No fewer than 43 Human Rights lawyers indicated interest to stand for Jaafar Jaafar and DAILY NIGERIAN in court over a N3 billion suit filed by Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano against the publisher and the online newspaper.
Muhammad Dan’azumi, counsel to DAILY NIGERIAN, made the disclosure before the commencement of Thursday’s hearing at Kano State High Court.
Mr Dan’azumi stated that the lawyers indicated their readiness offer legal services to Mr Jaafar free of charge.
He also restated the willingness of the lawyers to follow the case up to its logical end, and ensure that justice is being done.
However, during today’s hearing of the case, counsel to Mr Ganduje, Nura Ayagi, in an application for amendment of the case process, prayed the court to adjourn the matter, as he would make some amendments on the documents.
But, Ubi Eteng, counsel to Mr Jaafar (first defendant), countered the lawyer of the plaintiff, arguing that his prayer was just to scuttle the case, situation that threw the two counsels into heated argument, until the intervention of the judge, Justice Suleman Na-Mallam.
Both Mr Enteng and Mr Dan’azumi prayed the court to fine Mr Ganduje for the inordinate delay in prosecuting TJE case, after having dragged the first and second defendants to court.
But, Mr Ayagi prayed the court not to grant their prayer for any cost against his client, which the court upheld in the interest of justice and fair play.
Mr Na-Mallam also granted the prayer of the counsel to the plaintiff to adjourn the hearing, arguing that it was circumstances that warranted him to pray for the adjournment which could reasonably be granted by the court.
The judge then adjourned the matter to February 4 for hearing.
Speaking after the court session, Mr Dan’azumi said the case documents filed by the plaintiff were poor and unsubstantial.
According to him, the motion filed by Mr Ganduje’s counsel today was to arm his incurably defective documents.
He, however, stated that investigation they conducted revealed that Mr Ganduje paid only N106,800 requisite filing fee, instead of N2, 999,500.
“The plaintiff is now owing N2, 892, 700 requisite filing fee. What he paid is grossly inadequate and robbed the court of the requisite jurisdiction to entertain the matter.
“This is also against the provision of page 182 of Kano State Civil Procedure rules, 2014. This failure to pay the N1000 per every N1 million requisite filing fee is enough to strike this case,” said Mr Dan’azumi
Recall that, DAILY NIGERIAN, owned by Mr Jaafar, on October 15, published two troves of video clips showing the governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Ganduje, allegedly collecting kickbacks in foreign currency from contractors.