President-elect’s Inauguration: Court fines litigants, lawyer N17m
Salihu Ali, Abuja
A Federal High Court in Abuja has imposed a fine of N17M fine on three litigants and their lawyer for filing a frivolous suit seeking to stop the inauguration of the President-elect, Ahmed Tinubu.
Justice James Omotoso imposed the fine on Mr. 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 Nigeria’s 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.
Counsel to the plaintiffs, Daniel Elomah who filed the suit was ordered to pay N1M to each of Tinubu and the APC.
At the Friday’s proceedings, their counsel had pleaded to pardon his clients and advised that the court should counsel them against embarking on frivolous suit in future.
Counsel to Tinubu, Lateef Fagbemi SAN 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 none 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 Presidential 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 ruling by Justice Omotosho is coming 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.