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Court Nullifies Suit Against Obasanjo’s Book
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo

Court Nullifies Suit Against Obasanjo’s Book

Justice Valentine Ashi of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Apo, has vacated his orders restraining ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo from, among others, publishing, printing or offering for sale, his autobiography: My Watch.
The judge, in a ruling on Tuesday, upheld the argument by Obasanjo’s lawyer, Kanu Agabi (SAN) that the court was misled into granting the orders given on December 5 and 10, 2014.
Justice Ashi vacated the orders on the grounds that the applicant, Buruji Kashamu, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) suppressed facts from the court to obtain the orders.
The court, on December 5, restrained Obasanjo from publishing his book in the country pending the determination of a libel suit brought against him by Kashamu.
On December 10, Kashamu complained that Obasanjo breached an earlier order of the court on December 5 restraining the ex-president from launching the book.
Kashamu, who sued Obasanjo for libel in relation to claims in a letter to President Goodluck Jonathan that he (Kashamu) was a fugitive wanted in the United States, had moved the court to grant the restraining order of December 5 on the grounds that the subject of the libel suit was contained in the book.
Despite the order of December 5, Obasanjo launched the book on December 9 in Lagos, a development that prompted the court to make the orders of December 10.
On March 23, Agabi, while arguing Obasanjo’s application seeking to vacate the orders, argued that the court wrongly applied the law in reaching its decision.
Agabi, who served as Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) under President Obasanjo, argued that it was wrong for the court to grant a restraining injunction against a party in a libel case, who pleaded justification.
He contended that the court should have first determined whether or not the publication complained about was libellous before restraining Obasanjo from engaging in further publication.
Agabi, who cited some authorities in support of his argument, contended that “the point at which he can be restrained is when he is unable to prove his plea of justification.”
He said his client was willing to abandon the appeal he filed against the court’s decision to enable the court decide his application.
The ex-AGF also asked the court to set aside its order directing the Inspector General of Police (IG), Director General of the Department of State Services (DSS) and Comptroller General of Customs (CGC) to recover the published book from all book stands, sales agents, vendors, the sea and airports and deposit them with his court’s registrar pending the determination of the substantive suit.
Justice Ashi upheld Agabi’s argument and set aside all orders made against the publication and circulation of Obasanjo’s book.
He also restrained the CGC from charging demurrage on copies of the book already confiscated.
The judge adjourned to May 25 further hearing on the substantive libel suit.

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