A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Tuesday adjourned the case of criminal defamation and cyberstalking suit filed by acclaimed billionaire and former lawmaker, Ned Nwoko, against human rights activist, Omoyele Sowore, and an online newspaper, SaharaReporters to July 12, 2022.
The case which was scheduled for arraignment before Justice Emeka Nwite could not go on following a motion on notice filed by Sowore’s lawyer, Barr.Tope Temokun, over improper service of processes of 2nd and 3rd defendants on Sowore who is the 1st defendant in the case.
Temokun objected to the service of processes of 2nd and 3rd defendants on his client saying that it violated the provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act ( ACJA ) 2015 and that Sowore was an individual while SaharaReporters and SaharaReporters Media Group Incorporated were legal entities.
The motion is asking the court to set aside the service of processes meant for 2nd and 3rd defendants who were smuggled to join in the case on Sowore in the dock at the last adjournment.
He told the court that Sowore was not a director of the companies and not in control of the business of the 3rd defendant at the time of service as claimed by the prosecution, adding that he had been confined in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) since 2018.
He asked the prosecution counsel, E.A Inegbenoise, to come up with the evidence to support the claim that 1st defendant was a director of SaharaReporters and SaharaReporters Media Group Incorporated.
Meanwhile, the prosecution counsel had earlier denied being served with the “motion on notice” filed by the defendant on June 10, 2022, but the defence counsel insisted that they were served.
The situation forced the judge to direct the court registrar to show the prosecution counsel the court documents showing that he was properly served and acknowledged.
Upon showing him the documents, the police lawyer shamelessly admitted that he was served.
The judge after he had listened to both parties in the case, therefore, adjourned the matter to July 12, 2022, to enable the issue of service which he said was fundamental to be sorted out before proceeding with the matter.
Recall that Sowore, in February 2022, was illegally arrested by the police on the Court of Appeal premises on the alleged orders of Nwoko over some trumped-up allegations.
Upon his release, the activist sued the police and the acclaimed billionaire for violation of his human rights.
In the suit marked, FHC/CS/ABJ/239/2022, Sowore seeks N200million damages and a public apology from the defendants for his alleged unlawful arrest and detention by the police.
The Presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC) had sued the Nigeria Police Force, the Inspector-General of Police, the Commissioner of Police, FCT Command, and Nwoko as the first to the fourth defendants, respectively.