Law News
Alleged forgery: FG withdraws Jonathan’s suit against LEADERSHIP journalists

The Federal Government has withdrawn the suit against two journalists of LEADERSHIP Newspapers, instituted by the President Goodluck Jonathan administration, alleging forgery of a Presidential Bromide.

The LEADERSHIP Group News Editor, Mr Tony Amokeodo, and the newspaper’s political correspondent, Chibuzor Ukaibe, were arraigned before an Abuja Hogh Court in 2013 for allegedly forging a presidential bromide published in the newspaper on April 3, 2013.

In a letter signed by the Director of Public Prosecution, Muhammad Diri, and addressed to the lawyer for the Federal Government in the matter, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), the government directed the counsel to discontinue the case.

The letter, with reference number FCT/HC/CR/6755/2013, was dated September 23, 2015.

Awomolo had sought, at the last adjourned date, to tender a copy of the letterhead from the Presidency to prove that the one published by the newspaper was forged.

Counsel for the journalists, Mr Femi Falana (SAN), however, raised an objection on the grounds that the document sought to be tendered was from the Office of the Chief of Staff to the President and not from the Office of the President.

Falani argued that the witness, Ibrahim Bako, had stated under oath that he got it from the Office of the President.

Justice Usman Musale agreed with Falana and rejected the document.

The court had summoned former President Goodluck Jonathan to appear and give evidence at the trial.

Justice Musale issued the summons (subpoena ad testificandum), dated July 15, 2013 to the former President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, requesting him to come to court with documents to give evidence in the matter.

Jonathan was to be served with the subpoena through the Federal Ministry of Justice.

The document requested the former President to appear before the court daily until the case was tried, to give evidence and also to produce the purportedly forged document entitled ‘Presidential Directive’ having on it the seal of the Office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, published in LEADERSHIP Newspaper of April 3, 2013.

The Federal Government, through Awomolo, appealed the ruling of the court which summoned Jonathan.

The LEADERSHIP journalists had, on June 27, 2013, been re-arraigned on an alleged 11 criminal counts bordering on conspiracy and forgery.

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