The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has trenchantly opposed a post-conviction bail application filed by former governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu, before Justice Muhammed Liman of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos.
Kalu was convicted and sentenced to 12 years imprisonment for N7.65bn fraud by Justice Muhammed Idris of the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos on December 5, 2019.
In the application, Kalu, through his lawyer, Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, claimed that he had health challenges that could not be managed by the medical facilities in the Custodial Centre in Ikoyi, Lagos.
Kalu, in the 34-paragraph further affidavit with one exhibit attached, also argued that the offences for which he was convicted and jailed were bailable.
He, therefore, prayed the court to free him, while he challenges his conviction at the Court of Appeal.
“Although bail is generally a right of an accused as guaranteed by the Constitution, it is not a right available to a convict because the presumption of innocence had crystallized into guilt and conviction.An application for bail pending appeal is sparingly granted.
However, Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, counsel to the respondent, EFCC, opposed the application for post-conviction bail, saying: “Although bail is generally a right of an accused as guaranteed by the Constitution, it is not a right available to a convict because the presumption of innocence had crystallized into guilt and conviction. An application for bail pending appeal is sparingly granted.”
Jacobs further stated that such a bail could be granted in a situation, where the term of imprisonment would have elapsed before the determination of the appeal.
“But that is not the situation in Kalu’s case,” he further said.
According to Jacobs, the medical report tendered in the case was obtained over a year ago.
“There is no recent medical report to show his state of health,” Jacobs added.
Jacobs also argued that the request to be released on bail so as to seek traditional medicine is not tenable, as visitors are allowed into the Custodial Centre.
Jacobs, who said the medical facilities at the Ikoyi Custodial Centre are capable of handling Kalu’s condition, also told the court that “In one breath, the applicant is saying that he wants to be released on health grounds; while in another breath, he is saying that as a Senator, he needs to be released on bail so as to carry out his official functions.”
Justice Liman adjourned the case till December 23, 2019 for ruling on the application.
GOING!!!: ECOBANK SETS TO SELL OBA AKINRUNTAN’S ABUJA HOTEL OVER N5BN DEBT
The High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Jabi, Abuja, will on April 9 hear an application by Ecobank Nigeria for an order authorising it to sell the Abuja hotel belonging to Obat Oil and Petroleum Limited, owned by Oba Fredrick Akinruntan, the Olugbo of Ùgbo Kingdom in Ondo State.
The bank said it has agreed with Obat Oil, which belongs to the monarch, to sell the hotel to offset N5 billion debt owed the bank by the hospitality outfit.
The hotel, Febson Hotels & Malls, is on Plot 2425 on Herbert Macaulay Way in Abuja.
Justice Hassan Babangida had adjourned to enable the parties to settle, but Obat’s lawyer, Mr Olalekan Ojo (SAN), said “not much had been achieved” in the settlement talks.
The bank’s lawyer, Mr Kunle Ogunba (SAN) of Insolvency Forte, said the talks had broken down completely.
He added that he was yet to receive any correspondence or document on an out-of-court settlement.
The bank, in its last October 18 motion, said the agreement to offset the N5 billion debt, is contained in a consent judgment of a Lagos High Court delivered on March 15, 2017.
It said the agreement between it and Obat Oil was adopted by the court as its judgment.
The bank, however, said despite the registered consent judgment, Obat Oil prevented potential buyers from paying for the hotel by demanding unrealistic sums.
But Obat Oil, in its counter-affidavit, said the bank, in an April 5, 2017 letter, assigned its rights and interests in the case to a third party, ETI Specialised Finance Company Limited, which is Ecobank Group’s debt recovery vehicle.
The oil company accused the bank of concealing the fact before the court.
The respondent contended that by the alleged concealment, the bank “no longer had any right or interest in the judgment-debt sought to be enforced before the honourable court”.
Justice Babangida fixed April 9 for definite hearing but noted that parties were at liberty to settle.
CP Odumosu Speaks On Successes Recorded By Lagos Command In The Last 119 Days
Press Briefing by CP Hakeem O. Odumosu, psc, Commissioner of Police, Lagos State on Successes Recorded by the Command in the last 119 days, held on 12th March, 2020 at the Command Headquarters, Ikeja.
Good morning Gentlemen of the Press and thank you for honouring our invitation. Let me start by appreciating the Inspector General of Police, IGP Mohammed Adamu Abubakar, NPM, mni and his management team for their continuous supports to the Command. I am also grateful to the Government and people of Lagos State for partnering with us in the discharge of our statutory duties of maintaining law and order.
