Defamation: Why Abuja court throws out Buhari’s suit against AIT

aitA Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Wednesday threw out a defamation suit filed by President Muhammadu Buhari against DAAR Communications, operators of the African Independent Television (AIT) for want of diligent prosecution.

The trial judge in the case, Justice John Tsoho held that the court had no choice than to terminate the suit having overstayed in the court’s docket without any representation from both parties since the case was filed.

The judge publicly said on Wednesday that it appeared the opposing parties had abandoned the case

According to him, no representations from the parties have been entered since the matter was assigned to the court.

“This is against the rules of court.

“All opportunities given to the plaintiff and the respondents to put life in the suit have failed.

The suit is hereby struck out,’’ Tsoho said.

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The implication however is that the suit is merely removed from the court’s docket but the plaintiff is still at liberty to re-file if there is any need for it.

Buhari had filed the suit in 2015 challenging the alleged documentary transmitted by the station aimed at defaming his character in the eyes of the public.

The President averred that the video documentary aired by the television station was aimed at giving him away as a dictator and religious bigot.

He also averred that the documentary was also shown on the state-owned Nigerian Television Authority (NTA).

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that before the action, the APC national leadership had written to the two stations describing the video as fabricated and defamatory.

Subsequently, the presidential candidate of the APC, as he was then, had approached the court with the suit.

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The DAAR Communication is owned by a chieftain of the PDP, Chief Raymond Dokpesi.

The media outfit is presently celebrating its 20 years of robust journalism practice