These are the reasons why the NBA President wants his case transferred and what Lawyers are Saying

The President of the Nigerian Bar association was on the 18th of December arraigned before Justice Hassan of the Federal High Court, Lagos with many lawyers coming from different parts of the country to show solidarity to him.

Before the arraignment, there were arguments as to whether the court should put the arraignment on hold or not, owing to the fact that the President of the NBA, Mr Usoro has written to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court to have the case transferred.

Justice Hassan ruled against it and ordered that the arraignment continue.

Courtroom Mail obtained a copy of the letter dated the 17th day of December 2018, seeking the transfer of the case and the following reasons were furnished.

The opening paragraphs of the letter state

“I request in all humility and with great respect as the Defendant in the above numbered charge for the transfer, by Your Lordship, of this charge from the court of Honourable Justice M.S Hassan to the court of any other Judge of His Lordship’s choosing in the Abuja, Uyo or Lagos Division of this Honourable Court”

My application is hinged on the interest of justice and, in particular, to obviate the impression that has been created by the prosecuting agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) that it specifically forum-shopped for His Lordship Hassan J’s Court where it believes it will secure favourable rulings and Judgement howsoever”

The Presidents furnished other reasons to include

  1. That on Monday 10th of December 2018,when the matter came  before his Lordship Hassan J, for the first time, the EFCC prosecuting counsel, Rotimi  Iseoluwa correctly informed the court that this matter was investigated by the Abuja offices of the EFCC and that the investigating officer(s) are resident and work out of the Abuja offices of the commission.
  2. Most of the witnesses in the matter are resident in Abuja. In particular,6 out of the 9 witnesses reside in Abuja. Two in Lagos and one in Uyo.
  3. The Defendant (NBA President) spends most of his working days in Abuja and has reported in the Abuja office of the EFCC during the investigation.
  4. There is justifiable question and concern over the EFCC’s decision to file the charge in the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court following which the charge ended up in Hassan J’s court Who was a former prosecuting counsel for the EFCC and whom the agency is counting on (as a former employee) to secure favourable rulings and Judgement in the charge.

Sign up and get listed for Free on Africa’s biggest online Lawyers Directory

At the end of the arraignment, the defence counsel led by Chief Wole Olanipekun moved the bail application which was opposed by the Prosecuting counsel. The defence counsel in the application asked the court to grant the defendant bail on self recognizance. However the Judge admitted the defendant to bail in the sum of N250 Million Naira and the matter was adjourned to 5thof February,5th and 6th of March 2019 for trial.

Lawyers have continued to comment on the matter in some private fora showing their solidarity for the NBA President. The following are what they are saying.

“I suspected from day one that Hon justice M S Hassan, a former staff of EFCC is likely to display open bias. This is the President of NBA for crying out loud. What stops the court from granting him bail on self recognition(sic)? He must not be allowed to handle the hearing of this matter.” Umonnam ,M Esq

“ We expect the Judge to grant bail on self recognizance without much ado notwithstanding any argument by the prosecution to thecontrary”- Adenajo Esq

“ Hmmmmm! God willing my president (Godsend) will always triumph. Because his heart and intention are very clear and clean, which is to transform the Bar to the envy of the world. God be with our president and help him triumph over his adversaries, amen”. Alhassan Muasu

“I think my president should have some Afam soup with periwinkle, right now. The case is over. Let me see how they will sustain the dummy position that PUC didn’t render  legal services to Akwa Ibom or that he had a duty to know or dictate to HE Udom the source he should pay election petition fees from, and thereby committed a crime for failing to so direct. I’m laughing in Latin”. Efe Solomon

“ Am so sad reading the ruling of the court, what is this country turning into?. A president of the noble profession cannot be granted bail in self recognizance….. I weep for this country. A  person who without any coercion submitted himself to EFCC. They will all fail at the end”. Sokoya

“ It is a very sad day in the annals of our noble profession.We need to gird up our lines and pray that the “beasts of no nation” (RIP Fela) do not succeed in their quest to debase the legal profession. “ Bassey Bassey

“You must understand that the concept of self-recognizance  asa nail condition is not my invention. It’s in the law books. No court has said its unconstitutional or breaches concept of equality before the law. I agree the Judex has a discretion, but don’t forget that the discretion must be exercised “judicially and judiciously”. If chief olanipekun applied for bail on self recognizance and the prosecution did not oppose it, the court should not have refused it and prefer more stringent terms without giving reasons”

2 thoughts on “These are the reasons why the NBA President wants his case transferred

  1. It seems the provision of The Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 regarding bail to be granted on Liberal terms has been thrown to the dust bin!! ACJA specifically used the word shall in making bail to be granted on Liberal terms but most judges of the federal High Court shut their eyes to the most important provision of our law. I fear for us all the way things are going in our law courts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *