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Court Orders NBA President To Address SPIDEL’s Competence In Suit

The Federal High Court in Abuja has directed the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) President to address the competence of the NBA Section on Public Interest and Development Law (SPIDEL) in a lawsuit alleging violations of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Act by the Minister of Art, Culture, and Creative Economy, Hannatu Musawa.

The case, with suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/1115/2023, was brought by SPIDEL, seeking the removal of Minister Musawa from office due to the alleged NYSC Act violations. During the hearing on March 19, 2024, the court sought to determine whether SPIDEL, as an unregistered association, has the legal capacity to file such a suit.

Representing the NBA President, Senior Advocate of Nigeria Olusegun Jolaawo drew the court’s attention to a written address filed on March 18, 2024, on behalf of the incorporated Trustees of the NBA. Jolaawo emphasized the gravity of the situation, arguing that SPIDEL’s actions undermine the authority of the NBA President and violate the association’s constitution. He further submitted that NBA-SPIDEL cannot maintain the action in its current form and urged the court to dismiss the case with costs.

The court’s order has provided the NBA with an opportunity to be heard, noting the frequent mention of the association in the legal processes. Prior to this hearing, the NBA had suspended the activities of NBA-SPIDEL’s leadership, citing allegations of misconduct and breach of association rules pending an investigation.

Counsel for the NYSC and the Ministry of Justice also adopted their written addresses during the proceedings, which were attended by Godspower Eroga, Esq. for the Plaintiffs; Douglas Moru, Esq. for the 1st Defendant; J. E. Okpe, Esq. with M. Augie, Esq. for the 3rd Defendant; and A. O. Rufai for the 4th Defendant.

The plaintiffs’ counsel informed the court that they had filed and served the 1st, 3rd, and 4th defendants their written address on the juristic capacity of the plaintiffs and whether SPIDEL is a juristic personality that can institute the action, as ordered at the last adjourned date. Counsel for the 1st, 3rd, and 4th defendants confirmed filing their respective processes.

Expressing its desire for the NBA President to be made aware of the present suit, the court ordered that the NBA President be served with the processes and respond accordingly, considering SPIDEL’s status as a section of the NBA. A motion for substituted service on the 2nd defendant was also moved and granted.

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