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Group wants court to stop Gbajabiamila for US indictment
Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila: Some Lawyers claim he is an ex-convict

Group wants court to stop Gbajabiamila for US indictment

The immediate past Minority Leader of the Nigerian House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila has been told that he has no moral or legal right to aspire to the office of Speaker because he was indicted in the United States of America.

A group of lawyers  who are Registered Trustees of the Social Justice and Civil Rights Awareness Initiative have not only made this weighty statement  but they have dragged the top Legislator to court, seeking an order to stop his ambition of occupying the No.4 most powerful position in Nigeria as Speaker, Federal House of Representatives but also bar him from holding any other public office.

The group, in the suit filed pursuant to Order 26 Rule 8 of the Federal High Court Civil Procedure Rules, 2009, is contending that Hon. Gbajabiamila is not morally fit to head the third arm of governance in Nigeria, claiming that he was previously ”convicted in the state of Georgia for unethical practices and was debarred as a lawyer for 36 months”.

In an affidavit in support of the originating summons, the lawyers told the court that Gbajabiamila was convicted in the United States, in the state of Georgia, for unethical practices and was debarred for 36 months on 26th February, 2007 by the Supreme Court of Georgia.

The suit filed by Chukwuma Nwachukwu Esq and Osita K. Nwaikpo Esq of Law Bond Solicitors, Abuja also stated that Gbajabiamila was convicted of theft of his client’s funds in the year 2007, which contravenes section 66 of the constitution.

The ex-parte motion is being argued on behalf of the group by Human Rights lawyer, Chief Mike Ozehkome, SAN. In a supporting affidavit deposed by Alojie Nmerengira, the plaintiff told the court that its investigations revealed that Gbajabiamila was convicted by the Supreme Court of Georgia in 2007, even as it attached a copy of the order of the court as ‘Exhibit A’.J ustice Abdul Kafarati is Presiding over the matter.

The genesis of this suit is the 2003 incident in which Hon. Gbajabiamila then called Femi Gbaja as a practising lawyer in the State of Georgia allegedly stole $25,000 belonging to a client.

It was reported that Femi Gbaja accepted payment of $25,000 as personal injury claims and deposited those funds in his Attorney trust account in January 2003. He failed to disburse the funds to his client; instead he withdrew the funds, closed his practice and left for Nigeria where he rebranded himself as Femi Gbaja-Biamila  and  ran for elections to represent Surulere I Federal Constituency in the Federal House of Representative under the banner of Alliance for Democracy (AD) in 2003.

All was rosy for Gbajabiamila until the client decided to petition the Supreme Court of Georgia-and a panel led by Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears sat on the case.

The punishment for Femi Gbaja’s offence would have been outright debarment, but before the court could rule on the petition from his client, he reportedly filed a petition for Voluntary Discipline, filed under bar rule 4-227(b) in which he fully admitted to stealing $25,000 from his client.

He was allegedly convicted of the offence and barred from law practice for 36 months in the State of Georgia, it is this case that is the subject of the prayers by the Nigerian lawyers, who now want Femi Gbaja or Femi Gbajabiamila to come out clean over the incident of 2003 and do the honourable thing as stipulated in the constitution by not seeking any public office.

 

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