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Court restricts former minister from holding public office in Nigeria




The Federal Capital Territory High Court in Abuja has barred former Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development Pauline Tallen from holding public office.

In a ruling issued on Monday, the court denounced Ms Tallen’s disrespectful remarks against the judiciary in relation to a decision made by the Federal High Court in Adamawa State last year.

The Federal High Court in Yola, Adamawa State’s capital, threw out Aishatu Dahiru, also known as Binani, as the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate in the 2016 general election.

But Ms Tallen was dissatisfied with the court verdict; describing it as a “Kangaroo judgement,” urging Nigerians to reject it.

The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) president Yakubu Maikyau, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), had demanded an apology from Ms Tallen over her comments, threatening to sue.
The then-minister did not budge, triggering a suit at the FCT High Court by the NBA.


Delivering judgement on the case on Monday, the court described Ms Tallen’s statement as “unconstitutional, careless, reckless, disparaging.”

The court said the ex-minister’s call to disobey the judgement of the court was “contemptuous of the Federal High Court of Nigeria.”

Akorede Lawal, the national publicity secretary of the NBA, shared details of the court judgement with PREMIUM TIMES on Monday.

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However, the court gave Ms Tallen an option of escaping the consequences of her reckless comments if she apologised in two national dailies within 30 days from the date of its judgement.

“The court also granted among other reliefs an injunction restraining Dame Pauline Tallen (the Defendant) 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.

“The Court ordered 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,” the statement said.


The APC governorship flagbearer, Binani, had polled 430 votes to defeat her closest rival, Nuhu Ribadu, who polled 288, during the party’s primary elections in Yola in May 2022.

But Mr Ribadu, now National Security Adviser (NSA) to President Bola Tinubu, filed a suit challenging the outcome of the contest.

Deciding Mr Ribadu’s suit, the judge, Abdulaziz Anka, nullified Binani’s victory on account of non-compliance with the Electoral Act 2022, Nigeria’s constitution, and the APC’s guidelines.

In her reaction to the judgement, Ms Tallen, a stalwart of the APC and former deputy governor of Plateau State, said at a public function in Abuja a year ago that the ruling represented the marginalisation of women in Nigerian politics.

Binani was the only female aspirant in the Adamawa APC governorship primary race. The former minister alleged that women were not fairly treated during the conduct of the political parties’ primaries for the 2023 general elections.

The NBA President sought an apology from the former minister to no avail.

“By a letter dated 14 November, 2022, the NBA President, Mr. Yakubu Chonoko Maikyau 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,” the association recalled in its victory statement on Monday.


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