July 20, 2024

Suspended APC Lawmaker Institutes N3bn Libel Suit Against Edo Speaker, Media Houses

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By Reporter

A lawmaker on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC),representing Esan North-East 1,in the Edo State House of Assembly,Hon Addeh Isibor has instituted N3 billion libel suit against Hon Blessing Agbebaku, the Speaker of the House and seven media houses.

Midwest Herald reports that the lawmaker instituted the libel suit at a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja in a suit number FCT/HC/CVI/2856/2024 and dated June 19, 2024.

The media houses sued along the Speaker are the Punch Nigeria limited, Arise Global media limited, Cable media and publishing limited, Polance media limited, DAAR Communications Plc, I.B.W. Enterprises Nigeria limited and Channels media limited.

In his writ of summons, filed by the lawmaker’s counsel, Nnaemeka J.J. Okeke of Garba & Okeke & Co chamber, alleged that the defendants had between May 6 and May 7, 2024 made defamatory statements and libelous publications against him.

According to the writ of summon, the Claimant, a legal practitioner and a devout Christian from a devout Christian family, claims against the Defendants, jointly and severally, in libel for the broadcast the 1st defendant made on the 6th of May 2024, during the plenary of the Edo State House of Assembly, and the re-broadcast and publication by the 2nd to 8th Defendants on print, electronic, and online media on the 7th of May 2024 and other various dates

The claimant is, however, praying the court to order the defendants to pay him N3 billion damages jointly and severally, N50 million being the cost of the suit and 10 % Court interest on the damages from the date of judgment until judgment debts is fully paid

He also prayed the court to mandate the Speaker of the House, to immediately publish in five print media and five Online media a retraction of the defamatory statement together with an unqualified apology.

In addition, he prayed the court to mandate the 2nd to 8th defendants to also immediately publish a retraction of the said defamatory publications and broadcasts in their respective media.

He averred that the first defendant had on May 6, 2024 during a plenary sitting at the Edo State House of Assembly alleged that the claimant and two other members also suspended brought a herbalist into the premises of the Assembly by 1 am in the morning to plant some charms in the Assembly’s compound.

“On 30th of April, some members of this House tried to change the leadership of this House without no reason but to God be the glory they were exposed and know the meaning and consequence of that day.

“They did not just end there, they went ahead bringing a herbalist into this House of Assembly premises to plant some charms in the Edo State House of Assembly compound by 1am in the morning without knowing that the CCTV camera will expose their nocturnal acts and we have the proof.

“By this Act of trying to create satanic disorder in the Edo State House of Assembly.

“The following members were involved in this nefarious acts are Honourable Bright lyamu (PDP), representing Orhionnowon Il constituency, Honourable Donald Okogbe, (PDP) representing Akoko-Edo Il Constituency, Honourable Addeh Emmankhu (APC), representing Esan North East 1 Constituency.

“By this mode these three members are hereby suspended from this House of Assembly indefinitely”,he quoted the speaker of the House.

He stated that the 2nd to 8th defendants rebroadcast the said false and libelous statement made by the Speaker on their various media online and Youtube on May 7, 2024.

The claimant posited that the said statement made by the Speaker of the House of Assembly was equally published to the whole digital world, including the Federal Capital Territory, by the news media available in Nigeria, whose duty is to report parliamentary proceedings in the Edo State House of Assembly

He alleged that by the natural and ordinary meaning of the words used by the 1st Defendant, published and rebroadcast by the media houses means that the lawmaker is fetish and patronizing fetish practices, diabolical and a pagan.

He further, averred that by way of innuendoes the words also portrayed the claimant as hypocrite who practices paganism, voodoo, witchcraft and diabolism but pretends to be a Christian.

The counsel particularly noted that the words used in paragraphs 6 and 8 of the publications and rebroadcast by the media houses are calculated to disparage the Claimant personally and politically.

He opined that the first defendant’s statement that was re-broadcast and publications by the 2nd to 8th defendants have damaged severely the reputation of the Claimant in the eyes of his learned colleagues, co-parishioners, church members, clientele, his constituents among others.

“In consequence the Claimant’s personal and business reputation have been damaged and he has suffered considerable distress and embarrassment, including belittling Claimant in the estimation of his constituents, colleagues, co-parishioners, political associations, Christian faithful”, he averred.

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