- In my maiden press briefing, I clearly stated that my mission as Commissioner of Police Lagos State Command is to provide a safer and better secured State that will guarantee the socio-economic well-being of the people and enhance their quality of life. This is being achieved through mobilization of a more courageous, dedicated, humane and professional police officers in the State. I equally rolled out the Command’s 2020 Policing plans which includes: Full implementation of Community based policing policies of the present police authorities, evolving strategies that will close the gaps between the police and the people, foster cordial relationship and build strong and effective partnerships; Visibility policing and prompt response to distress calls; Intelligence led policing approach, professional and unbiased investigation of criminal cases and diligent prosecution; Respect for and protection of human rights and zero tolerance for corruption; Multi agencies collaboration; Capacity building for Officers and Men of the Command and enhanced welfare package.
- I am bold to say that our policing strategies are yielding positive results. Within the last 119 days, the Command arrested 164 armed robbery suspects and successfully foiled 98 armed robbery attempts. 13 armed robbery suspects died during exchange of fire with the Police. 165 suspects were arrested for cultism. 4 suspects were arrested for kidnapping and 103 suspects were arrested for murder. The state recorded 10 cases of suicide and prevented 7 suicide attempts. 34 assorted firearms with lots of ammunition of different calibre were recovered. The Command also recovered 22 stolen vehicles.
- On the enforcement of restriction of motorcycles and tricycles on 48 routes, bridges and express ways, I made bold to declare that a total of 3,512 motorcycles and 202 tricycles were impounded since the commencement of the enforcement and 40 suspects were arrested. Twenty five traffic offenders, mostly those driving against traffic (one way) were arrested and successfully prosecuted.
- A number of intelligence driven raids were carried out on criminal hideouts, uncompleted and abandoned buildings in different parts of the State. A total of 981 suspects were arrested. Out of this number, 190 were screened out, 791 were charged to Court. 723 suspects were convicted, 25 suspects were discharged, 21 suspects had their cases struck out, and 22 suspects are awaiting trial.
- Below are summary of some of our modest achievements
Arrest of seven notorious armed robbery suspects and top cult members; with six pistols recovered.
On 27/02/2020 at about 1620hrs, acting on credible intelligence operatives from the Special Anti-Robbery stormed a criminal hideout at Iyana-Iba criminal where a notorious armed robbery kingpin popularly known as Shola Okoko danger and gangs are believed to be occupying. Four suspects were arrested. They are Idris Musa ‘m’ 19 years old; Oluwaseyi Oguntobi ‘m’ 23years old; Ramon Adebimpe ‘m’ 18 years old; and Saheed Kareem ‘m; 19 years old. Four locally made pistol with three live cartridges were recovered from them. In a follow up investigation, three suspects were arrested in some criminal hideouts at Ilupeju and Onipanu. They are Tosin Benjamin a.k.a Lube ‘m’ 37 years old; Segun Ogunmola a.k.a Segun Alapata ‘m’ 28years old; and Joseph Oyebowale a.k.a Jossy ‘m’ 33 years old. Two locally made double barrel pistols with three live cartridges were recovered. The suspects are also top members of Aiye confraternity and are linked to several cases of murder and armed robbery. Investigation is ongoing, the suspects will be charged to Court.
Nineteen suspects arrested for gang violence and murder at Ogudu.
Following incidents of violent cults and gang clashes in Ogudu area by some notorious cultists in a battle for supremacy that left 2 persons dead and few others injured, the Command’s Special Strike Force on Social Miscreants and other tactical units were deployed to Ogudu to restore sanity to the area. Nineteen suspects were arrested on the 2nd February, 2020. They include: Alade Samuel ‘m’ 22yrs; Nurudeen Babatunde ‘m’ 24yrs; Olumadu Damilola ‘m’ 19yrs; Onibudo Rilwan ‘m’ 17yrs; Rafiu Olamilekan ‘m’ 22yrs; Bamidele Sulaiman ‘m’ 19yrs; Ahmed Saka ‘m’ 19yrs; Bolaji Ogunniyi ‘m’ 25yrs; Olamilekan Saheed Adebisi 29‘m’ yrs; Kolawole Ayotunde ‘m’ 21yrs; Ikenna Cosmos ‘m’ 24yrs; Olaide Ogungbele ‘m’ 18yrs; Korede Joyi ‘m’ 26yrs; Yekini Abiodun ‘m’ 34yrs; Aborinde John ‘m’ 25yrs; David Atanda ‘m’ 27yrs; Opeyemi Fasola ‘m’ 20yrs; Aladeniyi Aladegbami ‘m 36yrs; and Obuh Onyekachukwu ‘m’ 34yrs. The suspects will be charged to court.
