Lagos-based lawyer Festus Ogun criticized Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s decision to authorize a payment of N200 million to four law firms for their defense in a lawsuit filed by the Peoples Democratic Party against the Independent National Electoral Commission and 42 others.
As per a document published on the website of the Lagos State Public Procurement Agency titled ‘Letter Of Award Registered For January 2023,’ viewed by a correspondent, each of the four designated law firms—Ahmed Raji & Co, Akinboro & Co, Babatunde Ogala & Co, and Messrs Femi Okunnu & Co—received N50 million.
The award, issued under the Lagos State Ministry of Justice, was specified as “Instruction to Represent and Defend Mr. Sanwo-Olu Babajide Olusola in Suit No: FHC/CS/1979/2022 – PDP vs INEC & 42 ors.”
Expressing his views on Sunday, Ogun remarked that although the lawyers deserved their payment, using taxpayers’ money for this purpose was unacceptable.
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.”
Attempts to contact the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Gboyega Akosile, for a response were unsuccessful. Calls made to his telephone went unanswered, and a text message sent to him remained unanswered as of the time of filing this report.