Court restrains Nigeria from publishing the name of opposition chairman on looters list
The Rivers State High Court has restrained Nigerian government and others from further publishing the name of the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Uche Secondus, as one the looters of the nation’s treasury.
Other defendants restrained by the court are the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, and Vintage Press Limited (Publishers of The Nation Newspapers).
The PDP national chairman in suit no. PHC/1013/2018 filed a N1.5 billion suit against the Federal Government, Mohammed, Vintage Press for defamation of his name.
Justice Iyayi-Lamikanra ordered that hearing notice should be served on the defendants who were all absent in court and were not represented by any counsel in court. Afterward issuing the order, the judge then adjourned the case to May 28.
The PDP national chairman in his suit had sought an interlocutory injunction retraining the defendants from further publication of his name as a looter and also restraining them from publication of any other list. The Judge granted the first order sought by Secondus but declined to the second order on grounds that it was “at large.”
Secondus’ counsel, Emeka Etiaba, told journalists outside the court that he was satisfied with the order and expressed optimism that at the end of the matter, Nigerians would know that the Federal Government and its agents lied. According to him, the defendants were absent in court yesterday perhaps they knew that there was no truth in what they published.
“There is no truth in what they published, so I can understand why they are not in court. But by the time the restraining order comes, may be they will take us more seriously. But we have told Nigerians that this is one case of executive recklessness which comes up once in a while but we hope at the end of the day to prove to Nigerians that this is nothing but a gimmick, a ploy to destroy the PDP and its leadership because of the 2019 election coming up” he said.
Etiaba explained his client decided to file the matter at the State High court because matters that relates to libel are within absolute jurisdiction to the state. He said they would proceed to serve the defendants hearing notice just as court processes had earlier been served. According to him, he will serve them through the newspapers as well as deposit same at the office of the attorney general of the federation.