A High Court sitting in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja, on Monday, fixed October 24 for ruling on the suit filed before it by the Buhari Campaign Organisation (BCO) seeking N40 million damages from the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, for alleged libelous claims against President Muhammadu Buhari.
In the suit filed on January 22, 2019, BCO told the court that Atiku had defamed President Buhari by claiming that the President and members of his family own substantial shares in telecoms giant, 9mobile and Keystone Bank respectively.
In its witness statement on oath made by its Director of Communication and Strategic Planning, Mallam Gidado Ibrahim, the BCO stated that Atiku and his media aide allegedly engaged in smear campaign of calumny against Buhari by willfully allowing and sponsoring the said defamatory and image-damaging statements to be published by some newspapers for public consumption.
The president’s support group is 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)”.
The organisation also joined Buhari as 1st defendant in the suit.
The BCO is 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 also sought 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”.
But in a counter-motion, Atiku asked the court to strike out the suit, even as he sought for an order compelling President Buhari to pay him damages in the sum of N200 billion.
Atiku’s demands are contained in his counter-claim in response to the N40 million libel suit the BCO slammed against him over an allegation that he defamed Buhari and his family.
In the 53 paragraph counter-claim signed by Chukwuma-Machukwu Ume (SAN) and 11 other lawyers, Atiku is also claiming a total of N200 billion for killings in the country by insurgents, heightened tension and democratic instability in the country, in addition to lopsided appointment in the country.