Jude Okeke, a judge of the federal high court, Abuja on Tuesday ordered the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to pay N180 million to Samuel Okutepa, a senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), being his professional fee.
Okeke, who delivered judgment in a suit filed by Okutepa against the PDP, said Okutepa deserved to be paid the money for handling the cases for the party.
“The defendant is directed to pay the claimant N180 million being the earned professional fee for defending and prosecuting their cases listed out in the applicant’s statements of claims,” the judge held.
The court also ordered PDP to pay N50,000 to Okutepa for successfully handling the cases.
The judge held that it was not right for the PDP not to pay for the work they knew was well handled by the plaintiff.
He said the defendant claimed that they did not give him job to do, as no legal agreement was signed by the parties.
The judge said in the records before the court, the applicant was given the brief by Gabriel Suswam, former governor of Benue, and the attorney-general of Benue.
He added that the constitution of PDP recognised a state governor as a high officer who can give instructions on behalf of the party.
“The instructions given to the applicant to handle the matter is binding on the PDP. “The defendant was aware that the applicant conducted the cases and never questioned the instructions of the governor,” he said.
“The defendant kept quiet and benefited from his services, permitted and encouraged him to labour only to claim that a legal contract was not signed.
“The defendant is not in denial that the applicant did not handle the cases, but they claimed they did not engage him.”
Some of the cases handled by Okutepa were: Terver Kakih vs PDP and three others, three cases at the court of appeal and supreme court, among others.