A litigant by the name, Ummulkhair Datti has petitioned one Mr Ahmad Muhammed Jega Esq., with enrolment number: SCN055290 for allegedly forging the signature of her husband.
The said was addressed to the Nigerian Bar Association. According to the petitioner, she wants the NBA to sound a note of warning to Mr Ahmd Muhammad Jega which would make him have a rethink and change his way.
Below read the full Petition to NBA
22nd July 2019
The General Secretary, Nigerian Bar Association
National Secretariat NBA House,
Muhammadu Buhari Way
Central Business District,
PETITION AGAINST MR AHMAD MUHAMMAD JEGA ESQ. (ENROLMENT SCN055290) WITH RESPECT TO CONDUCTS UNBECOMING OF A LEGAL PRACTITIONER
I write in relation to the above subject matter to make this complaint against one of your members, Mr Ahmad Muhammed Jega Esq. with enrolment number: SCN055290
Mr Ahmad Muhammed Jega Esq. is a lawyer to my ex-husband, Suleiman Saidu, who is a staff of the Central Bank of Nigeria. My marriage with Suleiman Saidu was blessed with two children; Ahmad Suleiman (now 10 years) and Aisha Suleiman (now 8 years). The marriage between me and Suleiman Saidu broke down and we divorced sometimes in 2015. Attached herewith and marked ANNEXURE UM-001 is my divorce certificate obtained at Area Court, Gudu, Abuja in 2016.
I remarried in 2017 and I allowed the two children spend sometimes with Suleiman Saidu since he is still their father. When I returned to Abuja from Kano and sent for the children for them to resume school with me, Suleimand Saidu held on to them and told the children to inform me they would not be returning to me again. The children would later be subject to neglect and disdain by Suleiman Saidu which made Aisha, the girl, fall sick and diagnosed of Perineal Canidiasis and Ahmad, the boy, was also diagnosed of chronic malaria. Attached herewith and marked ANNEXURES UM-002 and UM-003 are result of the diagnosis and receipt of the treatment of Ahmad and Aisha respectively.
As a mother, I could not bear my children being treated with such neglect and disdain. I took them with me while I was away to Kano in 2017.
Suleiman Saidu then employed the service of Mr Ahmad Muhammad Jega Esq. to institute an action against me at the Area Court Grade 1, Gudu, Abuja in SUIT NO CV/87/2017. In the case, Suleiman Saidu asked that the court compelled me to return the children and also asked that the court should award custody to him. Mr Ahmad Muhammad Jega Esq. then further approached the court to obtain an order ex parte for interim custody to be awarded to Suleiman Saidu and for the children to be returned to him. This Mr Ahmad Muhammad Jega Esq. did despite knowing that under Islamic law practice and procedure custody of children does not go to the father unless and until all the people entitled before the father are unqualified or disqualified. In the Motion Ex Parte, Saidu Suleiman, my ex-husband, purportedly deposed to the affidavit. Attached herewith and marked ANNEXURE UM-004 is a copy of the affidavit attached to the Motion Ex Parte he filed.
Upon the service of the order on me, I immediately instructed my Solicitors in Abuja to challenge the Ex parte order. My Solicitors immediately filed an appeal against the order at the Sharia Court of Appeal and equally filed a Motion for Stay of Execution of the Order at the trial Area Court that granted the order. Attached herewith and marked ANNEXURES UM-005 and UM-006 are copies of the Notice of Appeal and Motion for Stay.
At the proceedings of 20th July 2017, when the Motion for Stay of Execution was to be moved by my Solicitors, Mr Ahmad Muhammad Jega Esq. applied to the Court to vacate the order thereby rendering our appeal against the order as well as the Motion for Stay useless. The court awarded the cost of N5,000.00 (Five Thousand Naira) against him. Hence, the case continued. Meanwhile, my Solicitors also entered a counter-claim in the matter.
At the proceedings of 18th August when I was in court, the presiding judge, Hon. Abdulrahman Bello, intervened off record and enjoined us to settle the matter out of court and in the interim, the judge urged us to be interchanging the children such that when the children are in school they would be with me and when they are on holiday they would be with, Suleiman Saidu, their father. On that day, I told the court of my concern about the children being with their father and most importantly, I informed the court that Saidu Suleiman would not return the children once they are released to him. Mr Ahmad Muhammad Jega feigning ignorance of the antics of his client, kept assuring the court that the children would be returned to me to resume their school. The court in its wisdom then required Mr Ahmad Muhammad Jega to undertake that the children would be returned and he did. Attached herewith and marked ANNEXURES UM-007 is a copy of the undertaking.
