Former Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs. Pauline Tallen, has taken her case to the Court of Appeal in Abuja, seeking to overturn the judgment of an FCT High Court that barred her from holding public office.
Justice Peter Kekemeke of the FCT High Court had ruled on December 18, 2023, in a case brought by the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) over Tallen’s alleged “disparaging” comments against a previous court judgment.
The judgment offered Tallen an option of publishing a personally signed apology letter to the NBA, the judiciary, and Nigerians in two national dailies within 30 days, or face a perpetual bar from holding public office.
In her appeal filed on January 2, 2024, Tallen, through her lawyer JK Gadzama SAN, presented 13 grounds challenging the trial court’s decision. She argued that the ruling amounted to a miscarriage of justice and urged the Court of Appeal to dismiss the suit and set aside the lower court’s decision.
Tallen emphasized that the trial court erred in law, particularly in its decision against her preliminary objection on the competence of the respondent’s affidavit, locus standi, and propriety of the suit. She asserted that the court’s ruling failed to consider credible evidence presented, contributing to the miscarriage of justice.
The FCT High Court, in its earlier judgment, had characterized Tallen’s alleged comments as “unconstitutional, careless, reckless, disparaging” and deemed her call to disobey the court’s judgment as “contemptuous of the Federal High Court of Nigeria.”
Tallen’s legal battle with the NBA stemmed from her reaction to the nullification of Sen Aisha Dahiru (Binani)’s victory in the Adamawa APC governorship primary. Tallen, then serving as the Minister of Women Affairs, criticized the court’s decision at a public function, describing it as a “Kangaroo judgment” aimed at marginalizing women in Nigerian politics.
The NBA, led by its then President, Yakubu Maikyau, SAN, demanded an apology from Tallen, which she did not comply with, leading to the legal proceedings.
The outcome of Tallen’s appeal will be closely watched as it unfolds in the Court of Appeal.