-Abiru seeks N1bn damages against media director
The All Progressives Congress (APC), Lagos State, has asked a Federal High Court, Ikoyi to order the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Adamu to prosecute the candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for December 5 bye-election in Lagos East, Mr. Babatunde Gbadamosi for alleged forgery and perjury.
In another development, the APC candidate for the December 5 bye-election, Mr. Tokunbo Abiru has dragged the Media Director of the Babatunde Gbadamosi Senatorial Election Campaign Council, Dr. Adetokunbo Pearse before an Ikeja High Court for alleged character defamation.
Counsel to the APC, Mr. Olukayode Enitan (SAN) asked the court to compel the IG to prosecute Gbadamosi on Tuesday in an application he filed pursuant to Order 34 Rules 1 and 3 of the Federal High Court (Civil Procedures) Rules, 2019.
The APC had, in Suit NO: FHC/L/CS/1659/2020, sued Gbadamosi and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for allegations of forgery, perjury, fraud and failure to participate in the one-year mandatory national youth service.
The party had, in its writs of summons, claimed that it discovered certain discrepancies in the certificates, which according to the APC, were indicative of the fact that the WAEC certificate Gbadamosi submitted to the INEC might have been falsified.
It had claimed that some of the discrepancies observed in Gbadamosi’s WAEC certificate include the number of subjects the PDP candidate allegedly sat for “is different from the number of subjects he sat for as contained on the website of WAEC.
“Also, the grades he claims to have received via the certificate is different from that contained on the official website of WAEC,” the APC declared in its writs of summon.
But in an application filed by its counsel Tuesday, the APC applied for the issuance of a prerogative Writ of Mandamus to compel the IG to discharge his public duty to investigate the PDP candidate for allegations of forgery, perjury, fraud and failure to participate in the mandatory national youth service.
It argued that the allegations “are offences under the provisions of Sections 465, 467 and 117 of the Criminal Code Act, 2004 and the National Youth Service Corps (Amendment) Act, which according to the party, placed duty upon the IG to investigate and prosecute the PDP candidate.”
Consistent with the Criminal Code Act and NYSC Act, the APC contended that the IG “is under a duty to investigate and prosecute Gbadamosi for the offences of forgery, perjury, fraud and failure to participate in the National Youth Service as contained in Form EC9 and CF001 he submitted to INEC.”
The party, therefore, justified its claims on the ground that the PDP candidate had committed several offences bothering on forgery, fraud and perjury, for which the IG ought to investigate and prosecute him.
It averred that the IG “is by virtue of the Police Act duty bound to investigate complaints and petitions lodged at his office. The petition was received and duly acknowledged November 11, 2020.
“Despite being in receipt of the petition, the inspector-general has failed, neglected and or refused to commence investigation of the PDP candidate as requested.”
On these grounds, the APC said it was aggrieved; now seeking to compel the inspector-general “to perform its statutory duties under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and the Police Act.”
In defamation suit filed by his counsel, Mr. Kemi Pinheiro, Abiru alleged that Pearse, the media director of the Babatunde Gbadamosi Senatorial Campaign Council made several defamatory remarks against his person in publications.
Pearse had, in a statement circulated in social and traditional media, said Abiru’s reputation “is that of a rogue banker. Skye Bank collapsed under his leadership. Today, Polaris Bank customers and shareholders are accusing him of fraud…”
Consequent upon these remarks, Abiru instituted court action against Pearse before an Ikeja High Court, seeking N1billion damages against the media director for alleged libel.
In his statement of claims, Abiru asked the court to restrain Pearse, his agents, servants, privies or whosoever from further publishing or causing to be published the defamatory words contained in the Defendant’s libellous publication complained about.
He, also, applied for an order directing Pearse, his agents, servants, privies or howsoever “to retract or cause to be retracted the said libellous publication in the same manner and form adopted in the publication of the defamatory words.”
He asked the court to Pease “to tender an unreserved apology in the form and manner to be prescribed by the solicitors to the Claimant and publish same in one full page insertion in three national dailies to within 72 hours of the judgment of the court, and all social media platforms: YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.”