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Dismiss case against us, National Pilot newspaper tells Kwara court

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The Kwara State Revenue Court 1, sitting in Ilorin, has fixed April 15, 2024, for ruling in a direct criminal complaint case filed against National Pilot newspaper by the Special Assistant to Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq on New Media, Olayinka Fafoluyi.

Trial judge, Mrs Shade Lawal, on Monday, after listening to the counsels in the case at the resumed hearing, adjourned the case to April 15, 2024, to rule on whether the court has jurisdiction to entertain the matter or not.

Mandate International Publications Nigeria Limited, publishers of National Pilot Newspapers Monday, asked the revenue court to dismiss the case of direct criminal complaint levelled against two of its staff for lack of jurisdiction.

The company asked the court to strike out the case for lack of locus standi by the complainant.

The duo of managing director, National Pilot Newspapers, Billy Adedamola and reporter, Ahmed Ajikobi were arraigned before the revenue court in February 2024 following a direct criminal complaint levelled against them by the Special Assistant to the state governor on New Media, Olayinka Fafoluyi.

Fafoluyi had in his direct complaint to the court, alleged “Offences of Criminal Conspiracy, Inciting Public Disturbance, Injurious Falsehood, Criminal Defamation and Cyber Stalking, contrary to the Provisions of Section 97, 114, 393 and 392 of Penal Code Law and Section 27 and 24 of Cyber Crimes (Prohibition and Prevention ETC) Act 2015 “.

The petitioner had referred to the paper’s online publications of May 15 and October 16, 2023, as injurious to the governor of Kwara State, Mallam AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq and his family.

At the resumed hearing of the case on Monday, counsel to the 1st and 2nd respondents, Mohammed Abdullahi while arguing on a notice of preliminary objection filed before the court, dated 15th January 2024, prayed “the court to refuse to hear the direct criminal complaint for being civil in nature, by its contents and filed without due process “.

Abdullahi also prayed the court to decline “jurisdiction to entertain the case for lack of jurisdiction.

Making further submissions, the respondent’s counsel told the court that the complainant had filed a counter affidavit a few hours to the court sitting on Monday morning but prayed the court to discountenance it for being “so watery, devoid of any substance with the issue at hand “.

Citing paragraph 4.14 of the counter affidavit filed by the complainant, the respondent’s counsel told the court that the paragraph “was so injurious to the case of the complainant and supported more our application on ground” for which he urged the court to bring the case to an end.

Corroborating the counsel submission, O.M Owonishola, who also appeared for Mandate publication, cited paragraph 4.3 of the counter affidavit and said the submission of the complainant was “misleading” as the case was not brought under the relevant provisions of the law.

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