Arrest of a deadly Aiye Confraternity Kingpin Sikiru Samuel a.k.a Samora and eight members of his gang.
In a bid to sustain the ongoing onslaught on cultists and other social miscreants in Ikorodu, Imota, Agbowa, Owutu, Ijede, Ipakodo and Owode Onirin, I deployed our Special Strike Force on Social Miscreants to Ikorodu axis. The operation, which is intelligence driven, has recorded another remarkable achievement with the arrest of a deadly leader of Aiye confraternity, Sikiru Samuel a.k.a Samora 24 years old, at Imota. Other members of this gang arrested are: Adegboyega Ismaila ‘m’ 19 years old; Sunkanmi Shonubi ‘m’ a.k.a Napel 19 years old; Adigun Faruq ‘m’ 18 years old; Rilwan Akinwale ‘m’ 30 years old; Victor Uju ‘m’ a.k.a Zino 18years old; Juwon Idowu ‘m’ a.k.a lighter 18 years old; Rasak Adebola ‘m’ a.k.a ‘Bobo’ 20 years old and Kehinde Keshinro ‘m’ 18 years old. The gang is responsible for series of violent attacks and gang violence in Imota and environs. One of such violent attacks happened on 12/02/2020 at about 0830hours which led to the death of one David Nwanga ‘m’ 30 years old of Araro Adamo area. The suspects will be charged to Court.
Arrest of seven suspects for cultism and gang violence
On the 12/2/2020 at about 1020hrs, information was received from members of the public that some persons suspected to be robbers and cultists were sighted at Itupate and Daudu area of Ikorodu attacking and robbing unsuspecting victims of their valuables. On receipt of the information, Police operatives from Igbogbo Division and SARS were mobilized to the scene where they arrested the following suspects: Seun Opanusi ‘m’ 25 years old, Ahmed Tajudeen ‘m’ 21 years old, Emmanuel Olowu ‘m’ 18 years old, Jimoh Balikis ‘f’ 18 years old, Mariam Owolabi ‘f’ 18 years old, Ayomide Omotosho ‘m’ 18 years old and Rabiu Suleiman ‘m’ 18 years old. They confessed to be members of Aiye and Eiye cult groups. It was revealed that the suspects are among those criminal elements terrorizing Ikorodu and its environs. Investigation is ongoing to apprehend other members of their groups at large.
Arrest of a notorious kidnapper
On 23/2/2020 at about 0620hrs, operatives of Anti-kidnapping squad arrested one Jerome Ukena ‘m’ 26 years old, a native of Egun Cotonou, Republic of Benin. The suspect was arrested at the water way, Ilaje community, Bariga Makoko. He is arrested in connection with a case of kidnapping reported by one Ola Makinde Abidemi “m” of Alogba Estate zone D Ikorodu Lagos, whose wife Oluwatoyin Makinde, and their 6-month-old daughter were kidnapped in his residence on the 16/2/2020 and released two days later. The suspect led detectives to their hide out at Ajegunle of Ikorodu where a three year old baby was found and rescued. The phone used by the suspect to demand for ransom was recovered. The suspect confessed to the commission of the crime. Concerted effort is being made to arrest the fleeing members of the gang.
Police burst a syndicate that specialised in shop breakings in major markets in Lagos Island
On the 5th February, 2020 information was received from a reliable source, that there exists a syndicate of notorious burglars who break into phone shops, boutiques etc at Balogun market, Lagos Island, Ajah and its environs. On receipt of the information, operatives from RRS were drafted to closely monitor the area. The exercise paid off, in that on the 10/2/2020 at about 0200hrs, the syndicates comprising of one Isa Seidu ‘m’ 21 years old, Tairu Melaye ‘m’ 25 years old and Lucky Chukwudi ‘m’ 43 years old were arrested while breaking into a shop at Balogun market, Lagos Island. Items recovered from the suspects include: Ninety-seven pairs of shoes, seven fabrics, children wears and Lady’s bags. The suspects confessed to have burgled several shops in the past. Investigation is ongoing to apprehend other suspects at large.
