A federal judge, Valentine Ashi, has held ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo’s decision to launch his autobiography, My Watch, contemptuous of his court, after the former spurned an order stopping the event.
Ashi also asked the former president “to show cause why he should not be punished for contempt and ordered to undo what he has wrongly done.” The judge gave Obasanjo 21 days to depose to an affidavit why he should not be punished for for “publishing and distributing for sale to the public” the said book
Justice Ashi further restrained Obasanjo or his agents from further publishing or selling the book “or the like of the visual or written materials which contains a re-publication or statement extracted from the letter referred to by the plaintiff.”
He also gave an enrolled order to be served on all media houses, and instructed the police, Department of State Security, DSS, Nigeria Immigration Service and the Nigerian Customs Service to mop copies of the book already in circulation and bring to the court at the next hearing date.
The court , on 5 December, restrained Obasanjo from publishing the said book, based on the application to the court by a member of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Kashamu Buruji. Buruji’s counsel, Alex Iziyon, senior advocate, had told the court that the book contained imputation of criminal activities by Obasanjo against his client, and for which a libel suit had already been instituted in another court.
Obasanjo, during the launch, castigated the judge for granting the injunction, which according to him was to take effect on the same day (the day of the launch) as the hearing of the substantive suit.