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Monday, 31 October 2016

SERAP Asks For The Dismissal Of Patience Jonathan’s Suit



The socio-economic rights and accountability project asks the federal high court to dismiss a law suit brought against it by Patience Jonathan.

The rights group insists Mrs Jonathan's claims cannot be maintained because the suit was brought on her behalf by a group that is unknown to law.



Mrs Jonathan and a group Union of Niger Delta Youth Organisation for Equity, Justice and Good Governance had accused SERAP in a suit for “using online, print and electronic media to publish to the public unfounded and malicious allegations that she stole $15 million and ought to be prosecuted”.

A statement by its Executive Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, read: “Patience Jonathan’s claims cannot be maintained because they are brought on her behalf by a group that is unknown to law. This very point, SERAP calls into question the legal capacity to file this suit and the jurisdiction of the court to entertain it.

“Since the process of court has not been used properly, it is unnecessary to consider whether or not there is a genuine case on the merits. An abuse of court process is not the specie of sins called an irregularity. It is a much more fundamental vice which is deserving of the punishment of dismissal.”

“The suit as constituted discloses no reasonable cause of action against SERAP and is as such unmaintainable. Mrs Jonathan and her group cannot and has not articulated what legal wrong SERAP has done or what legal dispute they have with SERAP. They have not shown that the matter is justifiable and that a dispute exists between them and SERAP. Mrs Jonathan’s case against SERAP is therefore a flagrant abuse of court process and as such must be dismissed.

“The commencement of this suit through Originating Summons by Mrs. Jonathan and her group is also wrong and faulty. Originating Summons is absolutely inappropriate to commence an action where the facts are in dispute. It is evident from the processes filed by Mrs Jonathan and her group that this suit will definitely be disputed by SERAP.

“No stamp and/or seal of the solicitors to Mrs Jonathan and her group is fixed to the Originating Summons and as such is incompetent and not recognizable by the court. A document filed shall be deemed not properly signed or filed if it has no fixing of the seal and stamp, and the court cannot consider such document”.

One Union of Niger Delta Youth Organisation for Equity, Justice and Good Governance suing for themselves and on behalf of Mrs Jonathan had sued SERAP on October 6 at the Federal High Court in Lagos.

Mrs Jonathan and her group had asked the court for “an order of interim injunction restraining SERAP from taking any further steps in vilification, condemnation and conviction of her, in all public media and in the use of the judicial process for that purpose by the extremely publicised pursuit of any application for the coercion of the Attorney General of the Federation to prosecute the Plaintiff/Applicant for owning legitimate private property, pending the hearing and determination of the Originating Summons”.

The suit is also seeking “an order directing SERAP to stay all action and to desist forthwith from proceeding against Mrs Jonathan, with any process whatsoever, pending the hearing and determination of the originating summons”.

Mrs Jonathan and her group have also claimed that, “the campaign by SERAP is in breach of her right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty under Section 36(5) of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (as amended)”.

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