A State High Court sitting in Kano, on Tuesday, ordered Governor Abdullahi Ganduje to pay the sum of N800,000 as costs for expenses to Jafar Jafar, a publisher and his company, Daily Nigerian, respondents to his N3 billion defamation suit.
Ganduje had filed a suit in November 2018, seeking N3 billion as damages for defamation of character against the respondents over videos they published of the governor allegedly receiving bribe in US dollars.
The respondents in the suit were: Jafar Jafar, his company, Penlight Media limited (Daily Nigerian).
When the case came up on Tuesday, there was a mild drama in court between counsels for the plaintiff and respondents as to whether the case was for mention or hearing.
Counsel to the plaintiff, Offiong Offiong SAN, had filed an application for motion on notice dated June 28, seeking to withdraw the N3 billion defamation suit he filed against the respondents.
“We rely on order 23 rule 4 and 3 of the rule of the court, supported by a written address to discontinue the suit”.
Responding, counsel to the first respondent, U Eteng, and Muhammad Dan’azumi, for the second respondent, argued that hearing on the application seeking to discontinue the suit by the plaintiff was not ripe and urged the court to strike out the application.
Eteng had similarly filed a four-paragraph counter affidavit and a written address dated July 1, to amend the statement of defense and add the respondent’s counter claim.
He urged the court to grant the first respondent the sum of N100 million and the second respondent N300 million as costs of necessary expenses of filing the affidavit, among others.
“Daily Nigerian has gone through stress for four years. We need a written apology to be published in the national dailies and pre-action letter by the plaintiff”, the counsel said.
In his ruling, Justice Suleiman NaMalam, discontinued the suit, with number K/519/2018 and the statement of claim against the respondents, while ordering the plaintiff to pay the two respondents the sum of N400,000 each as costs for necessary expenses.