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Published On: Thu, Dec 11th, 2014

Book launch: Court finds Obasanjo guilty of contempt

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OBasanjo-launches-bookBy A’isha Biola Raji with agency report

In Abuja High Court sitting in Wuse Zone 2, Abuja yesterday held that former President Olusegun Obasanjo was in contempt of court for flouting its orders restraining him from, among others, publishing his autobiography, “My Watch.”

Justice Valentine Ashi, in a ruling yesterday, gave Obasanjo 21 days (from the day of service of the court’s orders on him) to show cause why he should not be punished for contempt for going ahead to publish the book in spite of the ex-parte interim order made by the court on December 5 and a pending libel suit before the court involving him.

The judge restrained the former president from further publishing, printing or offering for sale, the book, My Watch, whose content touched on the subject matter before the court.

Justice Ashi also ordered the Inspector-General of Police, the Director General of the Department of State Services (DSS) and the Comptroller of Customs to recover the published book from all book stands, sales agents, vendors, the sea and airports and deposit them with his court’s registrar pending the determination of the substantive suit.”

Obasanjo released the new book, My Watch, Tuesday, in Lagos, days after the court order.

The court had ordered that the book launch be put on hold over claim the three-volume series contained details of a libel case already before the court.

The case involves a drug trafficking allegation made by Mr. Obasanjo against Buruji Kashamu, a leader of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in the South-West, who is believed to be an ally of President Jonathan.

Mr. Kashamu had requested the court order to stop the release of the book, citing the case.

But the move is believed to have been a cover to block Mr. Obasanjo from making public some of his most scathing assessments of President Goodluck Jonathan, as contained in the book.

On Tuesday, the former president defied the court order and proceeded with the book launch saying the judge acted in error and deserved to be sanctioned.

The former president also said the book had already been published before the court gave its order.


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