Police burst armed robbery syndicate who disguise as police officers in Ikorodu and robbing people of their motorcycles
On the 3/3/2020 at about 2100 hours, one Musa Ibrahim ‘m’ and Umar Saliu ‘m’ reported at Shagamu road Division, Ikorodu that one Sunday Shaibu ‘m’ and Samson Akoh ‘m’ of Odogunyan in Ikorodu and two others members of their gang snatched their Bajaj Motorcycle with registration number 3 AA144 QP at Ileepo Oba, Ikorodu on 21/01/2020 at about 2030hours. The suspects operate in Volkswagen Golf Car with registration number TD448 KJA wearing black T-Shirts with the word ‘Police’ boldly written at the back. Their modus oparendi includes, stopping their victims at strategic locations and arresting them for traffic offences. They extort money from the victims, impound their motorcycles and tell the victims to meet them at the Police Station to collect the motorcycles with proof of ownership and other necessary documents. Noticing the victims must have left to get the documents, the suspects will quickly disappear with the Motorcycles to where they will contact their buyer. The same syndicate snatched a Bajaj Motorcycle on 16/2/2020 at about 2100hours, along Sabo round about Ikorodu. The two principal suspects, Sunday Shaibu ‘m’ and Samson Akoh ‘m’ were arrested on 3/3/2020 while the third suspect, Daniel Agala ‘m’ was arrested on 4/3/2020. Detectives are still on the trail of the fourth suspect. One walkie talkie, three stolen phones and Mobile Police Force insignia were recovered from them. The suspects will be charged to Court.
Arrest of a notorious car snatching suspect and recovery of two stolen vehicles
On 08/2/2020 at about 1500hrs, on the strength of information and credible intelligence, Police operatives from Oke Odo Police Station arrested a notorious car snatching suspect, Yusuf Akinradewo ‘m’ 33 years old. The suspect took one Mitsubishi Montero Jeep with registration number GGE 620 AQ to one Wasiu Ogunsola ‘m’ Omolojuwo Street, Dalemo, Sango-ota, Ogun state to buy. When the buyer demanded for the original particulars of the vehicle, the suspect absconded. Police detectives eventually arrested the suspect and recovered another stolen vehicle from him, a Toyota Camry saloon car with registration number AGL 480 EC belonging to one Alhaji Nurudeen Rasaki ‘m’ of Isiaka Adekoya street Igbogbo, Ikorodu Lagos State. The owners of the stolen vehicles were contacted and they confirmed that the vehicles were stolen from Ikorodu. The suspect will be charged to Court, while the two recovered vehicles were handed over to the owners on bond.
Arrest of two armed robbery suspects and recovery of Firearms
On the 11/2/2020 at about 2030hrs, information received from a reliable source revealed that some armed robbers were sighted along LASU/Isheri Road by Iyana School bus stop, robbing unsuspecting victims of their valuables such as phones, jewelries, cash etc. On receipt of the information, Police operatives from Iba and SARS were mobilized to the scene. On sighting the operatives, the robbers scampered to different directions to avoid arrest but were given a manhunt. In the process, one of the robbers was arrested and a double barrel gun with two live cartridges were recovered from him. During interrogation, he gave his name as Ahmed Aminu ‘m’ 24 years old and later led the operatives to apprehend one of his fleeing members named Ahmed Alimi ‘m’ 39 years old. Investigation is ongoing with a view to apprehend other members of the gang.
Arrest of armed robbery suspect and recovery of firearms
On the 24/1/2020 at about 0800hrs, a renowned owner of a Bakery at Ajangbadi area of Lagos went to Agbara town and withdrew the sum of One million, five hundred thousand Naira (N1, 500,000.00) from three commercial banks. He was trailed home by some armed men operating on a motorcycle. The robbers fired him on his both legs, before dispossessing him of the entire money he withdrew from the bank. Police operatives from Ajangbadi and SARS were promptly mobilized to the scene. One Chinonso Ndioziri a.k.a. Smart 32 years old, who led the gang was arrested. One double barrel gun with four live cartridges and one expended cartridge were recovered. Investigation is ongoing to apprehend the fleeing members of the gang.
