By Taiye Agbaje
The applicants and their lawyer, Stanley Agumaeme, in a suit seeking extension of ex-President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure pending the determination of the petitions before Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) have abandoned the case.
Justice Inyang Ekwo made this known on Friday in a ruling on the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/656/23 filed by Justice Initiative for the Disadvantage and Oppressed Persons and Lawman Nzenwa, 1st and 2nd plaintiffs in the matter.
Justice Ekwo, who observed that the applicants were not in court in the last adjourned date, said he had made an order directing the plaintiffs to be served with hearing notice for today’s proceeding.
The judge said he also made an order that the plaintiffs should be called on phone and a text message sent to them to notify them of the proceeding.
He, however, expressed surprise that neither the plaintiffs nor their lawyer was in court.
According to Justice Ekwo, I believe the plaintiffs and their counsel have realised that what they seek is unconstitutional and can never be granted.
“It seems the plaintiffs and their lawyer have run away; they have abandoned their case,” he declared.
The judge, therefore, held that since the plaintiffs were not in court and he cannot make an order in their absence, he consequently dismissed the suit.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the plaintiffs, through their lawyer, had, on May 12, filed the suit dated May 12.
In the originating summons, they had sued the President and Commander-In-Chief of Armed Forces of Nigeria, the Attorney-General of Federation (AGF), Chief of Defence Staff and Inspector-General of Police as 1st to 4th defendants.
Others are Sen. Bola Tinubu, Sen. Kassim Shettima, Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Mr Peter Obi, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Senate President and Speaker, House of Representatives as 5th to 11th defendants respectively.
They, therefore, sought an order extending the tenure of Buhari (1st defendant) further from May 29 to such a time the presidential election petition would have been resolved in one way or the order.
They also sought an order mandating the Senate president (10th defendant) and Speaker (11th defendant) to invoke the principle of necessity and pass resolution extending Buhari’s tenure after May 29 till when Abubakar’s petition against the presidential election is resolved.
They further sought an order directing the former president either by himself, appointees or agents, not to hand over offices of the president and vice president to Tinubu and Shettima until the election petitions are fully and finally disposed by the courts, among others.
NAN reports that only Kassim Oyinwola, counsel for the 10th defendant (Senate president) was in court.
NAN also reports that Justice Ekwo had on June 6, awarded a N20 million fine against Chuks Nwachukwu, a lawyer representing five FCT residents in a suit seeking an order to stop the May 29 swearing-in of President Bola Tinubu.
The judge described the suit as vexatious, frivokius and abuse of court process.
Also, a sister court presided over by Justice James Omotosho had, on May 26, delivered a judgment in another suit filed by three applicants seeking to stop the swearing-in of Tinubu on May 29 as fifth Nigeria’s democratic president.
The judge had awarded a total sum of N17 million against the three applicants; Praise Ilemona Isaiah, Pastor Paul Isaac and Dr Anongu Moses, including their lawyer, Daniel Elombah, for filing a suit considered to be “frivolous, vexatious and an abuse of court processes.”