The matter continued and again on 19th December 2017, I released the children to spend the holiday with their father, Suleiman Saidu, only for him to hold onto them, refused to return then and further went ahead to enroll them into another school. I did not wish that my children continued to be dragged back and forth and more so, the matter was still pending in court. I informed my Solicitors to inform the court and they did but the court did nothing. Saidu would later block access to the children such that neither me nor any of my relative could see the children. I informed my Solicitors who informed the court and further filed a Motion On Notice for an order to compel Saidu to produce the children in court and other order stopping him from sending the children away from Nigeria. Despite the service of the order on him, Saidu did not obey the court order. I am aware there are consequences to disobedience to an order of court and but I believed such disobedience amounts to contempt of court which I guess is quasi-criminal in nature. I however tarried a while from approving that Saidu be cited for contempt because he is still my children’s father and his committal to prison will give my children the blemish of being the children of an ex-convict. I considered that the children did nothing wrong and so do not deserve such fate. I decided to await the final decision of court to see if the court would award custody to him. However, I wrote a formal complaint to the judge in which I expressed my dissatisfaction. Attached herewith and marked ANNEXURES UM-008 is a copy of the letter.
At the long run, the court struck out Saidu’s case on technical ground while my own counter-claim continued pending. My understanding is that Saidu’s case having been struck out, In effect, custody was not awarded to him.
I continued to get disturbing news about the children being abused and being treated with disdain and neglect so much that at a point in time, I had to seek the help of a psychologist and a psychiatric at the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital Dawanu, Kano for the children when Ahmad, the boy threatened he was going to kill himself. I could not bear the pain of such disturbing news again so I got my children out of Saidu’s house again.
Once the children were with me he instructed his lawyer, Mr Ahmad Muhammad Jega again to institute a case against me at the Upper Area Court sitting in Gudu Abuja in SUIT NO CV/006/2019. Mr Ahmad Muhammad Jega did like he did in SUIT NO CV/87/2017 which was struck out. He (Mr Ahmad Muhammad Jega) filed a particular of claim, and a Motion Ex Parte asking the court to compel me to return the children back to Suleiman Saidu. The Upper Area Court granted the order and same was served on me on Friday 21st June 2019. When I sought legal advice, I was informed that such an order ought not to have been granted Ex Parte on the grounds that the Order Ex parte was granted pending the determination of the Motion on Notice and the Plaint (the Substantive Suit). Again, the purported deponent to the affidavit was Saidu, (the Plaintiff himself) which is not proper under Islamic law of practice and procedure.
Upon the receipt of the Order, I instructed my Solicitors in Abuja to challenge the order. My Solicitors filed an appeal against the order at the Sharia Court of Appeal and a Motion on Notice for Stay of Execution of the Order at the Upper Area Court, Gudu, Abuja, the same court that granted the order. Attached herewith and marked ANNEXURES UM-009 and UM-010 are copies of the Notice of Appeal and Motion for Stay of Execution.
My solicitors further wrote the registrar of the same Upper Area Court and applied for compilation and transmission of the records of appeal to be compiled and transmitted to the Sharia Court of Appeal, Abuja. Attached herewith and marked ANNEXURES UM-011 is a copy of the application. My Solicitors requested for a date to move the motion for stay, but was told the judge was away for at least a week or two. Thus, my solicitors choose 16th July 2019 for the moving of the motion for stay.
On 16th July 2019, my Solicitors were in court and they moved the Motion for stay of Execution of the order. Mr Ahmad Muhammad Jega, Saidu’s lawyer, was also in court and he also responded to the motion for stay so moved by my Solicitors. Afterwards, the court adjourned to 7th August 2019 for ruling on the motion for stay. At the end of the proceedings of the day, I got status report from my Solicitors of what transpired in court on 16th July 2019 and I believed since we are following the legal way of all is well. Attached herewith and marked ANNEXURES UM-012 is a copy of the record of proceedings of 16th July 2019 when the motion was moved.
It was a shock when on July 17th, 2019 in the early hour, at about 6:45am, the Operative of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) stormed my house in about three (3) different buses and attempted to whisk me away. I was thrown into serious confusion but I managed to make a few calls to my Solicitors in Abuja and a number of relatives in Kano. It was on the insistence of my Solicitors that one of the officers identified herself as ‘Martina John’. The said Martina John categorically stated that they came ‘to arrest’ me for ‘a case of kidnaping and abduction’. Attached herewith and marked ANNEXURE UM-013 is an audio recording of the conversation between the officer and my Solicitors wherein the said officer stated that they came to arrest me for a case of ‘kidnaping and abduction’.
