A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory will today resume hearing in the suit filed against former vice president and presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, seeking N40million damages for alleged libel against President Muhammadu Buhari and his family.
In the suit filed on January 22, 2019 by the 2nd plaintiff, Mallam Gidado Ibrahim, the plaintiffs are praying the court to order Atiku to pay N40million for libel for alleged libelous claims published on December 27, 2018 to the effect that President Buhari and members of his family own substantial shares in telecoms giant, 9mobile, and Keystone Bank respectively.
Joined in the suit as the 1st plaintiff is President Buhari himself.
On the last adjourned date, the judge, Justice Binta Mohammed, had asked the plaintiffs to file and serve their amended writ of summons and statement of claim within seven days from the date of the ruling, even as she asked the defendants, Atiku and his campaign spokesman, Phrank Shaibu to file and serve their amended statement of defence, if any, within 14 days.
In their witness statement on oath made by Gidado Ibrahim, the plaintiffs told the court that Atiku and his media aide allegedly engaged in smear campaign of calumny against Buhari by willfully allowing and sponsoring the said purported defamatory and image-damaging statements to be published by some newspapers to members of the public.
They plaintiffs are praying the court for a declaration that “the 1st Defendant (Phrank Shaibu) on behalf and for the 2nd Defendant (Atiku) neglectfully, unlawfully and recklessly permitted and caused to be published in Newspapers defamatory and damaging statements against the 1st Plaintiff (President Buhari)”.
They are also seeking the court to order “specific Damages against the Defendants jointly and severally in the sum of (N30,000,000.00) Thirty Million Naira as the total sum above listed as financial loss the Plaintiffs incurred due to the wrongful, neglectful and fraudulent acts of the Defendants which forced the Plaintiffs to spend to correct the wrong impression created in the minds of the members of the public due to the publication caused and published by the Defendants.
The plaintiffs are also asking for “general damages in the sum of (N10,000,000,00) Ten Million Naira only jointly and severally against the Defendants for the embarrassment, pain and unnecessary financial loss suffered by the Plaintiffs most particularly the 1st Plaintiff who is a public figure, an honourable presidential candidate and reputable gentleman to the core”.