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Supreme Court fines Babalola, Olanipekun N60m for filing ‘vexatious applications’ on Bayelsa ruling

The Supreme Court on Wednesday fined two Senior Advocates of Nigeria, Chief Afe Babalola and Chief Wole Olanipekun, N30 million each for agreeing to file an application for the review of its judgment on Bayelsa governorship election.

Justice Amina Augie, who announced the fine while reading the judgment in the applications for a review of its February 13, 2020 judgment on the Bayelsa election, regretted that the duo who are “very senior” lawyers took the responsibility for filing the applications.

The All Progressives Congress (APC) had approached the apex court to review its decision to nullify the victory of its governorship candidate in November 16, 2019 election, David Lyon.

Supreme Court had quashed the APC candidate’s victory over discrepancies in his running mate’s certificates submitted with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) ahead of the election.

Babalola was Lyon’s lawyer, while Olanipekun represented the APC during the hearing.

The Supreme Court ruled that each of the lawyers must pay the N10million to each of the three respondents – the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Governor Duoye Diri, and the Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State, Lawrence Ewhruojakpo, bringing the total amount to be paid to N60 million.

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She said the applications amounted to an invitation for the apex court to sit in appeal on its own judgment in violation of the Constitution.

A seven-man panel of the apex court led by Justice Sylvester Ngwuta described the applications filed by the APC and its governorship candidate at the poll, Lyon, as vexatious, frivolous, and constituted a gross abuse of court process.

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