The Court of Appeal, Abuja division, on Thursday, imposed the sum of N40m fine on an Abuja-based lawyer, Mr Abrose Owuru, for filing a frivolous suit which he had sought to prevent the May 29, inauguration of the President-elect Bola Tinubu.
A three-man panel of the court, led by Justice Jamil Tukur, unanimously held that the appeal filed by Owuru and his party, the Hope Democratic Party, amounted to an abuse of the court processes.
Justice Tukur held that the appeal was an invitation for the court to review its earlier decision, which it cannot do.
He said the issues in the appeal had earlier been determined by the court while sitting as an election petition court after the 2019 election, with a judgment given on August 22, 2019.
Justice Tukur stated that the Supreme Court had also heard the case and pronounced it with a judgment given on October 28, 2019.
He held that the case, having been litigated up to the Supreme Court, it was an abuse of the judicial process for Owuru and his party to seek to want to have the matter litigated all over.
He, however, upheld the January 30 judgment of Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, which earlier dismissed the case for being an abuse of court processes.
Consequently, Justice Tukur dismissed the appeal and ordered Owuru to pay each of the respondents N10m cost.
The respondents in the suit are the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), the Attorney General of the Federation, the Independent National Electoral Commission and Tinubu.
Owuru and HDP had, in the appeal, sought to be sworn in as Buhari’s successor.
Owuru claimed, among others, that he won a referendum purportedly conducted within the period of the postponement of the 2019 presidential election.
He argued that by the victory he recorded in the 2019 referendum, no other person should occupy the office of the President until he serves out his tenure.
Owuru and the HDP raised similar issues in the petition they filed against the 2019 presidential election, which was dismissed by the Supreme Court for want of jurisdiction.
The election petition court, while dismissing Owuru’s petition in its August 22, 2019 judgment, held, among other things, that the issue of referendum raised in the petition did not form grounds to challenge the outcome of an election.