The Supreme Court on Wednesday, February 26, has slammed a N60m fine against the two prominent lawyers and the counsel to the All Progressives Congress, APC, Chief Wole Olanipekun and Chief Afe Babalola over an abuse of the court.
The Apex Court described the request by the APC to review its judgment voiding the participation of its candidate in the Bayelsa governorship election as vexatious, frivolous and an abuse of the court.
The apex court, therefore, held that the suit filed on behalf of the APC, its sacked governor-elect and deputy governor-elect, Mr David Lyon and Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo lacked merit and accordingly dismissed it.
In the unanimous ruling delivered by Justice Amina Augie, it came down heavily on the counsel to the applicants, Chief Afe Babalola and Wole Olanipekun for filing the motions which the court described as regrettable motions and a deliberate desecration of the judiciary.
“I feel like shedding tears that senior counsel in this case would ever bring this kind of frivolous applications during my life time”, Justice Augie said in an emotion laden voice.
She also ordered the lawyers, Chief Afe Babalola, SAN, and Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, to pay the sum of N10 million to each of the three respondents as fine.
The beneficiary respondents are the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Governor, Duoye Diri and his deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhujapkor.
In the ruling that lasted about 30 minutes, Justice Augie held that by Order 8, Rule 16 of the Supreme Court, the court has no powers or authority to review any judgment delivered on merit safe for clerical error.
“This court is not authorised and indeed lacked jurisdiction to review any judgment delivered on merit, moreso when the applicants have not pointed out any accidental error or slip in the judgment. There must be an end to every litigation.
“This is final court and its decisions are final for all ages so as to ensure certainty in law.
“The two applications brought before us today lacked merit and constituted abuse of this court and they are liable to dismissal and are hereby dismissed”, the court held.
Justice Augie said the fine is to be personally paid by the lawyers.