By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA — In a bid to exonerate himself from alleged connection with the Boko Haram Islamic sect, Senator Ahmed Zannah, Wednesday, dragged the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, the Minister of Defence, and the Chief of Defence Staff, before an Abuja High Court.
The lawmaker who is representing Borno Central Senatorial, is praying the court to award N5 billion as damages against the defendants, who he said had on October 19, led Nigerians into an erroneous conclusion that the Joint Task Force, JTF, apprehended a high-profile commander of the terrorist sect, one Shuaibu Mohammed Bama, in his house.
Zannah told the court that it was the defendants that gave the spokesman of the JTF, Lieutenant Colonel Sagir Musa, the nod to issue a statement he said falsely portrayed him as one of the persons that aid and support Boko Haram in their terrorist activities.
In his statement of claims, Zannah maintained that the written press statement which he said was issued under the banner headline ‘JTF Arrests Boko Haram Commander in Senator’s House’, “was calculated to disparage the plaintiff and to lower the estimation of the plaintiff in the eyes of the general public and in fact, the plaintiff’s reputation has been seriously damaged by the words complained of.
“The plaintiff has also suffered considerable distress, mental trauma, shock and embarrassment as a consequence of the defendants conduct and has suffered loss and damages.
“The plaintiff will particularly rely on the following facts and matters in support of his claim for damages, including aggravated damages: (a) the publication complained of was given great prominence and the plaintiff will ask the court to infer that practically every Nigerian or at most, a substantial but presently unquantifiable and unidentifiable number of Nigerians and foreigners both within and outside Nigeria read, viewed or listened to the press report in all the electronic and print media available in the country and on the internet.”
He further averred that “judging from the volume of phone calls and text messages that myself, my aides, my relatives, friends and well wishers received on the issue, I sincerely believed that practically every Nigerian read the report of the press statement by the 4th defendant.
He urged the court to grant him the N5 billion damages “because of the severe suffering that I have been put through as a result of the publication complained of.”
Meanwhile, no date has been fixed for hearing of the case.