Nasir el-Rufai, the former governor of Kaduna state, has had his defamation lawsuit against Shehu Sani, a former senator representing Kaduna Central, dismissed by a high court in Kaduna, News About Nigeria reports.
El-Rufai had filed the suit in 2018, seeking N2 billion in damages, claiming that Sani had defamed him with his remarks.
Specifically, Sani had referred to him as a “drunk, loose cannon, and an embarrassment to President Muhammadu Buhari.”
El-Rufai argued that these statements were completely false and harmful to his reputation in the eyes of the public.
The presiding judge, H.A.L Balogun, delivered the verdict on Thursday, stating that the lawsuit was an abuse of the court processes.
Balogun highlighted that el-Rufai had filed the same case in multiple courts within the state, which raised concerns about the intention behind the lawsuits.
During the proceedings, Kimi Livingstone Appah, the counsel representing Sani, pointed out to the court that the former governor had filed identical cases in four different courts in Kaduna.
The judge agreed with Appah’s objection, considering it a valid preliminary point, and subsequently dismissed the case.
Following the court’s ruling, Appah expressed satisfaction, emphasizing that the outcome was a triumph for democracy and freedom of expression.
El-Rufai and the former senator have been engaged in a prolonged dispute concerning matters relating to Kaduna state.
Reacting to the court’s ruling, Shehu Sani took to social media and succinctly expressed his gratitude, writing, “To Allah be the glory.”
His response suggests relief and satisfaction over the outcome of the legal battle.
On the other hand, some individuals have raised concerns about the timing of the court’s decision.
They questioned why the verdict was delivered only after El-Rufai had left office as governor.
These skeptics view the delay as indicative of hypocrisy within the judicial system, suggesting that political influence might have influenced the outcome.
The controversial nature of the case has further fueled debates surrounding freedom of expression and the independence of the judiciary.
Critics argue that such incidents reinforce the need for a transparent and impartial legal system that upholds justice without any external influence.