A Lagos-based lawyer, Mr. Moses Oddiri, has asked a Lagos High Court to compel a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Emeka Etiaba, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, Pastor Ben Akabueze, Redeemers International Secondary School and its Principal, Feyisara Osinupebi and Samuel Johnson a counsel in the chambers of Emeka Etiaba to pay him N500million as damages for alleged defamation.
Oddiri had dragged the defendants before a Lagos High Court in a different suit with number: ID/5504MFHR/2017, where Etiaba and Samuel Johnson appeared as solicitors for the defendants.
While handling the case as lawyers to Redeemers International School and other defendants, Etiaba allegedly made a statement which Oddiri considered defamatory.
He (Oddiri) consequently filed a case against the lawyer and his clients.
In the claims, he contended that relying on a disputed and uncertified letter from the Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court, Etiaba on behalf of his clients told the trial judge, Justice Oke Lawal, that he (Oddiri) was no longer a legal practitioner having been disbarred by a directive of the Legal Practitioners’ Disciplinary Committee (LPDC) dated April 21, 2008 to the Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court to have his names struck off the roll of legal practitioners and the Chief Registrar purportedly carried it out on November 18, 2008.
However, Oddiri claims that his names were never forwarded to the Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court to strike off the roll of legal practitioners, in the directives of April 21, 2008 by the LPDC or any other disciplinary committee.
He stated further that the names contained in the directives of April 21, 2008, went on appeal to the Appeals Committee of the Body of Benchers and that Section 11:8 of the Legal Practitioner Act, prohibited the Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court from carrying out the directives of the LPDC once an appeal was pending and even if carried out would be of no effect.
He stated further that those whose names were contained in the illegal directive of the LPDC, challenged the legality of the directives at the Court of Appeal in Lagos.
According to him, in a unanimous judgment on June 5, 2015, the Court of Appeal quashed and nullified the directives of the LPDC of April 21, 2008, which the said Etiaba admitted he was aware of before making the said defamatory remarks about Oddiri’s standing as a legal practitioner in open court.
Oddiri is asking the court for a declaration that the malicious, irresponsible and defamatory remarks in open court by the 1st defendant regarding the claimant standing as a legal practitioner, is highly defamatory, unsustainable in law and from the facts.
He asked for general and punitive damages against the defendants for the sum of N500million for the said defamatory remarks and libelous publication, aimed at damaging the reputation and standing of the Oddiri as a legal practitioner.
No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.