My phone was seized and taken away from me and I was whisked away together with my two children; Ahmad and Aisha and my five (5) months old baby. I was consequently detained at the Police Command, Criminal Investigation Department in Kano from about 7am up till 2pm before I was released and my two children separated from me.
Concerned persons including my Solicitors started digging out what the problem was. At the Police Command in Kano, we discovered that Saidu’s friend, Tas’iu Rabi’u, had previously approached to procured them to come to my house to harass me and take my two children with me but the officer he met informed him the police could not do that without a court order. Again, when we applied for certified true copy of processes filed so far in the case at the Upper Area Court, Gudu, that was when we discovered that Mr Ahmad Muhammad Jega, Saidu’ lawyer had secretly went to court to obtain another ex parte order on 9th July 2019 to enforce the order of 19th June 2019 about 15 days after my Solicitors had filed an Appeal and Motion for Stay of Execution of the said order. Mr Ahmad Muhammad Jega was served with the Notice of Appeal as well as the Motion for Stay of Execution and was fully aware the said motion was slated for hearing on 16th July 2019. Again, Mr Ahmad Muhammad Jega was also in court on 16th July 2019 when the motion for stay was moved.
Mr Ahmad Muhammad Jega and Saidu paraded the said court order and framed me as a ‘kidnaper and abductor’ to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigeria Police who, in turn, stormed my house in about three (3) different buses on 17th July 2019 and whisked me away around 7am. They claimed that they acted based on the order of the court to arrest me in order to enforce the earlier court order issued by the Court on 19th June 2019. My Solicitors were totally surprised to learn about the development. Because the motion for stay of execution of the order Suleiman Saidu and Mr Ahmad Muhammad Jega were parading was moved on 16th July 2019 and Mr Ahmad Muhammad Jega was also present in court when the court adjourned to 7th August for ruling of the motion for stay.
As if this is not bad enough, further check however revealed that Saidu’s lawyer, Mr Ahmad Muhammad Jega Esq. forged Saidu’s signature and used same in the affidavit attached to the Motion Ex parte moved in court to obtain the Ex parte order of 19th June 2019. Again, Mr Ahmad Muhammad Jega also forged Saidu’s signature and used same in the Motion Ex parte he secretly moved to obtain an order on 9th July 2019 to enforce the order ex parte of 19th June 2019 despite that the Motion for stay was at the time pending before the court and same was moved on 16th July 2019. Attached herewith and marked ANNEXURES UM-014 is a copy of the affidavit used by Mr Ahmad Muhammad Jega and ANNEXURES UM-015 are an affidavit previously deposed to by Saidu in an earlier case. When these are compared with ANNEXURE-UM016, the specimen of Saidu’s signature, one can see that Mr Ahmad Muhammad Jega’s hand is not clean.
I have specimen of Saidu’ signature. I also have in my custody documents dating back to 2012, 2017 and recent documents Saidu signed. However, when I compared the signatures on the affidavit purportedly signed by Saidu (ANNEXURES UM-004 and UM-014) used by Mr Ahmad Muhammad Jega and Saidu’s signature (ANNEXURE-UM016), they are totally different. There are only two conclusions; either Saidu authorized Mr Ahmad Muhammad Jega to follow this route or Mr Ahmad Muhammad Jega wanting to impress Saidu, his client, acted alone or in concert with him.
From my interaction with my friends and colleagues who are lawyers, and some of whom work in both private and public institutions, I understand that legal profession is a noble profession. I also understand that legal practitioners are professionals who are required to maintain decorum and condor and are not expected to engage in conducts unbecoming of legal practitioners. I believe that when legal practitioners engage in or enmesh themselves in this kind of practice just in order to torment their client’s perceived opponent, it erodes public confidence in the administration of justice and questions the nobility of the profession. If Mr Ahmad Muhammad Jega could forge my ex-husband’s signature (Saidu) in an affidavit he presented to court to obtain an Ex parte order, only God knows what he is capable of doing next. But then a layman like me who suffered such a fate would question; how can such a lawyer who engages in such practice justify the nobility of the legal profession?
I have decided to petition Saidu to Central Bank of Nigeria where he worked but I believe the Nigerian Bar Association deserved to be informed of involvement of one of their members in this signature forgery. Perhaps sounding a note of warning to Mr Ahmd Muhammad Jega would make him have a rethink and change his way.
Mr Ismail Alasa,
Muslim Lawyers Association Abuja.