Sunday, August 28, 2011

Salami: NJC complies with order, accepts Musdapher, others’ process

The National Judicial Council {NJC} has reportedly complied with the order of substituted service by the Federal High Court handling the suit brought by the suspended President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Isa Ayo Salami, directing that the court process meant for 10 other defendants in the suit be served on them through the council.
Justice Donaltus Okorowa had directed, on the strength of an exparte application brought by Salami’s counsel, Chief Akinlolu Olujinmi (SAN), that the court process meant for those sued alongside NJC by the litigant should be served through the council
They included the retiring Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Aloysius Katsina-Alu, successor-designate, Justice Dahiru Musdapher, Justices Umaru Abdullahi, Emmanuel Ayoola, Dominic Edozie, Michael Akpiroroh, Ibrahim Ndahi Auta, Kate Abiri, Peter Umeadi and Mrs. Rakia Sarki Ibrahim.
The service of the process had turned controversial when Olujinmi, on August 15, 2011, claimed that the council rejected both its process and those meant for other defendants in order to pave way for the council to sanction the plaintiff despite the pendency of the suit.
The council, in its response signed by Director of Administration, Eugene Odukwu, disclosed that the process brought for service on the council was neither signed nor dated, which suggested that the suit had not been properly filed when the process was brought for service.
It also noted that the process brought for other defendants in the suit was rejected by the council because there was no order of the trial court for substituted service.
“In the light of the subsisting instruction by the Secretary of the council to the Secretariat that unless there was an order for substituted service from a court, we should not accept service of any court process on behalf of members of the council; I rejected the request by the lawyer” Odukwu stated.
Having agreed that the process to be served on the council was defective, Salami’s counsel came back to the council on August 16, 2011 with signed and dated process, which the council accepted.
Though the plaintiff’s counsel told the media that he had served the process on other defendants personally as required by the law before the council meeting where salami was suspended from office, Olujinmi orally approached the court on August 24 for an order of substituted service, seeking to serve other defendants through the council.
The request was rejected with the judge directing that Olujinmi should make the request formal.
A motion seeking for the order was tabled, heard and granted last Thursday, with the NJC Secretary, Danladi Halilu reportedly directing his staff to obey the court order and accept the substituted service.
The council will now serve the process on the defendants.
Meanwhile, the signed and dated process served on the council two weeks ago was reportedly distributed to other members of the council by Halilu during the meeting where Salami was sanctioned, with irregularities said to have been discovered in it.
It was learnt that the council members agreed that the irregularities should be placed before the trial court for its decision