I Never Engaged You As My Lawyer, Sokoto Prince Insists
Sokoto Prince and former Nigeria’s Ambassador to South Africa, Alhaji Shehu Malami, has issued a disclaimer against a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mr. Joe Agi and another lawyer, Jeff Njikonye, who were both imposed on him as his lawyers by the Supreme Court in a property suit at the apex court.
In the disclaimer received in the office of both lawyers, Malami told both Agi and Njikonye “to immediately and henceforth stop parading” themselves “as my counsel because I never engaged you in this or any other matter.”
In the letter dated July 17, 2017 Malami warned Agi and Njikoye that “if on the next adjourned date you still claim to represent me, I will be compelled to report the situation to the appropriate authority for discipline.”
Agi is the lawyer charged to court alongside Justice Adeniyi Ademola in one of the high-profile corruption cases filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on the instruction of President Muhammadu Buhari through the Attorney-General of Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN).
Agi was alleged to have on different occasions offered gratifications – including N160 million and a car gift worth N8.5 million – to Justice Ademola, who is one of the seven judges arrested after a “sting operation” by the Department of State Services (DSS) last October, and his wife, Mrs. Olabowale Ademola. The Federal Government is currently pursuing an appeal against Justice Ademola and Agi (SAN) after an Abuja High Court returned a no-case verdict in the graft suit.
Malami issued the disclaimer in relation to an on-going case at the Supreme Court in which Malami is purportedly appealing a 2015 Court of Appeal judgment on a two-wing duplex build by a retired Nigerian-American businessman, Mr. Imokhuede Ohikhuare, on Plot1809 Asokoro, Abuja.
Controversial Igbo Businessman, Sir Emeka Offor, seized the property from Mr. Ohikhuare four years ago based on a judgment delivered by an Abuja High Court Judge, A.S. Umar, a judgment the Court of Appeal, Abuja has now set aside. However, in spite of the Court of Appeal verdict, Emeka Offor is still in possession of the Asokoro property, occupying one wing of the duplex by himself and renting out the other.
The Supreme Court had curiously accepted the claims by Agi and Njikoye that they represent Malami in the suit, despite the fact that Malami had presented an affidavit he swore to at the Registry of the Supreme Court in which he clearly said he was not interested in the appeal, after it was brought to his notice that Agi and Njikonye had dragged his name in the matter as First Appellant, alongside Offor’s as second appellant.
However, in a shocking decision reached after four sittings spanning about two year, the Supreme Court rejected Malami’s sworn affidavit in which he legally distanced himself from the appeal and imposed both Agi and Njikonye on Malami in a matter the Sokoto prince had said he had no interest to pursue at all.