The Senator representing Anambra South senatorial district, Ifeanyi Patrick Ubah, has told the Court of Appeal in Abuja that the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA)’s stamp and seal on the originating processes of the suit sacking him as a senator were allegedly forged.
This is contained in an affidavit filed by his lawyer, Chief Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), wherein he asked the court to allow him to tender letters from the NBA showing that the stamp and seal had not been issued by the NBA before the processes were filed and the court delivered its judgment.
The senior lawyer also attached a letter from the Chief Registrar of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) showing that payment for the court processes were made on September 25, 2019, that is about five months after the court had delivered judgment in the suit. The court delivered judgment in the suit on April 11, 2019.
He argued that the trial judge, Justice Bello Kawu, assumed jurisdiction in the case when in fact there were no valid processes before him to confer jurisdiction on him.
Responding to a request from Ubah’s lawyers on the date of payment of the filling fees in suit number CV/3033/2018, Anani Anacletus Chuka vs Ubah Patrick Ifeanyi and others, the Chief Registrar of the FCT High Court said: “We write to confirm that the payment in respect of the above named suit was made on September 25, 2019, paid by Argo Ifunanya for an originating summons with receipt No:11643044 and teller No: 0148979 and amount of N4.300 in Aso Savings and Loans.”
Following the same request by Ikpeazu to the NBA general secretary seeking a confirmation of the date of application and issuance of the association’s stamp and seal as per the said case, the NBA General Secretary, Jonathan Gunn Taidi, stated that “pursuant to your request letter dated March 5, 2020, on the captioned subject matter, and upon investigation, findings revealed that the stamp in respect of Ifunanya Nwando Aroh SCN101933 was produced under Batch 137 on August 20, 2019, with expiry date of March 2020, while the stamp in respect of Eziafa Samuel Enwedo SCN089053 was produced under Batch 150 on September 11, 2019, with expiry date of March 2020.
“Going by these findings, it is clear that the suit was commenced on March 27, 2019, and April 2, 2019, and up to the time the judgment was delivered, the stamp and seal had not been produced and issued by the NBA, and that at the time the suit was commenced and judgment delivered, the filling fees was not paid for.”
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria is therefore asking the court of appeal to allow his client’s appeal challenging his removal by the high court on the grounds that the entire proceedings and the judgment were manifestly incompetent and a nullity.
In a further affidavit deposed to by a legal practitioner in the law firm of Dr. Ikpeazu, Obinna Onya, he averred that the first respondent, Anani, purportedly commenced suit no: FCT/HC/CV/3044/2018 by originating summons on October 19, 2018, and upon a proper perusal of the originating summons, Ikpeazu realised that the originating summons were not signed by any counsel as required by law, which prompted the filling of a motion on March 3, 2020, praying the court to strike out the originating summons as being incompetent, and should therefore dismiss the appeal.