The absence of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) at the Federal High Court on Thursday in Abuja stalled hearing in a suit instituted against his office by the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA).
Although Malami was served with a hearing notice in the suit marked FHC/ ABJ/ CS/ 77/2022, he neither appeared in court nor was represented by a legal practitioner while no explanation was offered for his absence.
Counsel to the NBA, Ibrahim Sunday Ameh, SAN, expressed displeasure over the absence of Malami in court in a suit in which he is a sole defendant.
Ameh informed Justice Donatus Okoronwo that the AGF had filed a memorandum of conditional appearance and counter affidavit to the originating summons of NBA served on him and wondered why the defendant did not deem it fit to be in court.
The senior lawyer however said that since the matter was for mention, he urged the court to give an adjournment for the defendant to have another opportunity to appear in court.
Justice Okoronwo, in a reaction, confirmed that the AGF was duly served with the hearing notice and originating summons and had even taken steps to file a memorandum of appearance and counter-affidavit on record.
He however granted the request for adjournment and fixed a new hearing date for May 12.
The Thursday proceeding was witnessed by the NBA President, Olumide Akpata, and a retinue of officers of the bar in various units across the country.
The Incorporated Trustees of the NBA had dragged the AGF before the court challenging the validity and lawfulness of the Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal practitioners (Amendment) Rules 2021 (S.I. No. 15 of 2020) enacted by the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation.
NBA, while faulting the rules as being unlawful, is praying the court to void and set it aside in the interest of justice and fairness to practising lawyers in Nigeria.