Sunday, November 27, 2022

Dollar video: What next after court ordered Ganduje to pay N.8m cost for expenses?

At the end of any judgment delivered by a court of law, there must be a winner and loser.

The recent court verdict delivered by Justice Suleiman Na-Mallam of the Kano State High Court in the case of the controversial dollar bribery video clip has attested to this assertion.

The matter was between Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje as complainant and Jaafar Jaafar, publisher of an online medium, Daily Nigeria as defendant.

Justice Na-Mallam had on Tuesday ordered Governor Ganduje, to pay a sum of N800,000 to the Publisher of Daily Nigerian, Jaafar Jaafar as cost for expenses incurred in the court case of the controversial dollar bribery video.

Daily Telescope learnt that N400,000 is for Jaafar Jaafar and the balance of N400,000 is for the Daily Nigeria respectively.

It could be recalled that the governor dragged Jaafar and others after he (Jaafar Jaafar) released a video clip allegedly showing the governor stuffing his pockets with bails of dollars suspected to be kickback of awarded projects from contractors.

Ganduje demanded the court to compel the respondents to pay him the sum of N3 billion for defamation of character.

However, on Tuesday, July 6, 2021, Counsel to Governor Ganduje, Offiong Offiong filed an application dated 28th June, 2021 seeking to discontinue the court case.

The presiding judge, in his ruling, granted the prayer contained in the application.

Although, Counsels to Jaafar Jaafar and Penlight Media Limited (publishers of Daily Nigeria), U. Eteng and M. B. Azumi did not object to the application to discontinue the case, however, they demanded the sum of N400 million as part of terms to discontinue the suit.

While Azumi asked for N300 million for damages; wasting their precious time and putting the reputation of his client’s image in jeopardy, counsel for Jaafar, U. U. Eteng, demanded N100 million naira for same reason.

Ruling on their prayers, the presiding Judge, granted the sum of N400,000 each to Jaafar Jaafar and his company, Penlight Media Limited.

The defendant counsels also demanded an apology on the governor’s side to be published in national dailies and a pre-action letter.

However, Justice Na-Mallam, remains silent on this particular prayer.

This sudden development did not come as surprise to many people that are following the event right from the beginning, as many organisations and individuals had waded into the dispute between the governor and journalist with a view to ending it amicably.

It would be recalled that the Amnesty International and committee for Protection of Journalist have intervened into the face-off between the governor and Jaafar Jaafar.

Also, the Nigerian Gild of Editors waded into the dispute, appealing to the governor to sheath his sword and put everything behind his back.

The President of the Guild, Alhaji Mustapha Isah, pleaded with the governor to bring the issue to an end during the 2021 Biennial Convention of the Guild which took place in Kano.

“The NGE is aware that the Amnesty International and Committee for Protection of Journalist, CPJ have waded in on the ongoing matter involving the publisher of Daily Nigerian, Jaafar Jaafar and the state government.

“The guild is also aware that this matter is currently before a court of law. We urge your Excellency to take another look at the matter, and also be guided by details of democracy and freedom of expression in bringing this matter to an end,” Isah pleaded.

These pleas and numerous others that are being made in secret by groups and individuals, might have been the factors that influenced Governor Ganduje to discontinue the court case.

Daily Telescope observed that discontinuing the case is a relief to both the complainant and defendant respectively. For the complainant, he has relieved himself from the persistent pressures being mounted on him from within and outside the country to forgive and forget. And for the defendant, he will now continue with his normal life as freeman.

However, the questions that are still waiting for answers are; can Ganduje pay the sum of N800,000 to Jaafar Jaafar and Penlight Nigeria Limited? Can Jaafar Jaafar collect the N800,000? Is the case over after payment of the cost for damage by the governor? What next line of actions can both parties take after this particular case? Only time can tell.

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