Judge, Nkeonye Maha, of the Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday accused a lawyer of disrupting her court proceedings. Abubakar Marshal, a member of the legal team representing detained convener of the botched #Revolutionnow# protest, Omoyele Sowore, had approached the judge in the court shortly before the commencement of proceedings.
Mr Sowore is currently being detained by the federal government for treason after calling for an anti-government protest tagged RevolutionNow. The court had a few weeks ago granted the request of the State Security Service to detain the Sahara Reporters publisher. Mr Abubakar on Monday noted that the case file has not been remitted back to a judge, Taiwo Taiwo, a week after Ms Maha recused herself from hearing the matter.
In a short exchange between the lawyer and the judge, Ms Maha accused Mr Abubakar of ”grandstanding and disrupting her proceedings”. The lawyer then said ”it was better for him to approach the judge in open court as he does not want to have an ex parte discussion with her in chambers that could be misconstrued”.
He asked that the case file be taken back to Justice Taiwo whom he noted has resumed from vacation. The enraged judge noted that the issue was an administrative one and ”that it would be resolved”. “Your lordship. I am here in respect of Omoyele sowore case you remitted back to your learned brother justice Taiwo Taiwo,” the lawyer said. The judge in response said, “Yes, is that why you are disturbing my court, grandstanding before me over an administrative matter.”
Mr Abubakar then said: “Well your lordship had recused from the said case. I was informed that the case file is still with my lord, thus preventing Hon Justice Taiwo Taiwo’s court from setting the case down for hearing of pending applications to decide the same one way or the other.”
The judge replied: “I said this is administrative, it is not a reason to come and disturb my court.” The lawyer said, “I know your lordship. I didn’t want to have an ex-parte discussion with your lordship in chambers, that is why I am here (in open court).
The judge then turned to the registrar and asked her to call the first case. She again turned to the lawyer, “do not come and disturb my court’s business over such matters again.” Ms Maha, addressing journalists in the courtroom, said, “Please know what you will report. I have no hand in the matter again please.”