▪︎Awards N2M cost against APC, Agi over abuse of court.
▪︎ Stephen Odey to pay N3M
By Yemi Oyeyemi, Abuja
The Court of Appeal in Abuja on Saturday awarded a punitive cost of N2M against the. All Progressive Congress (APC) and its candidate in the December 2020 senatorial bye-election in Cross Rivers North senatorial district, Chief Joe Agi for engaging in abuse of court in their application asking the court to set aside its earlier judgment.
The money is to be paid to the Peoples Democratic Party PDP and its candidate in the bye-election, Mr Agom Jarigbe.
The appellate court imposed the fine on the APC and its candidate, Agi, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria SAN for filing what the court considered as frivolous application.
APC and Agi in their joint application had asked the court to review and set aside a judgment delivered by the Calabar division of the court.
Their grouse was that the the judgment delivered on July 30 in Calabar violated section 285 of the 1999 constitution having been done without jurisdiction.
They claimed among others that Agom Jarigbe who was returned as winner of the bye-election did not participate in all the stages of the election as required by law.
The appellants therefore asked the court to set aside the judgment on account of being a nullity.
However in a ruling on the application, the President of the Court, Justice Monica Domgbem-Mensen, dismissed it for being frivolous and lacking in merit.
Justice Domgbem-Mensen who led a panel of five Justices in the matter held that the appeal of the two appellants was brought in bad faith as It constituted a dangerous invitation to the court to set a bad precedent.
Citing section 246 of the 1999 constitution, the Court of Appeal held that its judgment once delivered dilligently cannot be set aside except where such judgment is fundamentally defective.
In the instant application, the Court of Appeal President held that both APC and Agi failed to show fundamental defectivenes in the judgment they challenged.
She further held that the two applicants did not show the court any aspects of the law that empowered it to review its own judgment and set It aside other than where clerical typographical errors are discovered.
The court therefore held that the application is a gross abuse of court process, malicious and brought in bad faith to over-reach the court.
“In totality, the application by the appellants is worthy of nothing but dismissal and I hereby dismiss It for want of merit.
While dismissing the application, the court upheld the July 30 2021 judgment that recognized Jarigbe as the Senator for Cross Rivers North Senatatorial district.
A separate application filed by ousted senator, Stephen Odey, of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was dismissed on the same ground that the court has no known law to set aside its own judgment.
The appeal court President ordered Odey to pay a sum of one million naira each to Joe Agi, APC, and Jarigbe who are the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd respondent’s respectively in the application.