Nigeria

Judge’s absence stalls hearing of N1 billion suit against Kaduna polytechnic, rector

The Federal Government says it is renovating and upgrading existing Kaduna Polytechnic Students’ hostels through Public-Private Partnership (PPP).

The absence of Justice Hamza Muazu of High Court of the Federal Capital Territory on Tuesday, stalled the hearing of a N1 billion right enforcement suit filed against the Kaduna Polytechnic and its Rector, Professor Idris Bugaje, over an allegation of malicious publication.

The suit marked FCT/HC/CV/154/2021, was filed by a civil servant, Mrs Bikikisu Sannusi.

However, the matter could not go on due to the absence of the trial judge.

The registrar told newsmen that the court would not sit because of the inauguration of 22 new Judges of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, on Tuesday, at the Supreme Court.

Consequently, the matter has been adjourned to January 31, 2022, for hearing.

In the suit filed by Bob11 Opara, Mrs Sannusi claimed that the respondents had in a publication dated 15th April 2019, made statements that were malicious and a calculated attempt at bringing her personality into disrepute.

However, she submitted that what was contained in the said publication, were untrue and false, and therefore, is demanding the sum of N1bn as damages.

Also, she wants a court order for the defendants to retract the malicious statement and tender an apology to her.

In the statement of claim dated February 24, 2021, Mrs Sannusi, a civil servant in the budget office of the Ministry of Finance said by virtue of her schedule as Desk Officer in charge of Kaduna Polytechnic budget preparation schedule, sometime in 2018, she prepared the school personnel budget for 2018 and did it to the best of her ability.

“That premised on the memo and recommendations of the plaintiff in response to Kaduna Polytechnic application for an increase in personnel budget, duly received, reviewed and recommended by the Director, Expenditure Social, Budget Manager and Director General budget office of the federation, the sum of N7,362144,510,91k was approved.

“The plaintiff discharged her duty with respect to the application for an increase of personnel budget without favour and under supervision and review of her superior officers.

“Sometimes on 15th July 2020, while testifying in an Investigative Panel of Inquiry, constituted after her complaint against some of her colleagues for corrupt practices, she was confronted with a letter of complaint authored by the defendant where she was described in the most uncharitable words, which statement referred to the plaintiff as not only incompetent, but corrupt, but the committee refused to give her a copy.”

According to her, the defamatory letter was dated 15th April 2019/and the purpose of the letter was to malign her.

She said she was denied a copy until she stumbled on it while walking in the lobby within the Federal Ministry of Finance.

In the letter, the defendant had accused the plaintiff of asking them to do the ”needful’ to be able to assist them to increase their budget.”

Mrs Sannusi’s lawyer said, “The defendants’ sole purpose of authorising the letter of 15th April 2019 is to malign the plaintiff and same was made maliciously especially as its content is spurious and totally untrue but did achieve the aim of the makers as contents therein did upon coming to the knowledge of her colleague who saw it lowered her person before them who before seeing same held her in high esteem thereby losing her over three decades of integrity in the civil service.”

The defendants were on a vendetta because they were fingered in the corrupt practices complaint lodged by the plaintiff against them and some of her colleagues who conspired with them to manipulate the personnel budget of the Kaduna Polytechnic for the year 2020.

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