The case filed by the applicants and their lawyer, Stanley Agumaeme, seeking an extension of former President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure, has been abandoned.
Justice Inyang Ekwo revealed this development in a ruling on Friday regarding the suit labeled as FHC/ABJ/CS/656/23, which Justice Initiative filed for the Disadvantage and Oppressed Persons and Lawman Nzenwa, the first and second plaintiffs in the case.
Justice Ekwo noted that the applicants did not appear in court on the previously adjourned date, despite his order to serve them with a hearing notice for the proceeding. He further stated that he had instructed that the plaintiffs be contacted by phone and sent a text message to inform them about the proceedings.
However, the judge expressed surprise that neither the plaintiffs nor their lawyer were present in court.
According to Justice Ekwo, the plaintiffs and their counsel have realized the unconstitutionality of their request and that it cannot be granted. He declared, “It seems the plaintiffs and their lawyer have run away; they have abandoned their case.”
Consequently, the judge dismissed the suit since the plaintiffs were not in court, and he could not make an order in their absence.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that the plaintiffs filed the suit on May 12 through their lawyer. In the originating summons, they sued the President and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), the Chief of Defence Staff, and the Inspector-General of Police as the first to fourth defendants. They also named Atiku Abubakar, the Senate President, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives as the fifth to eleventh defendants, respectively.
The plaintiffs sought an order to extend Buhari’s tenure beyond May 29 until the resolution of the presidential election petition. They also requested an order directing the Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives to pass a resolution invoking the necessity to extend Buhari’s tenure until the resolution of Abubakar’s petition against the presidential election.
Additionally, they sought an order preventing the former president, his appointees, or agents from handing over the offices of the president and vice president to Tinubu and Shettima until the court fully resolves the election petitions, among other requests.
NAN reported that only Kassim Oyinwola, the counsel for the tenth defendant (Senate President), was present in court.
Furthermore, on June 6, Justice Ekwo imposed a fine of N20 million on Chuks Nwachukwu, the lawyer representing five residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), in a suit aimed at halting President Bola Tinubu’s May 29 inauguration. The judge deemed the case vexatious, frivolous, and an abuse of the court process.
In a related case, Justice James Omotosho, presiding over a sister court, delivered a judgment on May 26 in another suit filed by three applicants seeking to prevent Tinubu’s swearing-in as Nigeria’s fifth democratic president.
The judge ordered the three applicants, Praise Ilemona Isaiah, Pastor Paul Isaac, and Dr. Anongu Moses, as well as their lawyer, Daniel Elombah, to pay a total sum of N17 million for filing a suit that was considered “frivolous, vexatious, and an abuse of court processes.”