NBA drags Women Affairs Minister to court over comments on Adamawa APC guber primary tussle

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*Photo: Pauline Tallen *

The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has sued the Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Pauline Tallen, over her public comments describing a court judgment as a kangaroo decision.She made the remarks in respect of a Judgment of the Federal High Court sitting in Yola, between Mallam Nuhu Ribadu v. All Progressives Congress (APC) and two others related to the Adamawa state APC governorship primaries, delivered in October 2022.

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The NBA, through its Incorporated Trustees, instituted the suit, on December 14, by way of an Originating Summons, at the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja with Suit No: CV/816/2022.

The minister had, at the sidelines of the First Global Reunion and Annual General Meeting of the Federal Government Girls’ College, Bida Old Girls Association on the 15th of October, 2022, said that “the ruling that sacked Aishatu Binani, the only female governorship candidate in the country is a kangaroo judgment that should be rejected by well-meaning Nigerians. The Court is declaring that the party has no candidate. This is unacceptable. It is like a kangaroo judgment, but we will not give up.”

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Following that, the President of the NBA, Yakubu Chonoko Maikyau, (SAN) wrote to the Minister, demanding her to withdraw the said comments and tender an unreserved apology to the Court, “disparaging and contemptuous remarks”, failing which the NBA would institute an action against her as being unfit to continue to hold any public office in Nigeria.

According to the National Publicity Secretary of the NBA, Habeeb Lawal, the minister did not respond to the letter nor complied with the demands.

The NBA is praying for the following reliefs:

a. a declaration that the Defendant’s (Dame Pauline Tallen) statement that: “the ruling that sacked Aishatu Binani, the only female governorship candidate in the country is a kangaroo judgment that should be rejected by well-meaning Nigerians. The Court is declaring that the party has no candidate. This is unacceptable. It is like a kangaroo judgment, but we will not give up” made on 15th day of October, 2022 at the sidelines of the First Global Reunion and Annual General Meeting of the Federal Government Girls’ College, Bida Old Girls Association, in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court in reference to a judgment of the Federal High Court is unconstitutional, careless, reckless, disparaging, a call to disobey the judgment of court and therefore contemptuous of the Federal High Court of Nigeria;

b. a declaration that by virtue of the aforesaid statement of the Defendant referring to the judgment of Court as ‘kangaroo’, the Defendant is thereby unfit to hold or continue to hold the office of the Honourable Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development of the Federal Government of Nigeria, or any public office of the Federal Republic of Nigeria;

c. a declaration that by virtue of the Defendant being a Public Officer and Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria who swore to uphold and defend the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, her statements inciting the public against the judgment of the Federal High Court is a flagrant breach of her Oath of Office and disregard to the provisions of the said Constitution, particularly Section 287 (3) of the 1999 Constitution thereof;

d. an order directing and compelling the Defendant to forthwith publish a personally signed apology letter to Nigerians and the Judiciary on a full page of the Guardian and Punch Newspapers respectively;

e. an order of perpetual injunction restraining the Defendant from holding any public office in Nigeria by reason of her conduct complained of unless she purges herself of the ignoble conduct by publishing a written apology which must be published on a full page of each of both the Guardian and Punch Newspapers; and

f. for such further or other orders as the Honourable Court may deem fit to make, to give effect to the reliefs granted by the Court.

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