Court Strikes Out Buhari’s N50b Suit Against NTA, IGP, Ali, Others

A Federal High Court in Abuja has struck out a N50billion suit by President Muhammadu Buhari against two media houses, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), former Director of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan’s presidential campaign organisation, Ahmadu Ali, among others.

The suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/267/2015 was filed by the President on March 23, 2015 through a team of lawyers led by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN).

The suit sought to among others, prohibit the defendants from further airing and publishing an offensive documentary produced by then President Jonathan’s campaign organisation, which portrayed Buhari and his party – All Progressives Congress (APC) in bad light.

Defendants in the suit included DAAR Communication Plc – owner of African Independent Television (AIT), National Television Authority (NTA), National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), IGP, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and Dr. Ahmadu Ali.

Buhari had argued, in his statement of claim that the documentary titled: “The Real Buhari,” aired on NTA and AIT during the last presidential campaign, amounted to hate speech, which contravened Section 95(1) of the Electoral Act, 2010.

He stated that the hate broadcast by Daar Communication (AIT) and NTA, contained fabricated and concocted facts about the purported past of the 1st plaintiff (Buhari), meant to mislead the electorate for the benefit of then President Jonathan, then Vice President, Namadi Sambo and the PDP.

The plaintiffs – Buhari and the APC – sought among others, a declaration that the publication and airing of the documentary breached Section 95 (1) of the Electoral Act 2010 and Section 2(g) – (n) of the NBC Act 2010.

The plaintiffs also urged the court to award N50b in exemplary and aggravated damages against the defendants, and in their (plaintiffs’) favour.

They equally sought an order directing the 1st, 2nd, 5th and 6th defendants (Daar Communication, NTA, PDP and Ali to publish “unreserved apologies” in the Economist of London, the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Cable News Network (CNN), among others.

When the case was mentioned Wednesday, no lawyer announced appearance for any of the parties.

In a brief ruling, Justice John Tsoho noted that the case was filed on March 23, 2015, but that the plaintiffs failed to take any follow-up steps.

“It (the case) is deemed abandoned. And it is hereby struck out,” the judge said.

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