- asks for another N100m for malicious and reckless publication made against his name
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has indicated that he will not appear before a Federal Capital Territory High Court to defend a libel suit filed against him by a leader of the Peoples Democratic Party in Ogun State, Mr. Buruji Kashamu.
Kashamu had filed the suit asking the court to award N20bn as aggravated and exemplary damages and another N100m against Obasanjo for “maliciously and recklessly” publishing a letter titled ‘Before it is too late’ addressed to President Goodluck Jonathan.
The PDP chief claimed that the words used by Obasanjo to describe him in the said letter which were published in print and electronic media, portrayed him “as a criminal wanted for drugs related offences in the United States of America and the United Kingdom.”
But Obasanjo’s lawyer, Mr. Gboyega Oyewole, told Justice Justice Valentine Ashi on Tuesday that a former National Auditor of the PDP, Bode Mustapha, would testify on behalf of the former president.
Oyewole did not give any reason why Obasanjo would not personally defend himself.
But he told the court that Mustapha was the only witness that would testify on behalf of the former president.
The proposed witness was in court on Tuesday.
At the Tuesday’s proceedings, Oyewole informed the court that he had filed an application seeking an order expunging some “scandalous and vexatious” claims against Obasanjo from the plaintiff’s reply to his clients statement of defence.
But he later withdrew the application after the plaintiff’s lawyer, Mr. Alex Izinyon (SAN) filed a counter-affidavit to the application contending that it would amount to the court prejudging the case if the application was to be taken before substantive suit.
In his writ of summons filed on his behalf, Kashamu said the criminal imputation made against him by Obasanjo had injured him.
Specifically, the plaintiff claims against the defendant as follows: “A declaration that the words complained of and published by the plaintiff against the defendant in a letter titled, ‘Before it is too late’, addressed to Dr. Goodluck E. Jonathan and dated December 2, 2013, which inter-alia carried criminal imputation against the plaintiff and published in several newspapers on December 12 is defamatory of the person of the plaintiff.
“An order awarding the sum of N20bn only to the plaintiff against the defendants as aggravated and exemplary damages against the defendant for libel falsely and maliciously published by the defendant against the plaintiff in the said letter.
“An order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendant, his agents, servants or privies from publishing or further publishing or cause to be published any defamatory words against the plaintiff to any person or persons; and the sum of N100m as cost of this action.”
The matter was adjourned till July 28 and 29 for hearing.