Plaintiffs fined N15m as Court dismisses another suit against Tinubu’s inauguration

Plaintiffs were fined ₦15 million on Friday when a federal high court in Abuja dismissed their suit against the inauguration of President-elect Bola Tinubu.

This is coming few hours after the Supreme Court dismissed a similar suit by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) praying that the former Lagos governor should not be sworn in over alleged double nomination of his running mate, Vice President-elect, Kashim Shettima.

The trio of Praise Isaiah, Paul Audu and Anongu Moses approached the court urging it to halt the inauguration of Mr Tinubu on account of the former Lagos governor lying on oath in his form EC9 submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that he was not a citizen of another country.

They also alleged that the president-elect lied on oath about his age.

Arguing that Mr Tinubu’s action was in gross violation of Section 117 of the Criminal Code Act as well as Section 156 of the Penal Code Act, they prayed the court to order the arrest, detention and prevention of his swearing in as president, pending the determination of cases before the presidential election petition court.

They equally prayed to the court to ban the All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain from seeking elective office for the next 10 years.

However, in its ruling, the court held that the suit was unconstitutional, frivolous and vexatious.

The presiding judge, James Omotosho, said the plaintiffs lacked the legal rights to institute the action, striping the court of the jurisdiction to entertain the suit which only the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) could hear.

Mr Omotosho, who said the suit was in bad faith and aimed to expose the judiciary to ridicule, held that the suit was an abuse of court process and a waste of judicial time.

While dismissing the suit, the judge awarded ₦10 million in Tinubu’s favour and ₦5 million in favour of the APC to be paid by the plaintiffs.

Counsel to the plaintiffs, after being threatened of being reported to the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee for instituting an action “capable of dragging the judiciary to the mud,” was ordered by the judge to pay ₦1 million each to the seven respondents.

The respondents includes: President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; Mr Tinubu; APC; INEC; the attorney-general of the federation (AGF); the director-general of the Department of State Services (DSS) and the inspector-general of police (IGP).