26 March 2019

Nigeria: Lawyer Sues Minister Over 'False Claims' Against Onnoghen

An Abuja based lawyer, Johnmary Jideobi, has filed a suit against the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, over an alleged 'false' claim he made on the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Walter Onnoghen, that he ran a suspicious transaction running into dollars.

The suit, which was filed by the plaintiff has Mr Mohammed as the defendant.

According to Mr Jideobi in the suit, the minister made reckless statements.

"I know as a fact that the Defendant was extremely reckless in levying an accusation of gargantuan magnitude against the country's highest judicial office and had no reason to believe in the truth of his assertion of traces of suspicious transactions running into millions of dollars to the suspended CJN's personal accounts.

"I know as a fact that obvious lies the Defendant peddled against the Honourable Justice Onnoghen Nkanu Walter Samuel was aimed to destroy him thereby making a caricature of the country's highest judicial office and turning the entire Judiciary of a nation into a laughing stock," Mr Jideobi added.

The plaintiff wants the court to determine the following:

"Whether or not upon a dispassionate reading and complete understanding of Rule 1 of the Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners 2007 [enacted by the General Bar Council pursuant to the Legal Practitioners Act] vis-à-vis the affidavit of the Plaintiff, the Defendant has failed to maintain a high standard of professional conduct and engaged in conducts unbecoming of a legal practitioner.

"Whether or not upon a dispassionate reading and complete understanding of Rule 1 of the Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners 2007 [enacted by the General Bar Council pursuant to the Legal Practitioners Act] vis-à-vis the affidavit of the Plaintiff this is not a deserving case for this Honourable Court to refer the Defendant to the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee for disciplinary action?

"Upon the determination of the above question, the plaintiff is, therefore, seeking a court declaration, that upon a dispassionate reading and complete understanding of Rule 1 of the Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners 2007 [enacted by the General Bar Council pursuant to the Legal Practitioners Act] vis-à-vis the affidavit of the Plaintiff, the Defendant has failed to maintain a high standard of professional conduct and engaged in conducts unbecoming of a legal practitioner.

"A declaration of this Honourable Court that upon a dispassionate reading and complete understanding of Rule 1 of the Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners 2007 [enacted by the General Bar Council pursuant to the Legal Practitioners Act] vis-à-vis the affidavit of the Plaintiff this is a deserving case for this Honourable Court to refer the Defendant to the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee for disciplinary action."

Consequent upon this, Mr Jideobi is seeking an order of court "committing the Defendant forthwith to the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee [LPDC] for proper disciplinary action".

He also seeks a public apology from Mr Mohammed.

"An order of this Honourable Court commanding the defendant to write a letter of apology and address same to the Body of Bencher reversing himself on the false allegation he laid against the Honourable Justice Onnoghen Walter Samuel and cause same to be published on two National Dailies within Seven (7) days from the date of the delivery of judgment herein and consequently file [at the Registry of this Court] an affidavit of compliance with the said publication attached."

Nigeria

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