Trouble For Malami As Court Grants Ex-gov Attah’s N1.5b Suit


A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has granted to hear a N1.5 billion defamation suit brought against Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) Abubakar Malami by a former governor of Akwa Ibom, Victor Attah.

Justice Emeka Nwite, in a ruling, dismissed the preliminary objection raised by the AGF Malami challenging the court’s jurisdiction to hear the case.

Attah, through his lawyer, Dr. Reuben Atabo, SAN, had sued the AGF as the sole defendant in the case.

Delivering the verdict, Justice Nwite upheld the argument by the plaintiff’s lawyer, Atabo, that the case is within the court’s jurisdictional competence as provided in Section 251 of the constitution.

Nwite held that the suit was informed by the action of the AGF, “which emanated from the administrative action and decision of the Federal Government to retry the plaintiff for a crime which he was earlier charged, tried, discharged, and acquitted.”

The case was in respect of money laundry, conspiracy, and abuse of office and in relation to which the AGF granted an interview that was published in national dailies, prompting the suit.

“In the light of the above, I must say that the argument of the learned counsel to the defendant/applicant (the AGF) is misconceived,” the judge said.

“The main crux of the matter is not one pertaining to tort only; rather, it is one seeking declaratory reliefs as well as to stop the prosecution of the plaintiff for the second time.

“The authority relied on by the learned counsel to the defendant/applicant is of no moment as it is distinguishable from the instant case.

“In the light of the above, I am of the humble opinion that Section 251(1)(r) is applicable in this case and has vested this honourable court with the jurisdiction to hear and determine the instant suit.

“The application of the defendant is hereby dismissed.”

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