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stories ?Akanbi denies media report on alleged dismissal From Romoke W. Ahmad, Ilorin The recommendation of the National Judicial Council (NJC) that Justice Lambo Akanbi…


?Akanbi denies media report on alleged dismissal

From Romoke W. Ahmad, Ilorin

The recommendation of the National Judicial Council (NJC) that Justice Lambo Akanbi should be retired compulsorily has nothing to do with the judgment he delivered on the case involving the All Progressives Congress (APC) local government chairmen in Rivers State.

Rather, the NJC’s recommendation on Akanbi has to do with a petition written by Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Ltd on allegation that the federal high court judge failed to deliver judgment on a case brought before him within the three months’ period stipulated by the law.

A source which is very close to Akanbi dismissed an online media report which seeks to link the judge’s travail to his sacking of 22 APC local council chairmen in Rivers State.

He also dismissed the allegation that Akanbi received N100 million bribe from Governor Nyesom Wike to deliver judgment in his favour.

He stressed that the NJC’s letter to President Muhammadu Buhari recommending Akanbi for compulsory retirement only made reference to the SPDC’s petition dated June 3rd,2014.

The source also expressed strong belief that the federal high court judge was being persecuted by the NJC because he overruled the council on its interpretation of the law regarding the appointment of a chief judge for Rivers State.

It would be recalled that there were attempts by the then PDP- led federal government to deny then Governor Rotimi Amaechi of the privilege to make input into the appointment of a chief judge for the state.

“The ruling of Justice Akanbi on this vexed issue which stood at variance with the position of the NJC apparently pitched him against the council,” the source said.

He pointed out that the current travail of Akanbi in the hands of the NJC might not be unconnected with the above issue.

“The truth is that an alleged non-delivering of judgment within the stipulated period of three months is not enough to recommend a judge of high repute like Akanbi who has not been found wanting in his 14 years on the bench for compulsory retirement,” he said.

Mandatory NBA stamp: SC gives reasons

By Adelanwa Bamgboye

The Supreme Court has held that failure to affix the NBA stamp and seal on a document does not render the process incompetent but makes it irregular or voidable.

The apex court stated this last Friday, November 14, 2015, while giving reasons for its decision made on October 27, 2015 to allow the cross-appeal in Appeal No. SC/722/15 All Progressives Congress (APC) V. General Bello Sarkin Yaki.

The court’s decision arose out of the 2nd cross-appellant’s cross appeal against the decision of the Court of Appeal, Sokoto Division which summarily dismissed the 2nd cross-appellant’s preliminary objection challenging the competence of the appellants’ Notice of Appeal for failure to bear the stamp/seal of the legal practitioner who signed it as stipulated by Rule 10(1) of the Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners, 2007.

In the lead judgment of the court delivered by Nwali Sylvester Ngwuta, JSC, the court held that such a process even though signed and filed is not null and void or incompetent like the case of a court process so signed in the name of corporation or association (even of lawyers).

The court held that such a document even though signed and filed is not proper in law for the reason that the condition precedent for its proper signing and filing had not been met.

The court also held that such a document is “akin to a legal document or process filed at the expiration of the time allowed by the rules or extended by the court.”

Particularly, the court per Ngwuta JSC, held that “in such cases the filing of the process can be regularised by extension of time and deeming order. In the case at hand, the process filed in breach of Rule 10(1) can be saved and it’s signing and filing regularised by affixing the approved seal and stamp on it. It is a legal document improperly filed and the fixing of the stamp and seal would make the filing proper in law. Since this was not done the court cannot take cognizance of a document not properly filed and the filing not regularized.”

In a concurring judgment, Clara Bata Ogunbiyi JSC held thus: “The refusal of the document by the registry is a sanction in itself and pending proper signature and affixing of stamp/seal as required by Rule 10(1). The breach of the rule in my opinion should not be viewed as a substantive infraction but a mere irregularity which can be remedied.”

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