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Ten lawyers ask court to jail Aondoakaa, two others

By Ise-Oluwa Ige
ABUJA—Ten lawyers from six geo-political zones in the country yesterday began a fresh legal move before a Federal high court sitting in Abuja seeking to arrest and jail the immediate past attorney-General of the Federation, AGF, Chief Mike Aondoakaa, SAN, for encouraging lawyers working under him to swear to false affidavit in court in order to preserve President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua’s seat.

The two others sought to be jailed are the Acting Director of Civil Litigation, Mrs Agartha Mbamali and one Ndukwe Odiba, a lawyer in the chambers of the Attorney-General of the Federation.

The lawyers led by Chief Nkereuwem Udofia Akpan said the trio of Aondoakaa, Mbamali and Odiba ought to be arrested and prosecuted for contempt on one hand for misleading the court and for treason on the other hand.

Both Mbamali and Odiba were alleged to have deposed to separate affidavits to the effect that there was no vacuum in the country at the time Jonathan Goodluck was refused to assume full presidential powers in acting capacity.
Aondoakaa was said to have allegedly encouraged them by okaying the affidavits which content he allegedly knew was wrong.

The committal proceedings commenced in court yesterday by the lawyer was an offshoot of a substantive appeal filed by them to contest the judgment entered by Justice Dan Abutu of the Abuja Federal high court refusing to empower Vice President, Jonathan Goodluck from performing the functions of office of the president in acting capacity.

The lawyers are contending, in their appeal, that the verdict was against the weight of evidence and perverse.
They came before the Abuja Federal high court for permission to appeal the judgment at the Court of Appeal.
They said they were in court as interested parties.

The high court had, in the judgment, declared that Vice President Jonathan Goodluck could exercise, in the absence of the sitting President, all the powers vested in him (Umaru Musa Yar’Adua) so far such powers were delegated to him.

But the trial judge declined the request by the plaintiff that Jonathan should be allowed to perform the functions of the president in an acting capacity.

Vanguard recalls that after the verdict of the court was delivered in the matter, both the plaintiff and the defendants were celebrating claiming to have won their cases while observers who alleged that the case was sponsored by government noted that the entire case, from filing to judgment, lasted just 96 working hours in court.

The public interest lawsuit was filed by the Chambers of Amobi Nzelu to seek interpretation of sections 5(1) and 148 (1) of the 1999 constitution as it affects the French leave embarked upon by President Umaru Yar’Adua since November 23, 2009 without handing over to his Vice, Jonathan Goodluck.

The lawyers seeking to reverse the court’s verdict include Chief Udofia Akpan, Eromosele Omo-Ojugo, Daniel Osilama Legogie, Chief Udofia Akpan Udoh and Eboikpomwen Jennifer.

Others are Phina Itumo, Eshiet Ofonime, David Okokon, Charity Ogunu and Abayomi Famuyiwa.
During proceedings in the case yesterday, Amobi Nzelu, the counsel to the original plaintiff, begged the court not to grant the ten lawyers the leave to appeal the judgment.

He said he was just served court processes in the case and that he was yet to go through them.
He said he was interested in the case since he was the one that started the suit.

He said he would need about two or three months to go through the processes with a view to responding to it.
The request led to a mild drama in court as counsel to the ten lawyers, Chief Udofia Akpan, said Amobi’s request was immoral.

He said if Amobi’s case was filed on January 8, 2010 and judgment was delivered in the case on January 13, he said it did not lie in his mouth to be asking for that embarrassing long adjournment.

The trial judge, Justice Abutu, later adjourned the case till February 18 for hearing of the application for leave to appeal the judgment.


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