- The publisher of the online medium, Sahara Reporters has accused Senate President Bukola Saraki, for fraudulently obtaining court order to freeze its account
- Sahara Reporters claimed that Saraki used his intrigues and influence over the State Security Service to get its media lab account frozen
- The publisher of the online medium however said that Saraki blocked only funds in the bank accounts in Nigeria but its activities have always been ran from the United States
The publisher of the online medium, Sahara Reporters, has made a pledge to challenge an order of a Kwara state High Court which blocked bank accounts linked to him last month.
Omoyele Sowore said the July 25 garnishee order in Ilorin, the state capital, was ''fraudulently procured'' by the Senate President Bukola Saraki, as part of an ongoing libel suit against him and his platform, Premium Times reports.
Legit.ng gathered that judge, Adeyinka Oyinloye, had issued the order to the United Bank for Africa, (UBA) and Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) bankers of Sowore and Sahara Reporters, instructing them to immediately seize all funds held in a string of accounts associated with the defendants.
Media rights advocates condemned development and warned judicial officers to exercise restraint in pronouncing judgments in libel cases.
Oyinloye’s order came nearly a month after he also awarded Saraki up to N4 billion in damages on June 28.
The judge also said Sahara Reporters and Sowore must pay 10 per cent (N400 million) interest on the N4 billion monthly until both the principal damages and accrued interests are finally cleared.
It was learnt that Saraki instituted the case in Ilorin, his hometown where he is considered the most powerful political personality, accusing Sahara Reporters of publishing defamatory content against his personality.
The four stories at issue, which included news and opinion contents, were published between September and December 2015, court filings published by Vanguard Newspapers showed.
Although the Vanguard was said to have quoted Saraki’s lawyers as alleging that Sowore frustrated all efforts to serve court summons on him, the publisher contradicted the claim in an exchange with Premium Times.
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He explained that Saraki’s lawyers and associates ‘conspired’ to send court papers to wrong addresses both in Nigeria and United States in order to deprive him of a chance to defend himself before the judge.
Sowore said: ''So, you can see they deliberately sent it to the wrong address so we won’t be aware of the lawsuit.
''They blocked only funds in the bank accounts in Nigeria. But our activities have always been run from the United States. But Saraki used his intrigues and influence over the State Security Service to get the Media Lab account frozen''.
Meanwhile, Legit.ng had reported that Yusuph Olaniyonu, the special adviser on media and publicity to the Senate President Bukola Saraki, debunked some reports that an agitations by certain groups that prompted Senate to stop the payment of his pensions.
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