A Federal High Court sitting in the Federal Territory, Abuja, has fixed January 9, 2022 for ruling on the alleged defamatory suit filed on behalf of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) by a civil society group, Incorporated Trustee of Global Integrity Crusade Network, challenging a publication by SaharaReporters.
The group had on July 20, 2020 in a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/816/2020 dragged Sahara Reporters, Vanguard Media Limited and two others before the court demanding N2billion from them over alleged defamatory publications.
SaharaReporters had on August 9 2021 exposed the extravagant lifestyle of the minister in its publications which included multi-million naira mansions in Abuja and a N100million property in Kebbi State for his newly married son, Abdulaziz Malami.
It was also reported that AGF had an underground hotel in Sokoto, three houses at Peace Estate, Abuja, a brand new state-of-the-art school in Kebbi, two houses for his sons worth N100million each, and a new hotel under construction in the Jabi area of Abuja.
Malami also bought a house in 2020 worth N150million in the Gwarimpa area of Abuja.
The group, which joined human rights’ activist, Omoyele Sowore, and Kabiru Akingbolu as co-defendants, asked the court to compel the defendants to jointly and severally pay Malami the sum of N2billion as compensation for the trauma, emotional stress and injury caused the AGF due to the alleged publications.
At the resumed hearing of the case before Justice Obiora Egwuatu on Wednesday, the Counsel to Sowore and SaharaReporters, Abubakar Marshal, asked the court to decline jurisdiction in the matter on the ground that the applicant brought the matter under a faulty foundation.
He also argued that the applicant had no locus standi in the case and described the group (applicant) as meddlesome interloper and busybody adding that it was an abuse of court process.
The trial judge therefore adjourned the matter to January 9, 2022 for ruling.
Recall that in January, the suit suffered a setback due to the absence of the judge handling the matter.
The matter could not hold as scheduled as the trial judge was said to have gone for a seminar.