The Federal Capital Territory High Court sitting in Apo on Tuesday dismissed the suit filed by owner of African Independent Television Chief Raymond Dokpesi against Minister of Information Lai Mohammed and Attorney General of Federation Abubakar Malami over inclusion of his name on looters’ list.
Justice Olukayode Adeniyi dismissed Dokpesi’s claim seeking apology from Lai Mohammed.
The plaintiff had alleged that the Information Minister and the Attorney General defamed his character by inclusion of his name on the treasury looters’ list, adding that he has suffered considerable distress, odium, and ridicule in political analyses by the media.
Dokpesi had sued Mohammed for breaching his presumption of innocent right.
The statement made by Mohammed, he said, would prejudice his trial in the N2.1 billion criminal charge against him by the Federal Government.
In the same vein, the plaintiff told the court that the Information Minister on March 30, during a news conference, portrayed him as corrupt and crooked person, a dishonest man and a thief.
He, therefore, asked the court to order the defendant to tender an unreserved apology to him in major electronic and print media outlet in the country.
Dokpesi urged the court to grant a perpetual injunction restraining the defendants, their servant, agents, partners, representatives from further writing and publishing defamatory words about the plaintiff.
Delivering his judgment, Justice Adeniyi disagreed with Dokpesi on the grounds that the Minister of Information was not the prosecutor at the Federal High Court Abuja in the N2.1 billion trial and he was not the judge.
“There is no way the statement in the looters list made by Lai Mohammed can prejudice the plaintiff’s trial. The statement made by Lai Mohammed has no force of law.
“So, the plaintiff’s application is hereby dismissed for lack of merit.”
The court then adjourned the libel suit initiated by Dokpesi against the minister till November 9.