The Federal High Court in Abuja has scheduled November 23, 2023, as the hearing date for two applications filed by human rights activist Omoyele Sowore in response to the defamation and cyberstalking charges brought against him by Nigerian businessman and lawmaker Ned Nwoko.
Sowore, represented by his counsel Tope Temokun, submitted two applications aimed at dismissing the charges of cyberstalking and defamation filed by Ned Nwoko, which also involve the online news outlet SaharaReporters.
The presiding judge, Justice Emeka Nwite, confirmed that all the applications would be heard on the upcoming adjourned date.
Temokun is seeking the court’s intervention to nullify the service of the charges intended for SaharaReporters on Sowore while he was in the dock. Additionally, he has requested the court to dismiss the extensive charges related to cyberstalking and defamation against both Sowore and SaharaReporters.
The prosecution counsel, Edwin Inegbenoise, informed the court that he had submitted counter affidavits in response to the applications presented by the defense counsel. Inegbenoise, who has previously encountered difficulties in serving legal documents to the defendants, claimed that he was unable to locate the address of the defense counsel, despite its clear presence in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.
This delay in service prevented the court from advancing with the case, as the counter affidavits were delivered to the defense counsel inside the courtroom.
Temokun, when addressing journalists, highlighted the extended duration of the case between the Commissioner of Police, FCT, and Omoyele Sowore, which had been ongoing since 2022. He emphasized that a criminal case should typically commence with arraignment, followed by the substantive aspects of the allegations.
However, the irregularity of the proceedings, as well as the prosecution’s actions, raised questions about their commitment to the case. Temokun criticized the decision to use the police to sue Sowore and SaharaReporters for defamation, emphasizing the flimsy nature of the charges and the attempt to add additional counts not originally part of Ned Nwoko’s complaint, based on a Twitter post.