A Federal Capital Territory High Court in Apo, Abuja, has lifted an injunction barring former President Olusegun Obasanjo from publishing his autobiography, ‘My Watch’.
Justice Valentine Ashi ordered the release of the books which had been in the custody of the Nigerian Customs Service since the order was issued by the court.
Copies of My Watch were intercepted by the Nigerian Customs on the orders of the court’s injunction which was granted on December 10, 2014. However, Justice Valentine Ash set aside the order of injunction on Monday upon an application by Obasanjo, through his lawyer, Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN).
Justice Ashi asked the customs not to collect demurrage on the books for the period they had overspent in their custody.
The court upheld Agabi’s argument that the applicant, a Peoples Democratic Party chief in Ogun State, Buruji Kashamu, who is currently pursuing a N20bn libel suit against Obasanjo in the same court, suppressed vital facts to obtain the order.
Kashamu, had on December 10, 2014, obtained the injunction from the court through an ex parte application which he filed in his N20bn libel suit against Obasanjo.
Kashamu had anchored his prayer on the argument that part of the book related to the subject matter of the libel suit – a letter dated December 2, 2013 written by Obasanjo to President Goodluck Jonathan.
Kashamu had instituted the libel suit against Obasanjo having been dissatisfied with his being described by the former President in the letter which was widely published in the electronic and print media as a fugitive wanted for drug offences in the United States of America.
On December 8, 2014, Justice Ashi granted an ex parte application restraining Obasanjo from publishing the book pending the determination of the libel suit.
But Obasanjo went ahead to present the book to the public in Lagos, an act which the court held on December 10, 2014, as contemptuous.
Following the development the court ordered security and law enforcement agencies including customs to confiscate the book anywhere it was found.
The judge in his ruling on Obasanjo’s application on Monday upheld Agabi’s argument that the order of injunction was wrongly made.