President Muhammadu Buhari through the Office of his Chief of Staff, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, has been subpoenaed by a US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
The subpoena was issued in connection with a lawsuit involving Simbi Kesiye Wabote and Jackson Ude, a Nigerian-American journalist residing in the United States.
President Buhari was summoned in his capacity as President and Minister of Petroleum.
Wabote (Plaintiff), the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board has filed a defamation of character lawsuit against Ude (Defendant), an international award-winning journalist known for investigative journalism, in a US court.
According to Wabote, Ude defamed his character through his online publication, pointblanknews.com, with a story alleging that he financially compromised his position as Executive Secretary of the NCDMB and abused the privileges of his office in the run-up to the launch of Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Train 7.
However, in entering appearance for the journalist, Beneth O. Amadi of the Amadi Law Office at 204 Blossom Street Extension, Suite A. Lynn MA 01901, persuaded the court to summon President Buhari to explain why and if he granted Wabote waiver to operate foreign bank accounts, which the court defined as “any account operated outside the borders of Nigeria.”
The President was ordered to produce “any, every, and all documents fully and specifically explaining why plaintiff, Simbi Wabote, is allowed by the Nigerian government to operate foreign bank accounts while other public officials and public officers are prohibited and/or forbidden from opening and/or operating foreign bank accounts,” according to the subpoena.
The court also extended the subpoena issued on December 7, 2021, to Abubakar Malami (SAN), Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, and Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
Isaac Yalah of the NCDMB, Mohammed Umar, Director, Legal Services, NCDMB, Saipem Contracting Nigeria Limited, the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, and the Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission were among those summoned.
According to the Pennsylvania Record, a Nigerian named Simbi Kesiye Wabote filed a legal complaint against Jackson Ude on May 17.
It said: “The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania reported the following activity in the suit brought by Simbi Kesiye Wabote against Jackson Ude on May 17: ‘Order That Counsel For Plaintiff[s] Must Serve This Order On Every Party To This Case Immediately After The Party’s First Appearance, Unless This Case, Was Removed From State Court, In Which Case This Responsibility Falls On Counsel For The Party Who Removed The Case; Etc. As Herein. Signed By Honorable Joseph F. Leeson, Jr On 5/17/21.
“Case number 5:21-cv-02214-JFL was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on May 14.”
In the US court, both parties had filed claims and counterclaims.
According to the defendant’s lawyer, the subpoenas were sent to significant players in the Nigerian oil and gas value chain, and their replies would aid in the case’s resolution.