From Austine Tule, Makurdi
A Makurdi Chief Magistrate Court on Wednesday dismissed the preliminary objection filed by Alhaji Abubakar Tsav to stop his prosecution by the Benue State Government for injurious falsehood.
Ruling on a motion challenging the jurisdiction of the court, Mr Isaac Ajim, a chief Magistrate, stated that his court had Jurisdiction to entertain the case.
He stated that the doors of the temple of justice must at all times be open with its lights on to draw back the darkness that hovers around those who have injured or those whose rights have been infringed upon by the terror of unjust treatment.
The Attorney General of Benue State, Mr Michael Gusa, had instituted direct criminal proceedings against Alhaji Tsav, the Public Complaints Commissioner in Benue State, for contravening section 394 of the Penal Code Laws of Benue State, 2004.
The Attorney General’s complaint was based on a letter which Alhaji Tsav wrote to Governor Samuel Ortom on 16th May, 2017, and copied to the presidency and other Anti-graft bodies, and which was also circulated in the media.
The Attorney General submitted that the said letter contained injurious falsehood against the governor and Government of Benue State, and was capable of inciting the people against his government.
The former Lagos State Police Commissioner had objected to the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the case, stating that the case was an abuse of court process, that it was premature, an abuse of executive power, and that it constituted unlawful and illegal harassment.
Reacting to the ruling, Counsel to Alhaji Tsav, Mr Anthony Agadah, said he will appeal against the ruling.
Counsel to the Benue State Government, Mr Andew Wombo, expressed satisfaction with the ruling, stating that, the decision of the court to entertain the case was a step in the right direction.
Mr Ajim subsequently adjourned the case to the 16th of May, 2018 for hearing of the application for stay of proceedings and the main case.