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Court warns Sanusi, others over media war on sacked bank chiefs

By Kayode Matthew
A Federal High Court, Lagos yesterday warned all parties in the cases involving the sacked bank chiefs to refrain from making media comments on the issues before the court.

The judge, Justice Ibrahim Auta, said making comments on matters before the court was prejudicial and that it was only in Nigeria that such a thing was possible not minding the consequences and legal implications.

Justice Auta was reacting to the worries raised by Chief Felix Fagbohungbe, SAN, leading Mr. Mike Igbokwe (SAN) and eight other lawyers for the former managing director of Intercontinental Bank Plc, Dr. Erastus Akimgbola, over comments credited to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, in the media in which he was quoted as saying that “the sacked bank chiefs should be lined up and be shot” for running their banks into bankruptcy.

The judge regretted this comment and warned that it should stop forthwith.

Meanwhile, hope for the former Managing Director of Intercontinental Bank Plc, Dr. Erastus Akingbola, for a quick judicial review of his August 14, 2009 removal from office by the CBN governor, Mallam Sanusi, met a brick wall as a Federal High Court, Lagos adjourned the matter indefinitely.

The decision by Justice Auta to adjourn the suit was sequel to an application for a stay of proceedings filed by counsel to the CBN, Mr. Kola Awodein (SAN), which was based on an appeal by the apex bank  against the court’s ruling of October 26, 2009, which was the last adjourned date.

In the ruling, the court had ordered counsel to the CBN and its governor to file their counter affidavits within 15 days and 21 days respectively in the suit by the former bank chief.

Justice Auta also ordered that the preliminary objections (POs) by the respondents’ counsel be taken together to ensure speedy dispensation of justice, saying it is within the discretion of the court to decide whether to take the applications separately or together.


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