The Buhari Campaign Organisation (BCO), yesterday urged Justice Binta Mohammed of the High Court sitting in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, to strike out a motion filed by the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, seeking to compel President Muhammadu Buhari to pay him damages amounting to the sum of N200 billion.
Atiku’s demands are contained in his counter-claim in reaction to a N40 million libel suit filed by the Buhari Campaign Organisation (BCO) against him over an allegation that he defamed Buhari and his family.
The BCO argued before the court that Atiku’s counter-claim in which he challenged President Buhari’s capacity and performance in office as president can only be sustained in a separate suit.
In opposition to Atiku’s counter claim, the BCO contended that Atiku cannot be heard in the instant suit it filed.
Rather, the BCO urged the former vice president to provide proof of evidence that President Buhari and members of his family own substantial shares in 9mobile and Keystone Bank.
Counsel to BCO, Barrister Abdulrazaq Ahmed, said rather than leaving the substance to tackle the trash with a motion seeking to address an entirely different matter from the substantive suit, Atiku must provide documentary evidence and proof of evidence to substantiate claims that President Buhari and his family acquired substantial shares in 9mobile and Keystone Bank with total assets of $1.916 billion (equivalent to N307.5 billion) as well as purchasing about N3 billion worth of shares in the new Pakistani Islamic Bank.
“The defendant/counter-claimers claims against the 1st plaintiff (Buhari) based or on the question of the 1st plaintiff’s capacity and or performance in the office as Executive President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria can only be sustained in a separate suit or proceeding filed by the defendant against the 1st plaintiff.
In his 18-paragraph statement of defence, Atiku had complained of the suit filed by BCO not properly constituted, insisting that what he said was in no way defamatory against Buhari since it was a matter of public interest.
Counsel to the PDP presidential candidate said, “The defendants (Atiku and Phrank Shaibu) aver that the defamatory statements are impartial observations, opinions and criticism on a matter of public interest.
‘’The defendants aver that a matter of public interest on which everyone is entitled to make a fair comment on cannot be said to be defamatory”.
The court has adjourned till April 8, 2019 for hearing in the suit filed by the BCO against Atiku for defaming President Buhari and his family.