By Kayode Adeoti
The Kwara State High Court, sitting in Ilorin will today, continue the hearing of suit bothering on the N4bn fine slammed on online medium, Sahara Reporter; Omoyele Sowore for publishing libellous stories against the person of the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki.
At the last adjourned date, the matter took a dramatic twist as Saraki’s counsel, Tunde Olomu filed a contempt application before the trial judge, Justice Sikiru Oyinloye against the Sahara Reporter and it publisher.
But the judge declined hearing the motion on the basis that the contempt involves his personality.
He however ordered that the application be taken to the court registry for re-assignment even as he fixed today, 24th November for resumption of the suit.
“In his ruling, Oyinloye said “I do not want to be a judge in my own court. I hereby direct counsel to Senator Saraki to redirect the contempt application to the registry for re-assignment.”
“I therefore fix 24th of November, 2017 for report on the progress made. I also direct the registrar of this court to make sure the application is expeditiously attended to in the next two weeks.”
Meanwhile, in a motion of notice dated September 11th, 2017, Saraki’s counsel, Tunde Olomu had sought for an order for Sowore (2nd respondent) to appear in court in person and show cause why he should not be committed for contempt of court in respect of publications made scandalising the court.
Also sought was an order refusing audience to the defendant/respondent in respect of pending applications before the court until they purge themselves of the said contempt.
Olomu based his application on “the provision of order 47 of the Kwara State High Court (civil procedure) rules 2005, empowers this court to punish a person for contempt of court by an order for committal; the 2nd defendant had published on several platforms on the World Wide Web, contemptuous and derogatory remarks of this honourable court and the person of the presiding judge, calculated to scandalize the court.”
In his oral application after the ruling, Olomu prayed the court to “stay further proceedings on other applications pending the outcome of the reassignment of the contempt application by the registry.
But in his argument, counsel to the defendant, Stanley Imahuor said the oral application was strange and improper, saying it was an indirect way of ambushing the application which had just been referred to the registry for reassignment.