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Two lawyers in war of words over Yar’Adua

By Ise-Oluwa Ige

ABUJA — Two senior lawyers including the Acting Federal Director of Civil Litigation, Mrs Agartha Mbamali, yesterday threw decorum the winds on the premises of Abuja Federal High Court to exchange hot words after hearing in a fresh suit seeking to upturn a controversial high court decision which refused Jonathan Goodluck from exercising President Yar’Adua’s powers in acting capacity.

The two lawyers, Chief Udofia Akpan and Mbamali, almost exchanged blows in the open court.

An Abuja-based lawyer, Mr Amobi Nzelu, saved the situation yesterday as he tried to stop Mrs Mbamali from her determination to poke her fingers into the eyes of Chief Akpan who himself was battle-ready with his walking staff to flog his assailant like a baby.

“I don’t know why you are asking me to allow this character to go. I don’t know why you won’t…,” Mbamali, who had earlier quietly walked out of the courtroom had dashed back into the bar, fuming.

Chief Akpan who was dangling his walking stick while Mbamali was struggling to reach him and lick him up with her anger was smiling, saying “leave her, let her come. I will teach her the lesson of her life.”

Journalists who had covered the proceedings where altercations between the duo leading to the near fight happened were busy watching.

Akpan had brought an application before the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Dan Abutu, for leave to appeal the judgment entered by him in a lawsuit brought by one Christopher Onwueke to seek interpretation of Sections 5(1) and 148 (1) of the 1999 constitution.

Akpan and nine other lawyers who sought for the leave had said the verdict entered by the trial judge was a bad one and must be reversed in the interest of growing the nation’s jurisprudence.

But instead of allowing the application for leave to be heard, Amobi Nzelu, who argued the substantive case and the Acting Director of Civil Litigation, Mrs Mbamali, had at separate times requested adjournment in the hearing of the case for one reason or the other.

On the first day the matter was to be heard, Amobi Nzeklu asked for a three-month adjournment to enable him react to the application, a request Chief Akpan considered as immoral since the main case was filed, heard and determined in less than seven days.

During yesterday’s ;proceedings, Mrs Mbamali also asked the court for a short adjournment to enable her take the position of the new Attorney-General on the case, a request which Chief Akpan said was also immoral.
Akpan who was infuriated faced Mrs Mbamali and told her to her face that she was a liar.

He alleged that Mbamali had deposed to an affidavit at the time the main matter was going on to the effect that there was no vacuum in governance when she knew that there was.

He said what she did amounted to contempt in facie curiae and that he had already commenced a committal proceedings against her and her formal boss, Chief Mike Aondoakaa (SAN) before the high court to jail them for misleading the court to reach a wrong decision on the case in question.


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