Kashamu withdraws N20bn libel suit against Obasanjo

Kashamu withdraws N20bn libel suit against Obasanjo

Kenny Awotorebo

Ogun-East senator in the National Assembly, Buruji Kashamu, has withdrawn a N20.1bn libel suit he instituted against former President Olusegun Obasanjo before a Federal Capital Territory court in Abuja.

It was learnt that the presiding judge, Justice Valentine Ashi, struck out the suit on May 26, 2015, following the notice of discontinuance of the suit filed by the plaintiff.

Kashamu, a Peoples Democratic Party chief in Ogun State, was said to have anchored his decision to withdraw the suit on “an ongoing settlement talks” between him and Obasanjo.

But the lawyers who are representing the former President in the suit said they were not aware of such talks.

Kashamu had on February 6, 2014, sued Obasanjo for “maliciously and recklessly” publishing a letter titled, ‘Before it is too late,’ addressed to former President Goodluck Jonathan in December 2013.

The newly-inaugurated senator had asked the court to award him N20bn as aggravated and exemplary damages, and another N100m against Obasanjo for maliciously portraying him as a fugitive wanted for drug- related offences in the United States of America.

Kashamu had already called two of his three proposed witnesses before he decided to withdraw the suit.

The two witnesses who had appeared before the court, Haruna Rasheed and Omotayo Alade-Fawole, testified that the publication of Obasanjo’s letter in the media portrayed Kashamu in a bad light and destroyed their long years of business relationship with him.

But before he could call his third witness, Kashamu on December 5, 2014, moved the court to grant an order restraining Obasanjo from going ahead with the public presentation of his book, “My Watch.”

Kashamu had anchored the prayer on the grounds that the book touched on the subject matter of the libel suit.

But Obasanjo had shunned the court order and went ahead to present the book in Lagos on December 9, 2014.

The plaintiff, however, returned to court on December 10, to report that Obasanjo had flouted the December 5 court order.

Justice Ashi, in a ruling, held that Obasanjo was in contempt of court for flouting his order and directed the various security agencies to seize the copies of the books wherever they were found.

The judge also gave Obasanjo 21 days to show cause why he should not be punished for contempt.

The judge later lifted all orders against Obasanjo in a ruling delivered in April following counter arguments by Obasanjo’s lawyer, Mahmud Magaji (SAN).

Proceedings were to resume on the main libel case, when Kashamu brought an application for the withdrawal of the suit.

Happenings Media