An Abuja High Court sitting in Wuse Zone 2, has restrained former President Olusegun Obasanjo from proceeding with plans to publish or have someone publish on his behalf, a new autobiography entitled ‘My Watch.
Justice Valentine Ashi made the order following an ex-parte application filed before him by a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the South-West, Mr. Buruji Kashamu.
The court granted the motion marked FCT/HC/M/2392/2014, on Friday, after it listened to Kashamu’s lawyer, Dr. Alex Iziyon, SAN.
Iziyon had argued that the content of the book relates to issues contained in the letter Obasanjo wrote to President Goodluck Jonathan and former National Chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, on December 2, 2013 , where he alleged that Kashamu was a fugitive wanted in the United States of America.
He contended that since the content of the letter is the subject matter of the libel suit his client filed against Obasanjo, which is still pending before the high court, it would be wrong for the ex-president to be allowed to proceed to comment on, write books about or make publications on the issue yet to be decided by the court.
While delivering his ruling on the matter, Justice Ashi specifically restrained ex-President Obasanjo from either publishing the book or have it published on his behalf by anybody, pending the determination of the substantive suit pending before him.
According to the court, “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 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.”
Besides, Justice Ashi equally restrained Obasanjo, his agents or privies, “from further writing, printing, publishing or causing to be published or printed or circulated, or otherwise, publishing of and concerning the plaintiff, the statement contained in the Daily Sun (pages 47-49) and The Leadership newspapers (pages 3 to 8) of December 12, 2013 and which statements are alleged to have reproduced the letter written by the defendant to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria entitled: “Before it is too late’ or similar statements pending the determination of the motion on notice.”
However, before adjourning the case to December 10, the Judge ordered the applicant to “execute a bond with the Registrar of the court to pay such damages as shall be assessed should it turn out that the order ought not to have been granted in the first place.”
It will be recalled that Kashamu had dragged Obasanjo to court for defamation and character assassination, immediately the content of his letter to President Jonathan was made public.
He told the court that the defendant (Obasanjo) “maliciously and recklessly published a letter titled, ‘Before it is too late,’ which he said contained words which he (Obasanjo) knew to be false.
In his writ of summons, Kashamu stated that the criminal imputation made against him by Obasanjo in his letter, greatly “murdered” his reputation.
Consequently, he is praying the court to award the cost of N20billion against the ex-President to cover for the damage he has suffered as a result of the “malicious” allegations contained in the letter.