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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Publisher, journalist ask court to dismiss criminal case filed for Kwara governor

Publisher, journalist ask court to dismiss criminal case filed for Kwara governor

Mandate International Publications Nigeria Limited, publishers of National Pilot Newspapers, has asked a revenue court sitting in Ilorin to dismiss the case of direct criminal complaint leveled against it and one of its reporters for lack of jurisdiction.

The company asked the court to strike out the case because the complainant lacks locus standi.

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The duo of managing director, National Pilot Newspapers, Alhaji Billy Adedamola and reporter, Ahmed Ajikobi, were arraigned before the revenue court in February 2024 following a direct criminal complaint leveled against the newspaper by one Olayinka Fafoluyi, an aide to Kwara state governor.

Fafoluyi had in his direct complaint to the court, alleged that, “Offences of criminal conspiracy, inciting public disturbance, injurious falsehood, criminal  defamation  and cyber stalking, contrary to the provisions of Section 97, 114, 393 and 392 of Penal Code Law  and Section 27 and 24 of Cyber Crimes (Prohibition and Prevention ETC)  Act 2015.”

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The petitioner had referred to the paper’s online and hard copies publications of May 15th and October 16th, 2023 as injurious to the governor of Kwara state, Mallam AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, and his family.

At the resumption of hearing on Monday, counsel to the 1st and 2nd respondents, Mohammed Abdullahi, while arguing on a notice of preliminary objection filed before the court, dated 15th January 2024, prayed “the court to refuse hearing the direct criminal complaint for being civil in nature by its contents and filled without due process.”

Making further submissions, the respondents counsel told the court that the complainant had filed a counter affidavit few hours to the court sitting on Monday morning but prayed the court to discountenance it for being “so watery, devoid of any substance with the issue at hand.”

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Making an inference from some paragraphs of the counter affidavit filled by the complainant,  the respondents counsel told the court that the respondents counter affidavit  “was so injurious to the case of the complainant and supported more our application on ground” for which he urged the court to bring the case to an end.

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