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N200 million legal fees for Governor Sanwo-Olu: Law firm threatens to sue Rhodes-Vivour

Messrs Femi Okunno & Co, one of the law firms accused of allegedly benefiting from N200 million paid by the Lagos State Government as legal fees for defending Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu at the post-election tribunal has threatened to sue the publisher of the allegation, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour.

The law firm asked Rhodes-Vivour, who was the governorship candidate of the Labour Party in the March 2023 Lagos gubernatorial election, to issue a public notice withdrawing the allegation and tender an apology through the social media or face legal action.

This was made known in a statement titled, ‘Re: Lagos state tax payers funding Sanwo-Olu’s legal fees and party activities – An unfounded allegation from a lazy and corrupt mind’ issued by Lateef Olufemi Okunnu of the law firm, where he described the allegation as sinister and malicious.

Okunnu said the law firm was neither briefed to handle the election petition for the Lagos State Government nor any N50 million payment from the state to defend any election petition filed against Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

Allegation from a lazy and corrupt mind

The law firm said that it still considers it fit to categorically state its position despite the statement and denounciation of the same allegation by the Lagos State Government.

The statement reads,

  • ‘’The attention of the law firm of Messrs Femi Okunnu & Co has been drawn to a recent publication on social media with the above caption. In it, the publisher alleged that public funds were used by the Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, to pay for legal services rendered by a number of law firms in defence of petitions filed against his election in 2023. Among the law firms against which such sinister and corrupt allegations was made is our law firm, Messrs Femi Okunnu & Co, to which it was alleged that the sum of N50,000,000 was paid.
  • ’We consider it pertinent to notify the general public that this allegation is not only sinister must have arisen from a lazy and corrupt mind that is incapable of scrutinizes its nightmare critically before concluding that they derived from factual realities. It is incontrovertible that the law firm of Femi Okunnu & Co was not never briefed to handle the election petition in Lagos State and nether did it handle any.
  • ’We also assert that the law firm of Femi Okunnu & Co did not receive the sum of N50,000,000 or any sum whatsoever from the Lagos State Government or any other person or organization to defend any election petition filed against Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State. The firm is aware that the Lagos State Government has equally denounced same allegation but of dignity, the firm still considers it fit to categorically state its position as above.
  • ‘’It is therefore, malicious for anyone in his right senses to wake up on any side of his delusional bed and make such a wild and unfounded allegation. We use this medium to inform the publisher of this infantile allegation to issue a public notice withdrawing the allegation and tendering apology via the same social media to our law firm otherwise we shall not hesitate to seek redress in the law court.’’

In case you missed it

  • Recall that that some days ago Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour had accused the Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his deputy, Obafemi Hamzat, of misappropriation of state funds to finance personal legal fees.
  • Sharing on his official X (formerly Twitter) handle, Rhodes-Vivour alleged that the governor paid the sum of N200 million to 4 different chambers for his election case in the court of appeal.
  • He listed the law firms that benefited from the funds to include Ahmed and Co, Akinboro and Co, Babatunde Ogala and Co and MESSRS. Femi Okunu and Co.
  • He therefore accused the governor of undue advantage and mismanagement of state resources for personal expenses.
  • He said, “We took Mr Sanwolu, Mr Hamzat, APC, and INEC to court. We did not take the Lagos state government to court. Why should the state fund his legal fees? Why should citizens’ taxes be used to pay for his representation?
  • ‘’This is why they are always quick to say, “Go to court” because they are so irresponsible and cheap, to not even pick up their legal bills.’’

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