$15m: Court strikes out Patience Jonathan’s suit against SERAP

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The Federal High Court in Lagos has struck out the suit filed by wife of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Patience, against Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project.

Justice Mojisola Olatoregun struck out Patience’s suit on Tuesday after the plaintiff’s lawyer had told the judge that his client was no longer willing to pursue the case.

A group, the Union of Niger Delta Youth Organisation for Equity, had on behalf of itself and Patience sued SERAP for allegedly championing a campaign of calumny against Patience.

The group and Patience had accused SERAP of instigating the Attorney General of the Federation to prosecute Patience in relation to a controversial $15m seized by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

At the Tuesday’s proceedings in the case, however, the plaintiff’s lawyer applied to the court to withdraw the suit.

In response, counsel for SERAP, Mr. Babatunde Ogala, said he was not opposed to the withdrawal, saying the suit, which he described as grossly incompetent, should not have been filed in the first place.

Consequently, Justice Olatoregun struck out the suit and awarded a cost of N25,000 against the plaintiff in favour of SERAP.

NDYOE had in October last year filed the suit, marked, FHC/L/CS/1349/2016, urging Justice Olatoregun to restrain SERAP from championing a campaign of calumny against Patience, “using online, print and electronic media to publish to the public unfounded and malicious allegations that she stole $15m and ought to be prosecuted.”

They also urged the court to stop SERAP from instigating the AGF to prosecute Patience.

In response to the suit, however, SERAP filed a preliminary objection, asking the court to dismiss the suit for being incompetent.

Among other things, SERAP argued that NDYOE was not registered and was unknown to law.

SERAP also faulted the mode in which the suit was commenced, saying the plaintiff misled themselves by approaching the court through an originating summons.

SERAP had maintained that the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the suit.


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