Nigerian Court Dismisses Obasanjo’s Defamation Lawsuit, Awards Compensation to Punch Newspaper

A Federal Capital Territory High Court has awarded N4 million against former President Olusegun Obasanjo, in favor of Punch Newspaper and its columnist, Sonala Olumhense.

This decision comes after Justice Modupe Osho-Adebiyi concluded a defamation lawsuit filed by Obasanjo, awarding N2 million each to the defendants to cover the costs of legal actions.

The case began when Obasanjo sought N1 billion in damages, claiming that a January 2019 article by Olumhense was “false, malicious, and injurious,” leading to public scorn and ridicule. The article criticized Obasanjo’s administration, accusing him of misusing public funds, particularly in the sectors of electricity and road construction.

Despite Obasanjo’s heavy criticisms, the article pointed out his contradictory stance on corruption, noting his selective battles against it during his time in office. It highlighted his efforts to reclaim funds from the late Sani Abacha, which he himself was unable to account for, and his extravagant spending on electricity and roads that lacked transparency and efficacy.

This court ruling followed an application from Obasanjo’s lawyer, Emmanuel Bisong Otinyia Esq., to discontinue the case, which led to a request from the defendants for N3 million each to cover their extensive legal expenses. However, the court decided to award N2 million each to the defendants instead.


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