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Kangaroo Judgment: Ex-Minister, Tallen Appeals Court’s Verdict



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A former Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Pauline Tallen, has urged the Court of Appeal in Abuja to set aside the judgment of a Federal Capital Territory High Court asking her to tender an apology to the judiciary for describing a court judgment as a “kangaroo judgment.”

The court had on December 18, 2023, said Tallen risked being barred from holding any public office in Nigeria again if she failed to tender a public apology to be published in The PUNCH and The Guardian newspapers within 30 days of the judgment.

The ex-minister had criticised the court after the Federal High Court in Yola, on October 14, 2022, nullified the candidature of Aishatu Binani, as the governorship candidate of the All Progressive Congress in Adamawa State.

Tallen was said to have described the court verdict in the case as a ‘kangaroo judgment’.

This, however, prompted the Nigerian Bar Association to drag her before the court.

However, dissatisfied with the verdict, Tallen through her lawyer, Joe-Kari Gadzama, in an appeal filed on January 2 and made available to journalists on Thursday, stated that the principal declaratory reliefs sought by the NBA ought not to have been granted by the trial court for lack of credible and admissible evidence.

Citing Marigold v NNPC (2022) LPELR 56858 (SC) and Akinlade v. INEC (2020) 17 NWLR (Pt. 1754), Tallen also said the respondent’s affidavit in support of the Originating Summons was incompetent having been deposed to by a lawyer who participated in the proceedings.

She noted that the NBA lacked the legal standing to take her to court since they were not involved in the case where she commented.

She said, “The respondent was not a Party to suit no. FHC/YL/CS/12/2022 before the Federal High Court which judgment the appellant was credited to have described as a kangaroo Judgment.

“There was nothing before the trial court to justify the holding and conclusion of the learned trial judge that the Respondent has the locus standi or the standing to bring the action.”

She also said the newspaper publications referred to by the trial court cannot prove the truth of the contents of the report.

“The newspaper reports exhibited by the respondent are inadmissible to prove their contents.

“Newspaper reports and or publications express the author or reporter’s opinion or report of an occurrence without a guarantee of its accuracy, ” she said.

She, however, said the Judgment is against the weight of evidence, urging the appellate court to allow the appeal and set aside the trial court’s decision on the preliminary objection M/251/2023 filed on April 19, 2023.

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