Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, has been found guilty of contempt for publishing his memoirs. The court ordered the police, Department of State Service (DSS), and Nigeria Customs Service to confiscate the book, while also restraining media houses from publishing excerpts.
On December 5, an interim order restraining the former president from publishing his memoirs, My Watch, was given by Valentine Ashi, a justice of the Abuja high court. However, on Tuesday, Obasanjo went ahead to launch the book, arguing that it had already been published before the court’s order.
On Wednesday, Ashi ruled that it was irrelevant that the book was published before the interim order, adding that Obasanjo should have obeyed the court’s order. “The fact that the book was published in November is irrelevant. As long as the substantive suit is not yet determined, no party is entitled to publish or comment on material facts that are yet to be decided on by the court,” he said. Ashi also gave the former president 21 days to explain why he should not be punished. “I hold the defendant, not only in contempt of the court, but to show cause why he should not be punished for contempt and ordered to undo what he has wrongly done,” he added. Buruji Kashamu, leader of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) mobilisation committee in the south-west, had a week ago filed motion no: FCT/HC/M/2392/2014 at the Abuja high court seeking an ex parte injunction restraining Obasanjo from publishing his memoirs. He accused the former president of libeling him in the book, hence his move to stop its publication.