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NBTE boss wins defamation case

The FCT High Court has dismissed suit brought before it by one Mrs Bilikisu Sanusi, a staff of the Budget Office of the Federation against the Executive Secretary, National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), Professor Idris Bugaje.

Speaking to newsmen in Abuja after the court case, Mr. Kamaluddin Umar and H.M. Nasir, lawyers to Bugaje, the defendant, said the case was dismissed because it lacked merit.

‘The suit emanated from a letter of complaint written against the Desk Officer in the expenditure office, Budget Office of the Federation by the defendant, the former Rector, Federal Polytechnics Kaduna in 2019.

”Bugaje, the defendant worked together with the management team of the polytechnic to visit the budget office of the federation to see how they can get the budget increased. Immediately Bugaje met Sanusi at the budget office, she demanded N30 million bribe, he refused to pay her the said amount and explained that it was not contained in the handover notes. Bugaje explained to her the situation of the polytechnic as at then and his refusal to pay the said N30 million,” Umar said.

Umar also said that in 2018, when the polytechnic further submitted the budget of 2019, they experienced similar demand of N30 million in which Sanusi later agreed to reduce to N10 million.

He said that Bugaje, who has zero tolerance for corruption, refused to pay the money in consequence of which she caused the budget to be slashed by more than 5.2% .

This, he said made Bugaje to write a complaint to the DG office budget and expenditure on 15, April, 2019, requesting the office to caution the desk officer on her demands to influence the budget.

He added that Sanusi after getting hold of the letter, decided to institute a suit before the FCT high which was assigned to FCT High court 27.

‘The suit reads, ‘Suit FCT/ HC/CV/541/2021was instituted by the plaintiff against the defendant seeking that the defendant’s publication of April 15, 2019 defamed the person of the plaintiff.

”The plaintiff also sought an order directing and or compelling the defendants to forthwith retract the said statement so published and tender apology to the plaintiff in two national dailies.

” The plaintiff demanded damages in the sum of one billion naira against the defendant and in favour of the plaintiff as compensation for the defendants’ wrong against her person.

”The plaintiff as well demanded a 10 per cent post judgment interest on the judgment sum from the date of judgment until the liquidation of same by the defendants”.

He, however, said that the case was dismissed by the court after series of testimonies by both plaintiff and defendant.

The court upheld the defence of justification and qualified privilege raised by Kamaluddin Umar, counsel to Bugaje and held that Sanusi did not prove the case of defamation.

Reporting by Daniel Adejoh; Editing by Chinasa Ossai and Annabel Nwachukwu