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Gbenga Obasanjo vs wife: Court insists on open hearing

Posted by By SINA AYEKOTI on 2008/05/03 | Views: 923 |

Gbenga Obasanjo vs wife: Court insists on open hearing


Justice Williams Dawudu of Lagos High Court, Ikeja yesterday rejected an application brought before it by Mojisola, the estrange wife of Gbenga Obasanjo, the first son of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, seeking an order that divorce case between her and Gbenga be conducted in secrete.

Justice Williams Dawudu of Lagos High Court, Ikeja yesterday rejected an application brought before it by Mojisola, the estrange wife of Gbenga Obasanjo, the first son of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, seeking an order that divorce case between her and Gbenga be conducted in secrete.

In her ruling, the judge noted that it is against the spirit and letters of the Nigerian constitution that court proceedings be conducted in secrete, saying that the law is very clear on the issue.

“Section 36 of the 1999 constitution makes it clear under what special circumstance the court can sit in camera and these include when there is threat to the lives of parties in the case, or when public safety cannot be guaranteed, or when the court is satisfied that the administration of justice can be better severed that way.

Justice Dawudu therefore held that devoid of the aforementioned instances, the prayer that members of the public be barred from the case could not stand.
On prayer three, that further publication on the matter be stopped, the judge ruled that this will be in violation of the constitution which gave the right of freedom to obtain and published information. However, the judge further noted that because the two children from the marriage are under aged, the court must protect them from any unfavourable publications as they cannot defend themselves, she ordered that no proceedings of the case involving the children should be published in any form.

Counsel to Mojisola Obasanjo, Mrs. Helen Ovonlen brought the application following some alleged libelous and scandalous publication in the media which has resulted in emotional and psychological trauma to the cross petitioner and her children. “The case has greatly affected the health of my client and that of her children who are still minor, some of these publication are misrepresentation of court proceedings as what is being published are from paper filed and not what happen in this court,” the counsel stated.

According to ovonlen, the cross petitioner is praying the court for an order directing that all proceeding in the suit should be done in secret, and also for an order excluding all persons and their agents who are not directly involved in the case from attending proceedings.

She also urged the judge to grant an order stopping all further publication of the proceedings of the court on the matter, and also an order barring all parties in the suit from issuing any press statement, making comment or issuing document to the press on the case.

In his reply to the motion, counsel to petitioner, Mr. Emmako Addeh prayed the court to dismiss the application on the ground that it is based on sentiment and emotion and not on facts. According to Addeh, “the fact that the court has discretional power to grant the prayers is not in contention, however, in doing so, the court must base its decision on settled law and the facts placed before its.”

He further told the court that, the allegations made by the cross petitioner that the media publication are libelous and scandalous can not just be accepted by the court without her pointing out which part of the publication is offensive or how it affect her. Addeh urged the judge to allow the press to continue to perform their constitutional roles of educating and informing the public as long as they are fair and objective in their reports, noting that there are no special circumstances in the case to warrant the Judge to order that the case should be hear in secret.
The case has been adjourned till June four for further hearing


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Comments (3)

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Abieyuwa(Edo, Nigeria)says...

Otasowie means evening life is better than morning life. There is an error in your “evening life is better than evening life”?

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Naija g(Houston, Minnesota, US)says...

Sokari doesn’t mean joy. Joy is Biobela. Go to the village and ask the meaning of the name.

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.