whether or not to transfer the questions to the court of appeal for determination.

The suspended chairman of the appeal court justice Ayo Salami had dragged the NJC and 10 others to court to challenge his suspension.