THE federal high court in Lagos, on Tuesday, January 31, struck out the suit filed by Patience Jonathan, wife of former President Goodluck Jonathan and the Union of Niger Delta Youth Organisation for Equity, Justice and Good Governance, her group, against the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP.
Justice Mojisola Olatoregun, presiding judge, struck out Patience Jonathan’s suit after her lawyer had told the judge that his client was no longer willing to pursue the case, and therefore, applied to discontinue/withdraw the case.
Responding, Timothy Adewale who represented the human rights organisation told the court: “This case should never have been brought against SERAP in the first place. The case has been a complete waste of our time. While we do not object to the request by the Plaintiffs’ lawyers for withdrawal of the case, we ask the Honourable Court for N500,000 as cost against Mrs Jonathan and her group.”
Subsequently, Olatoregun struck out the case and awarded N25,000 as cost to the SERAP. It would be recalled that Mrs Jonathan and her had accused the SERAP in suit dated October 6, 2016 of “using online, print and electronic media to publish to the public unfounded and malicious allegations that she stole $15m and ought to be prosecuted.” The SERAP responded by filing a preliminary objection dated October 27, 2016, asking the federal high court to “dismiss her suit with substantial cost.”
When the case first came up for hearing before Justice Olatoregun, Babatunde Ogala, a former chairman of the Lagos State House of Assembly’s Committee on Judiciary, represented the SERAP in court. Ogala said: “Patience Jonathan’s claims cannot be maintained because they are brought on her behalf by a group that is unknown to law. Mrs Jonathan’s group is not a registered organization envisaged by law. This very point calls into question the legal capacity to file this suit against SERAP, and the jurisdiction of the court to entertain her suit.”
— Feb 1, 2017 @ 14:40 GMT