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  “The Peoples Gazette” Gets Court Summon Over Publication

 “The Peoples Gazette” Gets Court Summon Over Publication

The High Court of the Federal Capital Territory sitting in Abuja has summoned a Popular online news tabloid, The Peoples Gazette to appear before it to furnish the court with information in his custody relating to it’s June 23, 2022 online publication entitled ” ICPC RECOVERS MULTI-BILLION NAIRA CASH, ROLEX WATCHES STOCKPILED IN EX-ARMY CHIEF ABUJA”.

The action was filed by the plaintiff, Mr. Bello Isah, a Publisher, through his lawyers, Messrs Osuagwu Ugochukwu of St. Francis Xavier Solicitors and Associates, of Suit 8, Zone 4 Plaza, Wuse, Abuja.

The Peoples Gazette in June 2022, published an online report that ICPC recovered multi-million naira cash, Rolex wristwatches in an apartment belonging to the former Chief of Army Staff while, the ICPC official statement never reflected People Gazette’s position.

Bello, in a sworned affidavit, affirmed that he earlier wrote to the newspaper inline with the provisions of the FOI Act requesting for information relating to the said publication to no avail.

The Court has therefore given The Peoples Gazette 42 days to appear before it to answer some questions and provide evidences to back up their claims in the purported publication.

The court summons stated that;

Let THE PEOPLES GAZETTE LTD within FORTY TWO (42) days after the service of this summons, inclusive of the day of such service cause an appearance to be entered for him to this summons which is issued upon the application of ISAH BELLO of No 64, Muhammadu Buhari Way, who claims to be entitled to the reliefs hereafter set out and for the determination of the following questions:

1. Whether the Refusal and/or Neglect of the Defendant to grant the application of the Plaintiff vide his letter dated June 28, 2022 does not amount to an infringement of the provision of Section 4 of the Freedom of Information Act 2011?

The Plaintiff claims against the Defendant as follows:

(1) A Declaration that the refusal, failure and or neglect by the Defendant to release the information requested by the Plaintiff in his letter dated June 28 2022 amounts toa violation of Section 4(a) of the Freedom of Information Act 2011 and therefore is wrongful and

(2) An ORDER DIRECTING the Defendant including her servants, agents, privies, officials and or cohorts to furnish the Plaintiff with detailed information as stated in Plaintiff’s letter dated June 28 2022 until Judgment is delivered in this casę within 14 days of the delivery of Judgment.

(3) The cost of this Action.

(4)Any further order (s) as the Court may deem fit and proper to make in the circumstances of this case.

Also part of the court summon which was tagged CASH,ROLEX WATCHES STOCKPILED IN EX-ARMY CHIEF
BURATAI’S ABUJA”, now produced and marked EXHIBITA stated that the June 28 2022 letter of the Plaintiff requested the following response from the Defendant viz:

“1. Did you verify the allegations contained in your write up with ICPC before publishing? This is because the ICPC press release of June 24, 2022 states to the contrary that Buratai owns the house in Wuse lI Abuja or has links with the K Salam Construction Company Nigeria Limited.

2.Did you check with corporate affairs commission as to who the Owners of the K Salam Construction Company Nigeria Limited are? And perhaps whether Buratai name appear as part of the company directorship?

3. You claimed you called Buratai during the ICPC raid on the Wuse 2 House. At what time and day did you call Ambassador Buratai? What number did you use in calling him? And which of the Buratai lines did you call?

(d) But surprisingly and since the receipt of the request/application letter, and up till the filing of this suit, the Defendant has so far failed, refused and /or neglected to provide the Plaintif with the details of the information
requested for.

4. That I know as a fact by being a PUBLISHER /JOURNALIST that:
(a) By virtue of Section 1 (1) of the FOI Act 2011, PLAINTIFF is entitled as of right to request for or gain access to information which is in the custody or possession of any public official, agency or institution.

(b) The information requested for by the Plaintiff relates to CORRUPTION allegations against the former Army Chief and facts supposedly held by the Defendant but has shied from giving truth to the allegations.

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