Abdullahi Ganduje and Jaafar Jaafar
Abdullahi Ganduje and Jaafar Jaafar

Dollar videos: Ganduje is ‘forum-shopping’, Jaafar’s lawyer tells Abuja court

NEWS DIGEST – Abdul Mohammed Rafindadi, SAN, the counsel to the publisher of Daily Nigerian, Jaafar Jaafar, has told an FCT High Court presided by Justice Yusuf Halilu that the governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Ganduje, is “forum-shopping”.

In law, forum shopping is a term referring to the practice of choosing the court or jurisdiction thought likely to give a favourable judgement to a party.

On Wednesday, the case came up for hearing of the Preliminary Objection filed by Mr Jaafar and Penlight Media, the publishers of DAILY NIGERIAN.

Mr Rafindadi’s objection borders on a complaint of forum shopping in view of the governor’s case that was initially filed in Kano State, and that the case, as regards to counter-claim, was still subsisting in the Kano High Court.

But counsel to Mr Ganduje, Offiong Offiong, SAN, argued that the claims of the claimant in the Kano case had since been discontinued and it was evidenced by the copy of the order marked as ‘Exhibit 2’.

He also insisted that Mr Jaafar’s residential address is in Abuja to bolster his argument of jurisdiction.

After hearing the arguments of the two senior lawyers, Justice Halilu reserved ruling on the Preliminary Objection and adjourned sine die.

Background

In October 2018, DAILY NIGERIAN had published video clips of the governor stuffing bundles of dollars, suspected to be a bribe from a contractor, in his pockets.

The governor, subsequently, dragged the newspaper publisher to a Kano High Court, asking the court to declare that “the act of publishing and circulating libellous statements, false video clips on online media, attacking and impugning the character and integrity of the Plaintiff amounts to defamation of character of the Plaintiff by the Defendants”.

But in a strange twist, Mr Ganduje’s lawyers, led by E.O.B Offiong, sought the discontinuation of the case, without stating their clear reasons and filed another case at the Abuja High Court.

In his submission, the counsel to Daily Nigerian, Muhammad Dan’Azumi, filed a counter-claim, seeking the court to declare that Mr Ganduje’s claims against the defendant were baseless, gold-digging and of no substance whatsoever.

The counterclaim is still subsisting and has been adjourned to the 4th October 2021 for hearing.