Justice Valentine Ashie of a Federal Capital Territory High Court sitting in Apo, Abuja has lifted an injuction on ex President Olusegun Obasanjo’s autobiography titled, “My Watch”.
Recall that on December 8, 2014 the court restrained the former president from publishing the book after a libel suit was instituted by a PDP chieftain, Buruji Kashamu.
Kashamu was offended by some contents of the book which related to a letter dated December 2, 2013, written by Obasanjo to President Goodluck Jonathan, claiming that he (Kashamu) was wanted for drug-related crime in the United States of America.
The court order reads, “The defendant, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, whether by himself, his agents, servants, privies or any other person by whatever name called and howsoever described, is hereby restrained from publishing or caused to be published in the yet to be published book, ‘My Watch’ or any autobiography or biography and any extracts of same, by whatever name called or howsoever titled, pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice hereof.”
However in a ruling on Obasanjo’s application on Monday, Justice Ashie upheld Agabi (Obasanjo’s lawyer)’s argument that the order of injunction was wrongly made.
Agabi had said “The single ground of this application is that, in a case of libel, an interlocutory injunction does not lie to restrain publication in the face of a defendant pleading justification.
“The defendant (Obasanjo) is pleading justification. In paragraph 24 of our counter-affidavit, the defendant said his claim about the plaintiff is correct, true and justified from records available in the federal court of the United States.”
He added that the court could only validly bar publication in a libel suit after the case of libel was proven against the defendant.
The case has been adjourned to May 25.