Arrest of two armed robbery suspects and recovery of firearms
On the 14/2/2020 at about 2020hrs, a group of armed robbers, operating in a motorcycle trailed a victim from his place of work at Abolarin Mushin to his house at Sadiku Street, Mushin. As the victim was opening his entrance gate, the robbers attacked him at gun point and dispossessed him of his bag containing cash sum of four hundred thousand Naira (N400, 000.00). The victim raised an alarm which attracted operatives from Olosan Division who were on crime prevention patrol around the area. One Dayo Adebayo ‘m’ 40 years old was arrested. One berretta pistol with two live ammunition was recovered from him. Investigation led operatives to the gang’s hide-out at Sadiku Junction, Mushin where another gang member, Omotoyosi Abdullahi ‘m’ 24 years old was arrested. Investigation is ongoing to apprehend other suspects at large.
Arrest of Berry Boys’ Supreme Cult Leader and 11 others in Itire and environs.
On 04/02/2020 at about 1920hours, following a sustained monitoring, Operatives from Itire Police Station arrested one Maliki Bello ‘m’ 22 years old. Maliki is the supreme leader of the notorious Berry Boys Secret Cult with operational base at Itire. He is a native of Lalopun, Kwara State but resides at 23 Ayinla Street Idiaraba area of Lagos state. Maliki has been on the wanted list of the Police for violent crimes and gang clashes. The suspect confessed to be responsible for series of violent attacks, murders and armed robbery incidents recorded in Idiaraba, Lawanson, Dosunmu, Ashimowo Bakare, Omo-Bola Mushin and Itire. The suspect told detectives that, he was initiated into the cult at age 12 when he was in Junior Secondary School (JSS1). He later rose to the number one position. The gang has an official Facebook page (Bbl Baloteli) with 1,928 friends. According to Maliki, they use the Facebook page and other social media accounts to recruit new members, plan attacks and give updates to members. Investigation led to the arrest of 11 additional suspects who are his gang members. The case is under thorough investigation at the end of which, they may be charged for murder, cultism, and other sundry offences as the investigation may reveal.
Police burst a syndicate in Agbara that specialised in robbing market women
Information received from a reliable source revealed that there is a particular armed robbery gang that targets traders, especially women on Agbara market days. On the 16/1/2020 at about 1600hrs, the same gang of robbers who operates on a motorcycle were sighted by Police operatives deployed to the area on surveillance patrol from Morogbo Division and SARS along Badagry expressway, close to Agbara market robbing unsuspecting victims. One Godwin Michael ‘m’ 23 years old was arrested. One locally made gun with three live catridges was recovered from him while others escaped with their operational motorcycle. Investigation was extended to their criminal hideout at Okuofor where another member of the gang, Kazeem Abiodun ‘m’ a.k.a KC, 30 years old was arrested. Investigation is ongoing.
Arrest of a suspected ‘one chance’ robbery gang leader and recovery of sienna bus used for the robbery operations
On the 3/2/2020 at about 0500hrs, information received from members of the public revealed that some armed robbers were sighted along Agidingbi road, Ikeja, operating in a Toyota Sienna bus with Reg. No. APP 488 FH, attacking and robbing unsuspecting victims of their valuables. This is a Toyota Sienna described by quite a number of victims on several occasions, especially on the social media. On the receipt of the information, operatives from RRS, who have been on the lookout for the said vehicle and gang swung into action. The vehicle was intercepted and one Matthew Tokeme ‘m’ 50yrs, who is the leader of the robbery gang and also the owner of the vehicle, was arrested. He confessed to being the leader of the ‘one chance’ robbery gang. Investigation is ongoing to apprehend other gang members at large.
Arrest of fake mobile Policeman
On the 10/2/2020, at about 0800hrs, Policemen on enforcement of the ban on motorcycles in restricted areas arrested one Monday Job ‘m’ 32 years old at Oshodi riding motorcycle and fully dressed in police mobile uniform. A closed look on his name tag and badge gave room for further probing. He could not give satisfactory account of himself and the squadron he is attached to. In the cause of investigation, he confessed to be an impersonator. It was revealed that he has been wearing the uniform to commit all kinds of criminal activities, ranging from illegal escort of contraband goods from Cotonuo to Lagos. Escorting vehicles from Lagos to other parts of the country, intimidating, harassing and extorting money from innocent members of the public, claiming to be a mobile police man. Investigation is ongoing and the suspect will be charged to court as soon as the investigation is concluded.
