Presidency Begs Buhari to Settle Slander Case Out of Court
The presidency has begged former Head of States and national leader of Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) to settle out of court the libel suit he filed against the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati.
It would be recalled that Abati had on page 51 of the April 22, 2011, edition of The Guardian newspaper, written an article entitled “For the attention of General Buhari,” where he claimed that Buhari made an unguarded statement which stirred the post-election violence that almost tore the nation apart.
The former Military General however, regarded the publication as libellous, aimed at denting his hard earned name and image.
Buhari consequently dragged Abati and The Guardian Newspapers to court via suit no. ID/837/2011, demanding N1billion damages from them.
However, in a copy of the Terms of Settlement filed before a Lagos High Court in Ikeja, the ‘warring’ parties have agreed to settle the matter out of court.
According to the terms of settlement, dated December 2012 and filed before the administrative judge of Lagos State, Justice Opeyemi Oke, the claimant (Buhari), Mr. Tope Adebayo ( lawyer to Buhari), Abati and Mr. Kunle Sanyaolu (lawyer to The Guardian) signed the terms of settlement. But the lawyer to the first defendant (Abati), Dame Carol Ajie, refused to sign the document. The refusal may not be unconnected to the conditions and terms of the agreement.
It was gathered that the parties further agreed that Abati and The Guardian should retract and apologise to Buhari in certain form and contents.
The terms of settlement reads in part: “The claimant (Buhari) and defendants (Abati and The Guardian) have agreed that the defendants should publish a retraction and an apology to the claimant on the Opinion Page of the newspaper, to be printed in reverse line black (RLB) within seven days of entering the Consent Terms as the judgment of the court in two editions of The Guardian.
“The claimant and defendants have agreed and resolved that the retraction and apology shall take the following form and contents: ‘Re: For the attention of General Buhari’- On April 22, 2011, The Guardian Newspaper published an article on Page 51 titled ‘For the attention of General Buhari’ where certain allegations were made against General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), GCFR, concerning the 2011 election and General Buhari’s alleged role in the violence emanating from the elections.
“The publication was based on information which we believed to be reliable at that time. Since the publication, however, we now have reason to believe that certain parts of the story were not verified to be correct before the publication.
“We assure General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), GCFR, of our highest esteem and regret any distress or embarrassment which the said publication may have caused him.
“The claimant and defendants agree that on the execution of these Terms of Settlement, the defendants are discharged from all or any liabilities or obligations arising from the said publication.”
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