Sokoto Prince and former Nigeria’s Ambassador to South Africa, Alhaji Shehu Malami, may have to appear in person before the Supreme Court to clear the air on a controversy surrounding his legal representation and the elder statesman’s bid to withdraw from a pending appeal at the apex court concerning a two-wing duplex property built on Plot 1809 Asokoro, Abuja by a Nigerian-American businessman, Mr Imokhuede Ohikhuare.
Ambassador Malami’s personal appearance at the Supreme Court could become inevitable at the next hearing of the matter on March 28, 2017, if two young lawyers – J. C. Njikonye (Esq) and Shaka Awaliene (Esq) – are unable to resolve the contentious issue of who has the brief of Ambassador Malami to represent him in the case at the Supreme Court between both of them.
Both Njikonye and Awaliene tasked the patience of a five-man panel of Supreme Court justices to the fullest depth possible on Tuesday, November 15, 2016 when the matter came up for hearing as the duo traded claims and counter claims on holding brief for Ambassador Malami.
The high drama commenced when Awaliene rose in court to announce his appearance for Ambassador Malami minutes after Njikonye told the Supreme Court that he was holding the joint brief for the First and Second Appellants/Applicants in the matter, Ambassador Malami and Businessman, Sir Emeka Offor.
A similar situation truncated the hearing of the matter on May 17, 2016 when the apex court directed Mr Joe Agi (SAN), who, like Njikonye, announced his appearance for Ambassador Malami and Sir Offor at the May hearing, and Awaliene to resolve the controversy of Malami’s brief.
At this latest hearing, Awaliene told the Supreme Court that Njikonye was in receipt of a letter from him (Awaliene) debriefing Njikonye of representing Ambassador Malami in the property suit at the Supreme Court. Awaliene also told the Supreme Court that he had Ambassador Malami’s instruction via a “better sworn affidavit” filed on October 10, 2016 to an earlier one filed on May 13, 2016 in support of the Elder Statesman’s motion to have his name struck of the case and withdraw from the matter.