Godwin Tsa Abuja
The Abuja division of the Federal High Court has fixed September 30, 2020 to hear the N2 billion libel suit against Sahara Reporters and it’s publisher, Mr. Omoyele Sowore.
In the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/816/2020 the plaintiff, caseween Global Integrity Crusade Network (GICN) told the court in it’s originating process that the respondents defamed the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), through it’s publication.
Meanwhile, the case has been assigned to Justice Taiwo Taiwo for adjudication and parties are expected to file and serve relevant processes in the matter before the adjourned date.
Also joined as respondents in the fundamental rights enforcement suit are Kabir Akingbolu, Sahara Reporters Inc., and Vanguard Media Limited as 2nd to 4th respondents.
In the suit filed by Barrister Edward Omaha and Barrister Aham Akano, the group prayed the court to declare “that the publications by the 1st and 2nd respondents using the platforms of the 3rd and 4th respondents on 10th, 11th,12th, 13th, 14th and 18th July, 2020 with the captions: ‘Nigeria’s Attorney-General, Malachi, buys multi-million naira mansion for newly married son, guests flout social distancing guidelines during lavish wedding ceremony,’
‘Exposed: How AGF Malami granted approval to firm standing trial in court for stealing crude oil, diesel to auction goofs seized from it,’ among other publications are traumatic, damaging and defamatory to Alhajl Abubakar Malaml, SAN, and therefore tantamount to violation of his fundamental rights to dignty of human person, private and family life as well as Integrity.
This, they said, are enshrined In Sections 34 and 37 of the 1999 Constitutiin on of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) and Articles 4 and 5 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (Ratificatlon and Enforcement) Act Cap A9, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria “ A declaration that the 1st and 2nd respondents by consistently peddling propaganda, fake news and blackmail against Alhajl Abubakar Malaml, using the platforms of the 3rd and 4th respondents vlde their websites: www.saharareporters.com, www.vanguardngr.com and other electronic means such as Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Facebook are out to incite the general public against Alhajl Abubakar Malami, SAN as well as injure his character and lower his estimation in the eyes of nght-thinking persons in the society.”
The group, through its lawyer, Omaga and Akano, urged the court to order a retraction of the libelous publications, tender an apology and award a sum of N2 billion to be severally paid by all respondents to Malami.