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Alleged defamation: Court reserves ruling between tabloid and gov’s aide in kwara

The Kwara State Revenue Court 1, sitting in Ilorin, has fixed April 15, 2024, for ruling in a direct criminal complaint case filed against National…

The Kwara State Revenue Court 1, sitting in Ilorin, has fixed April 15, 2024, for ruling in a direct criminal complaint case filed against National Pilot newspaper based in Ilọrin.

The Special Assistant to Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq on New Media, Olayinka Fafoluyi, instituted the case against the Managing Director of the Medium, Alhaji Billy Adedamola and a reporter, Ahmed Ajikobi.

The paper asked the court to strike out the case for lack of jurisdiction and locus standi by the complainant.

Fafoluyi was represented by Barrister Ibrahim.

The accused were arraigned before the court in February 2024 over alleged “Offences of Criminal Conspiracy, Inciting Public Disturbance, Injurious Falsehood, Criminal Defamation and Cyber Stalking.

The alleged offences contravened sections 97, 114, 393 and 392 of Penal Code and Section 27 and 24 of Cyber Crimes (Prohibition and Prevention ETC) Act 2015 “.

The Governor’s aide had referred to the paper’s online publications of May 15 and October 16, 2023, as injurious to the governor of Kwara State, Mallam AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq and his family.

At the resumed hearing, counsel to the 1st respondents, Mohammed Abdullahi, argued that the direct complaint was civil in nature by its contents and filed without due process adding that the court lacks jurisdiction to entertain it.

He told the court that paragraph 4.14 of the complainant counter affidavit was “injurious to his case but supported our application,”.

On his part, counsel to the second defendant (Ajikobi), Michael Owonishola, who had earlier adopted the submission of his colleague added paragraph 4.3 of the counter affidavit by the complainant was “misleading” as the case was not brought under the relevant provisions of the law.

Earlier, the court rejected the submission of counsel to the second defendant, Michael Owonishola, to strike out the case over the absence of the complainant.

“If the complainant is not here, his counsel is here. I don’t see any reason why I should strike out the case because of that at this stage”, she submitted.

Following submissions by both counsels, trial judge, Shade Lawal adjourned to April 15, 2024, to rule on whether the court has jurisdiction to entertain the matter.

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