✕ CLOSE Online Special City News Entrepreneurship Environment Factcheck Everything Woman Home Front Islamic Forum Life Xtra Property Travel & Leisure Viewpoint Vox Pop Women In Business Art and Ideas Bookshelf Labour Law Letters
Click Here To Listen To Trust Radio Live
SPONSOR AD

Court refuses Obasanjo’s bid to relist N1bn suit against columnist

A Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court has refused the application by former President Olusegun Obasanjo to relist a defamation suit against Punch Newspaper and…

A Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court has refused the application by former President Olusegun Obasanjo to relist a defamation suit against Punch Newspaper and columnist Sonala Olumhense.

The matter was in 2023 dismissed after Obasanjo’s counsel, Emmanuel Bisong Otinyia, Esq, applied for the discontinuance and sought for it to be struck out, but the former president averred that the application was made without his authorisation.

Justice Modupe Osho-Adebiyi, in a recent ruling, held that the court must decline its discretion to relist the suit, adding that it was dismissed and not struck out, which meant it could not be relisted before the court.

“At this stage, the claimant cannot be allowed to escape through the back door only to re-enter by way of another action. A notice of discontinuance that is filed at the close of pleadings and when the matter has been fixed for hearing or is part-heard, is invalid,” she said.

“As rightly submitted by the defendants’ counsel there is nothing before this court to show that the notice of discontinuance was done without the consent of either the claimant or the principal in chambers. The law is that a client is bound by any decision taken by his counsel in a case, having filed the said notice of discontinuance, it is bound to be the act of the claimant and this court having dismissed same on the instruction of claimant’s counsel will therefore not exercise its discretion in favor of the Applicant.”

Obasanjo had filed a defamation suit demanding the sum of N1 billion in damages against the newspaper in 2019 following an article which questioned his account of Nigerian history.

While delivering the ruling on October 19, 2023, the judge also awarded the sum of N4 million as costs to Punch and Olumhese.

This followed the application for discontinuance by Obasanjo’s counsel to which counsel to Punch and Olumhense, R.O. Adakole and Sam Ogala Esq respectively demanded the payment of N3 million in costs for the travels and filing of processes and for the matter to be dismissed.

The judge ruled that the proper order to make is for the dismissal and this suit and awarded the costs of N4 million.