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Suspended NBA General Secretary, Joyce Oduah Sues Exco Members, Challenges Suspension

The suspended General Secretary of the Nigerian Bar Association, Mrs Joyce Oduah has filed a suit at the Federal High Court, Abuja challenging her suspension from office.

In the suit filed by her Counsel, Murtala Abdul-Rasheed (SAN), Joyce Oduah sued the association, its national executives and the Inspector General of Police.

Oduah argued that after an emergency meeting held by the National Executive Committee on Monday, the 15th of August, 2022, the action taken against her is unconstitutional.

She claimed that her purported suspension as the General Secretary of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) pursuant to the Resolution of the emergency meeting of the National Executive committee of the NBA held on the 15th day of August 2022 is unconstitutional, null, void and of no effect whatsoever for being a gross violation of Section 36 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), Sections 239, 242 and 288 of the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 2020 and the Constitution of the Nigerian Bar Association, 2015 (as amended) in 2021.

She is also asking the court to determine five issues, namely:

Whether or not having regards to the provisions of Sections 36 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), Sections 11(9), 20 and 21 of the Constitution of the Nigerian Bar Association, 2015 (as amended in 2021) and Sections 239, 242 and 288 of the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 2020, the 3rd – 11th Defendants have the vires to suspend the Plaintiff from the office of the General Secretary of the Nigerian Bar Association, (the 1st Defendant herein).
Whether or not having regards to the provisions of Sections 36 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), Sections 11(9), 20 and 21 of the Constitution of the Nigerian Bar Association 2015 (as amended in 2021 and Sections 239, 242 and 288 of the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 2020 the purported resolution of the emergency meeting of the National Executive Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association held on the 15th day of August 2022, is null, void, illegal and unconstitutional.
Whether or not having regards to the provisions of Sections 36 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), Sections 11(9), 20 and 21 of the Constitution of the Nigerian Bar Association 2015 (as amended in 2021 and Sections 239, 242 and 288 of the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 2020 the notice of the meeting of the National Executive Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association held on the 15th day of August 2022 which did not contain the suspension of the Plaintiff as one of its agenda is null and void ab initio and a breach of the Plaintiff’s right to a fair hearing.
Whether having regards to Sections 36 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), Sections 11(9), 20 and 21 of the Constitution of the Nigerian Bar Association 2015 (as amended in 2021), as well as Sections 239, 242 and 288 of the Companies and Allied Matters Act 2020 the procedure adopted by the National Executive Committee in the purported suspension of the Plaintiff is not unlawful and a breach of the Plaintiff’s right to a fair hearing;
Whether having regards to Sections 36 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), Sections 11(9), 20 and 21 of the Constitution of the Nigerian Bar Association 2015 (as amended in 2021), as well as Sections 239, 242 and 288 of the Companies and Allied Matters Act 2020), the decision by the NBA-NEC to suspend the Plaintiff was not unjust and done in utmost bad faith.
On Monday, the NBA national officers unanimously suspended the general secretary, Mrs Joyce Oduah from office. Nine of the 11 officers who signed the resolution authorizing the suspension also resolved to refer her to the NBA National Executive Council for disciplinary action and to recommend her removal from office for gross misconduct.

The National Executive Council will sit on the 25th of August at the Annual General Meeting of the Annual General Conference of the Association scheduled to hold in Lagos.

It will be the last sitting under the Akpata administration as the President-elect, Yakubu Maikyau (SAN) and his team will be sworn in on Friday the 26th of August.

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