HomeCourt room newsKangaroo’ Judgment Comment: Court Bars Tallen From Holding Public Office

Kangaroo’ Judgment Comment: Court Bars Tallen From Holding Public Office

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The High Court of the Federal Capital Territory  has granted an injunction restraining Ex Minister Dame Pauline Tallen from holding any public office in Nigeria, unless she publishes a personally signed apology letter to Nigerians and the Judiciary on a full page of the Punch and Guardian Newspapers over a public comments she made calling a judgement of court “a kangaroo judgment that should be rejected by well-meaning Nigerians.”

In a judgment delivered on the 18th day of December, 2023, the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory declared that the said statement of Dame Pauline Tallen  was unconstitutional, careless, reckless, disparaging, a call to disobey the judgment of court and therefore contemptuous of the Federal High Court of Nigeria.

The Court  granted among other reliefs an injunction restraining Dame Pauline Tallen from holding any public office in Nigeria, unless she purges herself of the ignoble conduct by publishing a personally signed apology letter to Nigerians and the Judiciary on a full page of the Punch and Guardian Newspapers and further held that the injunction restraining the Defendant from holding any public office in Nigeria shall become perpetual if she fails to abide by the order directing her to publish an apology letter within 30 days.

Recall that on the 14th day of December, 2022, the Incorporated Trustees of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) took out an originating summons against Dame Pauline Tallen (who at the time was Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development) over her public comments made in respect of the judgment of the Federal High Court in Suit No. FHC/YL/12/2022 between Mallam Nuhu Ribadu v. All Progressives Congress (APC) & 2 Ors delivered on 14 October, 2022. Dame Pauline Tallen had on the 15th October, 2022 described the court decision as “a kangaroo judgment that should be rejected by well-meaning Nigerians.” The aforesaid statement by the former minister was widely circulated in both social and print media, and it was particularly reported by most of the major newspapers in the country including the Punch and Guardian Newspapers.

By a letter dated 14 November, 2022, the NBA President, Mr. Yakubu Chonoko Maikyau, OON, SAN had written to the former Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development demanding her to withdraw the said disparaging comments and tender an unreserved and public apology to the Court, failing which the NBA would institute an action against her as being unfit to continue to hold any public office in Nigeria. This letter was never responded to and the demands therein were not complied with, hence the institution of Suit No: CV/816/2016 before the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory.

In a statement issued by Akorede Habeeb Lawal, the NBA National Publicity Secretary he noted that the NBA shall remain committed to maintaining, advancing and defending the integrity of the judiciary, and ensure that all those who seek to denigrate the judiciary are brought to book.

According to him, “The NBA shall also not fail to call out any judicial officer who fails to abide by his judicial code of conduct, even as we urge judicial officers to take their oath seriously, and avoid actions and omissions that will give the appearance of compromise.”

“The NBA President thanks all members of the legal team that prosecuted this suit on behalf of the NBA, namely; Aikpokpo Martins, Esq, Olukunle Edun, Esq, Eseagwu Augustine Nwabueze, Esq, Anne Agi, Esq, Nwabueze Kelvin, Esq and T.J.J Danjuma, Esq.”

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