Court Dismisses Suit Against Tinubu Over 25% FCT Votes, Fines Lawyer N20m

A Federal High Court in Abuja has rejected a lawsuit filed by five residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) seeking to prevent the inauguration of Bola Tinubu as president.

Court Dismisses Suit Against Tinubu Over 25% FCT Votes, Fines Lawyer N20m

The five applicants —Anyaegbunam Okoye, David Adzer, Jeffery Ucheh, Osang Paul and Chibuike Nwachukwu—identified themselves as registered voters of the FCT.

The urged the court to stop the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, any other judicial officer and/or any other authority or person from swearing in any candidate in the February 25 presidential election as President or Vice-President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

In his ruling on Tuesday, June 6, the presiding Judge, Inyang Ekwo ruled that the plaintiffs lacked the legal standing to initiate the case and lacked jurisdiction over the matter.

The judge also criticized the lawyer representing the residents, Chuks Nwachukwu, for his unprofessional conduct and ordered him to pay a fine of N20 million, N10 million each to the Attorney-General of the Federation and the Chief Justice of Nigeria.

The judge directed that until Chuks Nwachukwu, the lawyer representing five FCT residents, paid off the N20 million fine, no further action should be taken on the matter.

Justice Ekwo expressed his disappointment with lawyers like Nwachukwu who engage in unprofessional activities by using innocent citizens as fronts in personal cases.

He emphasized that such conduct undermines the reputation of the legal system and flouts the Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners.

Justice Ekwo said upon reading the affidavit attached to the application, “I can discern that the averments thereof are merely the voice of Esau and the hands of Jacob.

“It means that the said Chucks Nwachukwu of counsel for the plaintiffs instigated this suit and merely got the plaintiffs to stand in as parties while he handles the suit as a lawyer.

“This is an unprofessional conduct on the part of the said Chucks Nwachukwu of counsel of the plaintiffs.

“It is unfortunate that lawyers like Chucks Nwachukwu of counsel to the plaintiffs continue to engage in this sort of activity by procuring innocent citizens to act as fronts in litigations which are actually their personal cases.

“This is done with such impunity and lack of fear of the consequence to the chagrin and ruin of the reputation of the legal system in this country.

“It is so because the learned counsel has made himself to believe that he can flout the Rule of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners without any consequence.

“On the whole I find that this action is premised on recklessness, frivolity and complete lack of knowledge of elementary principle of law as it relates to the Constitution and Electoral Act, 2022,” he said.

According to the judge, in my opinion, this action was willfully initiated to not just circumvent but to overreach the on-going proceedings of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal.

“The aim thereof which cannot be denied, is to plunge this country into unprecedented constitutional anarchy capable of causing bloodshed and genocide.

“The plaintiffs and their lawyer ought to be deprecated in the strongest term for this type of adventure and I so do,” Justice Ekwo declared.

NAN reports that Nwachukwu had granted an interview in the media, accusing the judge of shying away from delivering the judgment in his suit.

The lawyer, who accused the judge of deliberately abandoning his duty, threatened to sue him up to the Supreme Court.

But Justice Ekwo, before delivering the judgment, said he could not hear the matter on May 26 because he was on official duty.

This comes two weeks after a Federal High Court in Abuja dismissed another suit seeking to stop the inauguration of President Bola Tinubu and his vice, Kashim Shettima.

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