Victor Attah, a former governor of Akwa Ibom, has chosen to file a N1.5 billion defamation lawsuit against the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) in a Federal High Court in Abuja.
The preliminary objection made by the AGF contesting the court’s authority to hear the matter was rejected by Justice Emeka Nwite in a judgement.
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According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Attah sued the AGF as the only defendant in the case through the counsel of Dr. Reuben Atabo, SAN.
In his decision, Justice Nwite upheld the plaintiff’s attorney Atabo’s claim that the case’s subject matter was covered by the court’s jurisdiction under Section 251 of the constitution.
The judge concluded that the lawsuit was supported by the AGF’s decision to retry the plaintiff for a crime with which he had already been charged, tried, dismissed from custody, and acquitted.
The case concerned “money laundering, conspiracy, and abuse of office,” for which the AGF conducted an interview that was printed in national daily and led to the plaintiff’s decision to file a lawsuit.
The judge adjourned the hearing on the substantive lawsuit until October 16.
According to NAN, the ex-governor said in the lawsuit, designated FHC/ABJ/CS/646/2018, that the immediately preceding AGF, Abubakar Malami, had listed him in 2016 as one of several ex-governors who would face prosecution by the National Prosecution Coordination Committee (NPCC) for suspected corruption.
In his testimony, Attah claimed that the Specialist Crimes Directorate (SCD) and the Metropolitan Police (MP) of the United Kingdom added him to their watch list of corrupt governors of Nigeria who are facing corruption charges as a result of the AGF’s statement, which was reported in the media.