Sahara Reporters floors Saraki in Kwara court
A news platform, Sahara Reporters, Tuesday floored Nigeria’s senate president, Bukola Saraki, at a Court of Appeal in Ilorin, Kwara state.
The Court nullified a Kwara State High Court judgement dated June 28, 2017, by Justice A.S. Oyinloye, that a sum of N4 billion be paid as damages to Saraki in a lawsuit between the Senate president, Sahara Reporters and its founder, Omoyele Sowore.
Although the judgment was used to obtain a garnishee order against Sahara Reporters Media Foundation, a non-governmental organisation, a separate entity as the foundation was never named in the suit, neither is it a news publishing platform.
The appeal court judges, Honourable Justice Ibrahim Mohammed Musa Salauwa, Honourable Justice Chidi Nwaoma Uwa and Honourable Justice Hamma Akawu Barka, unanimously ruled that the judgment be nullified and assigned to a new trial judge at the lower court for a re-trial.
Saraki in 2017 sued Sahara Reporters and its founder to the tune of N1billion each as general damages for four different publications on Sahara Reporters he described as libellous.
He sought the court “for an injunction restraining the Defendants from further writing, printing or causing to be written, printed or circulated or otherwise published of the Claimant, the said or similar libel”.
During the trial before it was withdrawn from the lower court and an appeal filed at the Court of Appeal, Stanley Imhanruor, argued that his clients, Sahara reporters and Sowore, were never served in the motion on notice neither were they given an opportunity to defend themselves during the hearings that led to Justice Oyinloye’s judgment.
Paul Erokoro, Saraki’s lead counsel, had claimed in court that he could not serve the counter affidavit on the counsel for Sahara Reporters because there was no address for service within the court’s jurisdiction.
He argued that he had no obligation to serve counsel directly unless the court ordered him to do so or if he sought the court’s leave to serve counsel directly.