Justice James Omotosho of the Federal High Court in Abuja has fined three litigants and their lawyer a total of N17 million for filing a baseless lawsuit in an attempt to halt the inauguration of President-elect Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
The fine was imposed on Praise Ilemona, Pastor Paul Issac Audu, and Dr. Anongu Moses, who filed the suit to stop Tinubu’s swearing-in as the new President. The three litigants must jointly pay N10 million to Tinubu and an additional N5 million to the All Progressives Congress (APC), who were among the defendants in the case.
Justice Omotosho also ordered an annual interest rate of 10 percent on the judgment debt until it is fully paid.
The lawyer who filed the suit was ordered to pay N1 million to Tinubu and the APC.
During the proceedings, the counsel for the litigants pleaded with the court for leniency and suggested that the court should advise his clients against pursuing frivolous lawsuits in the future.
Tinubu’s counsel, Lateef Fagbemi, argued that the suit should be dismissed as the three plaintiffs lacked the legal standing to bring the case. Fagbemi informed the court that none of the plaintiffs participated in the primary election that resulted in Tinubu’s nomination, yet they chose to harass him through the lawsuit.
Fagbemi further contended that the litigants abused the court process by filing multiple cases against Tinubu and the APC in various courts without any reasonable cause of action.
In their lawsuit, the three plaintiffs sought to prevent the May 29 inauguration based on their allegations that Tinubu provided false information regarding his age and citizenship status to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).