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Supreme court accuses Buhari of using public funds for a private matter

Valentine Chinyem

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The supreme court on Monday accused President Muhammadu Buhari of using Abdullahi Abubakar, a senior counsel at the ministry of justice, for his private matter.

The lawyer appeared on the president’s behalf in a suit filed over his academic qualification, by Kalu Kalu Agu, Labaran Ismail, Hassy Jyari El-Kunis.

They accused Buhari of lying under oath in a form he submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the 2019 election.

The appellate court had dismissed the suit saying it was statute-barred but the trio appealed.

At the apex court on Monday, a five-man panel of judges led by Mary Odili asked the lawyer if the president was sued as a private citizen or as president.

The government lawyer said the president was being sued as a private citizen.

“Mr Buhari was sued as a private citizen,” Abubakar said.

In response to the lawyer, Odili said: “It is inappropriate, the representation of Mr Buhari by the senior state counsel of the ministry of justice in his personal capacity and not as Nigerian president.”

Odili said ex-US President Bill Clinton “sponsored his own litigation personally, without involving the ministry of justice.”

The court faulted the use of taxpayers money to work on private litigation, describing it as a contravention of the provisions of the code of conduct for public officers.