Court lifts order on Obasanjo's book: My Watch
The High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Apo, on Tuesday vacated its earlier orders restraining ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo from among others, publishing, printing or offering for sale, his autobiography: “My Watch.”
The presiding judge,Justice Valentine Ashi, a ruling on Tuesday, upheld the argument of Obasanjo's lawyer, Kanu Agabi, SAN that the court was misled into granting the orders given on December 5 and 10, 2014.
The judge said that the applicant, Buruji Kashamu, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, suppressed facts from the court to obtain the order.
The court had granted the orders on December 5 last year, wherein it restrained Obansajo from publishing his book in the country pending the determination of a libel suit brought against him by Kashamu.
On December 10, 2014, following complaint by the plaintiff, BurKashamu, to the effect that Obasanjo breached an earlier order of the court made on December 5 restraining the ex-President from launching the book.
Kashamu, who sued Obsanjo for libel in relation to the claims in a letter to President Goodluck Jonathan that he (Kashamu) is a fugitive wanted in the United States, had moved the court to grant the earlier restraining order of December 5 on the ground that the subject of the libel suit was contained in the new book by Obasanjo.
Despite the order of December 5, Obasanjo proceeded to launch the book on December 9 in Lagos, a development that prompted the court to make the orders of December 10.
On March 23, Agabi, while arguing Obasanjo's application with which he sought the vacation of the orders, argued that the court wrongly applied the law in reaching its decision.
Agabi, who served as Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) under President Obasanjo, argued that it was wrong for the court to grant a restraining injunction against a party in a libel case, who pleaded justification.
He contended that the court should have first determined whether or not the publication complained about was libellous before restraining Obasnajo from engaging in further publication.
Agabi, who cited some authorities in support of his argument, contended that “the point at which he can be restrained is when he is unable to prove his plea of justification.”
He said his client was willing to abandon the appeal he filed against the court's decision to enable the trial court decide his application.
He also asked the court to set aside its order directing the Inspector General of Police (IG), the Director General of the Department of State Services (DSS) and the Comptroller General of Customs (CGC) to recover the published book from all book stands, sales agents, vendors, the sea and airports and deposit them with his court's registrar pending the determination of the substantive suit.
Justice Ashi upheld Agabi's argument in his ruling and set asides all orders made against the publication and circulation of Obasanjo's book.
He also restrained the Comptroller General of Customs (CGC) from charging demurrage on copies of the book already confiscated. This Day
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