31 January 2013

Nigeria: Court Dismisses Ex-Minister's Libel Suit Against Ribadu

Justice Olasumbo Goodluck of an Abuja High Court has dismissed a N2 billion libel suit instituted by a former minister under late General Sani Abacha's regime, Mr. Bashir Dalhatu, against the former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Nuhu Ribadu and DAAR Communications Plc, operator of the Africa Independent Television (AIT).

The judge dismissed the suit on the premise that it lacked of merit.

Dalhatu had through is lawyer, Mr. Yunus Usman (SAN), sued Ribadu and DAAR Communications for allegedly making libelous statement against him, while addressing the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) on November 2006.

According to him, the statement was aired on AIT.

In her judgment, Justice Goodluck upheld the submissions of counsel to Ribadu, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), who had contended that the plaintiff failed to prove that he was defamed by the statement credited to his client.

The judge held that Dalhatu was not defamed having regard to the facts and circumstances of the case.

Specifically, the court found that the allegation that Dalhatu duped his client was not challenged because evidence was led to show that even though he collected $15 million from the Federal Government on behalf of his foreign client, he only remitted $6.5 million while the remaining sum of $8.5 million was not accounted for.

The ex-minister had asked the court to order the defendants to write and publish a written apology to him published in some national newspapers including The Daily Trust, THISDAY and Leadership along with a broadcast of same in the 2nd defendant's television which must be carried for seven consecutive days in all its news broadcast.

He also sought for an order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants from further making or publishing defamatory statements against him.

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