• Tuesday, July 16, 2024
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Atiku faults CCB on case filed by Festus Keyamo

Increasing kidnaping shows Tinubu’s security strategy is failing – Atiku

The Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar has frowned at the Code of Conduct Bureau’s invitation to Festus Keyamo, “to shed more light on his complaints to the Bureau.”

In a Letter signed by Mike Ozekhome, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), the PDP candidate said it “is highly inappropriate for a party to a suit to take any extra-judicial steps, or to embark on any course of action that is either tantamount to, or calculated to undermine the authority and integrity of the court, which is dominus litis over the proceedings.”

Ozekhome, who is Counsel to Atiku Abubakar, the 1st defendant in the suit presently pending at the Federal High Court, Abuja, stated that since the case was at the instance of Festus Keyamo, who, incidentally is a serving Minister of State in the Administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, as well as a spokesman of Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the President-elect, such invitation “is calculated to undermine the authority and integrity of the court, which is dominus litis over the proceedings.

“Upon being served with the originating process in the said suit, our client – through us – promptly responded by filing a Statement of Defence as well as a Preliminary Objection thereto. Copies of both processes are herewith attached for your perusal and guidance; in other words, issues have been duly joined in the matter between the Plaintiff and our client. Accordingly, the matter is now sub judice.

“You will therefore, appreciate our surprise to read in the media that Mr. Keyamo has reportedly responded to the invitation of your esteemed Bureau purportedly to shed more light on his complaints to the Bureau, which far preceded and formed the very basis of his pending suit, as aforesaid.

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“Our reasons are obvious: it is highly inappropriate for a party to a suit to take any extra-judicial steps, or to embark on any course of action that is either tantamount to, or calculated to undermine the authority and integrity of the court, which is dominus litis over the proceedings.
“Such behavior is as condemnable as it is unacceptable. It is strongly frowned upon, by courts of law, as it has the potential of over-reaching the court, the other party (our client) and foisting or the court, a fait accompli. In fact, it smacks of contempt of court, albeit ex facie curiae.
“To that extent, the Supreme Court has severally deprecated and condemned such actions in no certain terms. A few of such instances will suffice.”

He cited cases to back his position, including OJUKWU v. MILITARY GOVERNOR OF LAGOS STATE (1986) NGSC 8, in which the Apex Court held as follows:

“Once a dispute has arisen between a person and the government or authority and the dispute has been brought before the court, thereby invoking the judicial powers of the State, it is the duty of the government to allow the law to take its course or allow the legal and judicial process run its full course . . . The courts expect the utmost respect of the law from the government itself which rules by the law . . . In the area where the rule of the law operates, the rule of self-help by force is abandoned.

“See also REGISTERED TRUSTEES APOSTOLIC CHURCH V. OLOWOLENI (1990) 4 NWLR Pt. 158 Pg. 514 at 537, where the Supreme Court, per Nnaemeka-Agu, JSC, held thus:
“Once parties have turned their dispute over to the courts for determination, the right to resort to self-help ends. So it is not permissible for one of the parties to take any step during the pendency of the suit which may have the effect of fostering upon a Court a situation of complete helplessness or which may give the impression that the Court is being used as a mere subterfuge to tie the hands of one party while the party helps himself extra judicially. Both parties are to await the result of the litigation and the appropriate order of the court before acting further.”

Ozekhome, while noting that “Parties cannot present the court with a fait accompli to overreach the other party,” added however, that “This principle is settled that the court cannot be hamstrung by a party who changes the status quo during litigation.

“For the foregoing reasons, we urge the Bureau to refrain from interfering in the subject matter of Mr. Keyamo’s petition since he has himself voluntarily submitted it to a competent court of law for adjudication.”

He therefore, urged the Court to “kindly advise and direct him to pursue his pending litigation against our client to its logical conclusion.

“We assure you we are eagerly waiting for him there. Where however you persist in your enterprise of investigating this subjudice matter currently pending before a court of competent jurisdiction, we shall be left with no alternative than to activate the judicial process against your goodself.”