Obasanjo Appeals Against Book Seizure Order

A former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, has appealed against the order given by a Federal Capital Territory High Court judge, Justice Valentine Ashi, that security agents, including the police and men of the Department of State Service, should confiscate his latest autobiography, My Watch.

The judge had given this order after the ex-president went ahead on Tuesday in Lagos to present the book to the public, in disobedience to the court’s restraining injunction.

Justice Ashi also gave the former president a 21-day ultimatum to explain why he should not be punished for flouting the court order.

However, Obasanjo, in his appeal, argued that he was in no way “daring the court” as widely reported by some national newspapers, describing such publication as misleading.

The Chairman, Mobilisation and Organisation Committee, the Peoples Democratic Party, South West, Mr. Buruji Kashamu, had instituted a legal action against some sections of the book.

Obasanjo had, through his legal team, led by Gboyega Oyewole, filed an appeal challenging the confiscation order, citing 10 grounds to support the appeal and arguing that the trial judge erred in his ruling.

In the appeal with suit no. CV/472/14, filed in a Federal High Court, Abuja, a copy of which was made available to journalists in Abeokuta, the former president’s counsel contended that his client was dissatisfied with the ruling of the High Court and “appealed against the said ruling upon the ground set forth…”

He said, “The learned trial judge erred in law when he granted the interlocutory order of injunction, which inter alia restrained the defendant from the publication of his book “My Watch” or the content of the letter to the President, which is the subject of the suit before the trial judge in the said book.

“There was uncontradicted affidavit evidence that the defendant’s book, “My Watch” had been published and released to the public before the making of the interlocutory order.

“The plaintiff never alluded to this fact in his affidavit before the court. It is settled law that an injunction does not lie to restrain a completed act. His Lordship failed and/or neglected to allude to the affidavit evidence before making the interlocutory order.

“The learned trial judge erred in law and exercised his discretion wrongfully in granting the order of interlocutory injunction, subject of this appeal against the defendant, restraining him from publishing his book, “My Watch” or publishing his letter subject of the suit in the said book.”

Meanwhile, one of the aides of Obasanjo at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, Abeokuta, Mr. Vitalise Ortese, on Thursday exonerated his principal from deliberately flouting a court order.

In a statement he signed, Ortese said since the news of the said order broke, he (Obasanjo) had been receiving calls from concerned friends far and near and he was constrained to make this release and present the facts as they relate to the book and its public presentation.

Ortese said, “Chief Olusegun Obasanjo wishes to state that the media reports which convey the impression that he intended to ‘dare or confront a judge or the judiciary’ is highly misleading.

“Far from this; on the contrary, the former president is a law abiding citizen, who will only pursue his rights within the law and will not “‘dare” a judge or knowingly flout an order of a court of competent jurisdiction.

“The former President wishes to make it clear that in the first instance, no formal order from Justice Ashi was served and received by either himself or by proxy regarding any injunction restraining the publication of the book, “My Watch,” which from the records was already in circulation.”

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