Law News
Obasanjo begs court to lift order on autobiography
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Monday urged a Federal Capital Territory High Court in Apo, Abuja, to set aside its order directing security operatives to confiscate his autobiography, ‘My Watch’, about three months ago.
‎Before Justice Valentine Ashi made the order on December 10, 2014,  the court had earlier  on December 5, 2014, restrained Obasanjo from going ahead with the publication of the book pending the determination of the N20bn libel suit instituted against him by a member of the Peoples Democratic Party in Ogun State, Buruji Kashamu‎.
‎But Obasanjo went ahead to present the book to the public on December 9, 2014 in Lagos, a development which made the judge to hold the former president in contempt of court and ordered security agencies to confiscate the books anywhere they were found in the country.
Meanwhile, on Monday, Obasanjo, through his lawyer, Kanu Agabi (SAN), urged Justice Ashi to set aside the December 10, 2014 order,  promising the court that would no longer pursue the appeal against the court order.
“The appeal has not been entered. As long as the appeal has not been entered, we are not before the Court of Appeal, we are before Your Lordship,” Agabi said when Justice Ashi insisted that a notice of discontinuance ‎of the appeal ought to have been filed before asking for the court’s order to be set aside.
“It will be ridiculous to ask me to do what the Court of Appeal is asked to do,” the judge had said.
But Agabi urged the court t‎o set aside the order as it was wrongly made.
He said, “The single ground of this application is that in a case of libel, an interlocutory injunction does not lie to restrain publication in the face of a defendant pleading justification.
“The defendant (Obasanjo) is pleading justification. In paragraph 24 of our counter-affidavit, the defendant said his claim about the plaintiff is correct, true and justified from records available in the federal court of the United States.”
He said the court had “issued without jurisdiction,” adding, “The moment an interlocutory is granted, the issue is prejudiced, fair hearing is prejudiced.”
He also argued that the court could only validly bar publication in a libel suit after the case of libel was proven against the defendant.
But Kashamu’s counsel, Mr. Alex Izinyon II, urged the court to dismiss Obasanjo’s application, seeking to set aside the December 10, 2014 order.
He said the order, having been enforced by being served on the police, Nigeria Custom Service and other security agencies, the application had lost relevance.
He told the court that Customs authorities had recently requested a copy of the order when its men intercepted a container-load of the book.
The judge adjourned till March 30 for ruling on Obasanjo’s application.
Click here to read from source.

You must be logged in to post a comment.