Festus Ogun, a lawyer based in Lagos, has criticized Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu for authorizing a payment of N200m to four law firms that defended him in a lawsuit brought by the Peoples Democratic Party against the Independent National Electoral Commission and 42 others.
According to a document published on the website of the Lagos State Public Procurement Agency, which was titled ‘Letter Of Award Registered For January 2023’, each of the four law firms was awarded N50m as contractors.
The firms involved are Ahmed Raji & Co, Akinboro & Co, Babatunde Ogala & Co, and Messrs Femi Okunnu & Co.The award, issued under the Lagos State Ministry of Justice, was described as an “Instruction to Represent and Defend Mr. Sanwo-Olu Babajide Olusola in Suit No: FHC/CS/1979/2022 – PDP vs INEC & 42 ors.”
Expressing his opinion on the matter, Ogun stated on Sunday that it was not acceptable to pay the lawyers with taxpayers’ money, although he acknowledged that the lawyers deserved to be compensated.
The human rights lawyer said, “Lawyers have to be paid. My concern is not about how much they paid them or why they should be paid. My concern is not even about the lawyers. This suit was instituted against Sanwo-Olu as a person, not in connection with any of his roles as a governor. So if the lawyers are to be paid, they ought to be paid from his (Sanwo-Olu’s) purse or any other purse but not from the treasury of Lagos State.”
The lawyer insisted that “it is an abuse and unconstitutional.
Sanwo-Olu paid lawyers that defended him at the Election Petition Tribunal with taxpayers money from the treasury of Lagos State. All my life, I have never seen this kind of callous and mindless abuse. Totally unacceptable. pic.twitter.com/UMIV3ZVejL
— FESTUS OGUN (@mrfestusogun) November 19, 2023