Court orders litigants, lawyer to pay Tinubu, APC N17M fine in suit seeking to stop Tinubu’s inauguration.


Court orders litigants, lawyer to pay Tinubu, APC N17M fine in suit seeking to stop Tinubu’s inauguration.

By Kayode Lawal
May 26, 2023

A Federal High Court in Abuja has imposes a fine of N17M on three litigants and their lawyer for filing a frivolous suit seeking to stop the inauguration of the President-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

Justice James Omotoso imposed the fine on Praise Ilemona, Pastor Paul Issac Audu and Dr Anongu Moses who jointly instituted the suit praying for an order to halt the Monday, May 29 swearing-in of Tinubu as new President.

The three litigants are to jointly pay the President elect a sum of N10M and another N5M to the All Progressives Congress APC who were part of the seven defendants in the suit.

Justice Omotoso also ordered that an interest of 10 percentage be placed on the judgment debt per year until when finally liquidated

Their lawyer, Daniel Elomah who filed the suit declared as vexatious by the court was ordered to pay N1M to each of Tinubu and the APC.

At the Friday’s proceedings, their counsel had pleaded profusely to pardon his clients and advised that the court should counsel them against embarking frivolous suit in future.

Legal luminary, Prince Lateef Fagbemi SAN who is Tinubu’s Counsel had argued that the suit be dismissed on the ground that the three plaintiffs lacked locus standi to institute it

The senior lawyer informed the Court that non of the plaintiffs participated in the primary election that produced the President-elect but chose to harass, intimidate and irittate Tinubu through frivolous suit.

Fagbemi SAN further argued that the litigants engaged in gross abuse of court by their multiple cases against Tinubu and the All Progressives Congress in various courts without any reasonable cause of action.

The Federal High Court decision came barely 24 hours after the Court of Appeal in Abuja slammed N40M fine on a former Presidetial candidate in the 2019 election, Chief Ambrose Albert Owuru who also sought to stop Tinubu’s inauguration on the ground that he won the 2019 presidential election and should be inaugurated instead of Tinubu.

The three plaintiffs had in their dismissed suit sought to stop the May 29 inauguration on the alleged ground that the President-elect, Bola Tinubu supplied false information to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) about his age and citizenship status.

Justice Omotosho, in a ruling on Friday, held that the suit by – Praise Ilemona Isaiah, Pastor Paul Isaac Audu and Anongu Moses – was frivolous and abuse of court process.

The Judge held that the plaintiffs lacked the locus standi to file the suit, adding that the court could not exercise jurisdiction to hear it because it relates to a presidential election.

The ruling by Justice Omotosho is coming about 40 minutes after the Supreme Court dismissed another suit filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) seeking to void the candidacy of Tinubu and the Vice-president elect, Kashim Shettma.