A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in Apo has struck out the name of a group – the Buhari Campaign Organisation (BCO) from a N40 million libel suit filed in the name of BCO and President Muhammadu Buhari against the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the last presidential election, Atiku Abubakar.
In a ruling on Wednesday, Justice Binta Mohammed said the BCO, listed as the 2nd plaintiff, “is not known to law.”
Justice Mohammed agreed with lawyer to Atiku, Chukwuma-Machukwu Ume (SAN) to the effect that, not being a juristic person, BCO cannot sue or be sued.
The ruling was on a motion by Atiku, marked M/3117/19, in which he sought for an order striking out BCO (the 2nd plaintiff / respondents) as a party in the suit on the grounds that it is not a juristic person that can sue or be sued in his name.
Chukwuma-Ume, while moving the motion on Wednesday, urged the court to hold that the 2nd Paintiff (BCO) is improperly joined as a party in the case.
He argued that for the suit to be properly constituted, so as to vest jurisdiction on the court, parties must be juristic persons known to law and competent.
In the substantive suit, marked FCT/HC/CV/ 804/2019, the plaintiffs accused Atiku and his aide, Phrank Shaibu of making several defamatory statement in the media, to the effect that Buhari used his position as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and head of the government, to fraudulently acquire two private companies, Keystone Bank Plc and 9Mobile Communication Ltd for himself, his family members, and friends.
The plaintiffs also stated that Atiku and his aide falsely claimed to the effect that President Buhari acquired the said companies using his influence and the control he has over the head of parastatals or organisations that are connected with activities of the companies.
They maintained that the unverified and false allegations it said was sponsored by Atiku, “caused grave pain, embarrassment”, to President Buhari, and thereby calling his (Buhari’s) integrity to question.