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Oshiomhole opts for out-of-court settlement in N10bn libel suit

Published by The Nation on Wed, 14 Oct 2020

By Uja Emmanuel, MakurdiA former Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Comrade Adams Oshiomole sought for an out-of -court settlement in the N10 billion libel suit instituted against him by Benue Governor, Samuel Ortom.Oshiomhole, in the early days of the suit, had filed 6 preliminary objections, which the court resolved all in Governor Ortoms favour.Ortom had filed the suit against the former APC chairman over his comments against him in an APC sponsored press conference on July 27,2018 .Oshiomhole had accused him of having a hand in the death of two Catholic priests and other parishioners at Mbalom Community, Gwer East local government on the grounds that one of the priests had preached a very critical sermon against him (the Governor).When the case resumed for definite hearing, counsel to Governor Samuel Ortom, Samuel Irabor, submitted he was ready to call his witnesses.But Oshiomoles counsel had informed him that they have considered putting up a retraction of the publication ready within a week.He continued in such circumstances, he was applying for another date to take a look at the terms of settlement canvassed by Oshiomhole.Titus Akuhwa, who held the brief of Oshiomholes counsel, Festus Jumbo confirmed the submission of Ortoms lawyer.That is the true position of the matter. We have met and we are drawing out terms of settlement, he stressed.The Presiding judge, Justice Augustine Ityonyiman , after listening to the parties, adjourned the case to October 29, for report on the out-of-court settlement.Ortom, in the suit, among other things, averred that Oshiomhole allegedly assassinated his character and damaged his reputation with his comment at the press conference.Some of the reliefs sought by Governor Ortom include the N10 billion suit against Oshiomhole include a declaration by the court that the Defendants allegations and publication of July 27 against him are false, mischievous, unsubstantiated, defamatory and libelous.An order directing the defendants to publish simultaneous retractions/apologies in respect of the said libelous publication against him in the Sunday editions of 10 National Dailies circulating within Benue State as well as paid advertorials to the same effect on the prime time beats of the Nigerian Television Authority, Channels Tv, TVC News, African Independent Television, Independent Television (ITV), Benin, Radio Nigeria, Radio Benue and Harvest FM.An Order of Perpetual Injunction restraining the Defendants, their officers, privies, assigns, surrogates or agents whosoever called from further defaming and libeling the Plaintiffs character and reputation and any other order(s) that the Court may deem fit to make in the circumstance.
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