Three suspects were arrested with human skull
On the 01/03/2020 at about 1330HRS a team of policemen from Area E Command, Festac while on routine stop and search duty at Alakija Bus Stop along Lagos-Ibadan, Badagry express way, intercepted one Dauda Tijani ‘m’ 42years old of No 23 Omomwunmi Street Orege Ajegunle with a black polythene bag containing a human skull. He confessed that he was sent by an herbalist one Olawale Shodolamu ‘m’ 70years old. The said herbalist was also arrested. He claimed that he bought the human skull from one Seun Falana ‘m’ 37years old, a staff of Trinity Cemetery Ajegunle at the sum of Ten thousand naira (10,000.00). The third suspect was equally arrested. Investigation is ongoing.
Once again, thank you and God bless you.
Bayelsa: Afe Babalola, Olanipekun kick against S’court’s penalty
Legal giants, Afe Babalola, SAN, and Wole Olanipekun, SAN, have protested the N60 million fine imposed on them by the Supreme Court over their bid for Bayelsa governorship judgment review.
The legal luminaries also condemned the harsh comments in the leading ruling of Justice Amina Augie.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, the two formally protested in letters written to the National Executive Council (NEC) of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA).
Olanipekun in a letter dated March 10, Olanipekun and Babalola dated March 11, 2020, addressed to the NBA President, Paul Usoro , SAN, insisted that they did no wrong by asking the court to take a second look at its earlier judgment.
Both lawyers represented All Progressives Congresses (APC) and its candidates in the last governorship election in Bayelsa State David Lyon Pereworinmin and Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo seeking the apex court to set aside its judgment which voided their victory in the election.
The Supreme Court, in a ruling by a seven-man panel on Feb. 26, dismissed the applications by the APC and its candidates.
Justice Amina Augie, in that lead ruling, rebuked both lawyers and awarding N30M punitive cost against each of them.
The Legal Luminaries while seeking NBA’s intervention argued that they did nothing unlawful and unprofessional to warrant the harsh words used on them and the unprecedented cost awarded against them for merely carrying out their professional responsibilities as lawyers.
They warned that the decision of the Supreme Court, as it relates to them, was capable of laying wrong precedence that lawyers could be penalised for merely seeking to explore the justice administration process for the benefit of his/her client.
In his letter, to which he attached all processes in respect of the case, Olanipekun said “I and the team of lawyers that I lead in the matter did no wrong.
” Either in terms of our presentation through the filling of the application or during the oral argument in court.
“I repeat again, with every emphasis at my disposal and all sense of responsibility that we did no wrong, committed no error and do not deserve the harsh comments in the leading ruling of Justice Amina Augie.
“It might interest you to note that there is no nexus or proximity or even bearing between the processes filed by us and the most unfair and least expected stern expressions of her lordship, Amina Augie”.
Babalola in his letter said, “I write to bring to the formal attention of the NEC of the Nigerian Bar Association, the unfortunate events which occurred on February 26.
“More importantly, we protest and draw the attention of NBA to the danger posed to the due administration of justice by the disparaging remarks made in the ruling of the court concerning our principal, Afe Babalola SAN, CON and the imposition on him of the unprecedented costs of N30 million.
“The action of the Court, aside from being unfair and totally unwarranted, is, if not urgently addressed, capable of sending a wrong signal to judges of courts, lower in hierarchy to the Supreme Court about how they can and should relate with lawyers, who appear before them to plead the case of their clients”.
He said the action in the long run will be inimical to the development of trust and respect between the bar and the bench and will ultimately hamper the smooth operation of the justice delivery sector in Nigeria.
“It is with respect to their Lordships of the Supreme Court, who sat on Feb. 27, 2020 that we state that the award of cost of N30 million against Aare Afe Babalola SAN, CON failed to meet the standard set by that very court concerning the award of costs.
“Costs have never been imposed to intimidate counsel as is apparent in the cost orders made by the Supreme Court in this instance.
“The cost order lost sight of the fact that Babalola like every other lawyer, has a duty under the rules of professional conduct to devote his attention, energy and expertise and subject to any rule of law, to act in manner consistent with the best interest of his client.
“It is in the light of the above that we most respectfully request the ‘Nigerian Bar Association, through the National Executive Council, to look into this matter with a view to preventing a situation where the courts would seek to intimidate counsel and prevent them from either adequately presenting the cases of their clients or punishing them for doing so in a manner required of them under the rules of professional conduct.
“This situation, at the risk of repetition, if allowed to persist and gain footing, will do incalculable damage to the administration of justice in Nigeria.”