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Case Abandoned – Court Strikes Out Buhari’s Suit Against Pdp, Nta, Ait, Igp, Others

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BEVERLY HILLS, December 07, (THEWILL) – Justice John Tsoho of the Federal High Court, Abuja, has struck out a N50billion suit by President Muhammadu Buhari against DAAR Communication Plc – owner of African Independent Television (AIT), National Television Authority (NTA), National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), the Inspector General of Police (IGP), People's Democratic Party (PDP) and former Director of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan's presidential campaign organisation, Ahmadu Ali.

The suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/267/2015 was filed by the President on March 23, 2015 through a team of lawyers led by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN).

Buhari, in his statement of claim, argued that the documentary titled: 'The Real Buhari,' aired on NTA and AIT during the last presidential campaign, amounted to hate speech, which contravened Section 95(1) of the Electoral Act, 2010.

He stated that the 'hate' broadcast by the media houses contained fabricated and concocted facts about the purported past of the 1st plaintiff (Buhari), meant to mislead the electorate for the benefit of then President Jonathan, then Vice President, Namadi Sambo and the PDP.

Buhari sought among others, a declaration that the publication and airing of the documentary breached Section 95 (1) of the Electoral Act 2010 and Section 2(g) – (n) of the NBC Act 2010 and urged the court to award N50b in exemplary and aggravated damages against the defendants, and in his favour.

He equally sought an order directing the 1st, 2nd, 5th and 6th defendants (Daar Communication, NTA, PDP and Ali to publish 'unreserved apologies' in the Economist of London, the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Cable News Network (CNN), among others.

However, when the case was mentioned Wednesday , no lawyer announced appearance for any of the parties.

“It (the case) is deemed abandoned. And it is hereby struck out,” Justice Tsoho ruled noting that the case was filed on March 23, 2015, but that the plaintiffs failed to take any follow-up steps.

Story by Oputah David