Umahi sues online newspaper for libel, demands N2bn

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Ebonyi State Governor David Umahi sued an online newspaper, Peoples Gazette, for allegedly defamatory publications.

In the lawsuit marked HAB / 36/2021 and filed in a High Court in Abakaliki, Umahi and two other plaintiffs, Austin Umahi and Brass Engineering and Construction Nigeria Limited, said the “offensive” publications of the 29 and January 30, 2021, had caused the “particular and special damages”.

The complainants’ statement named the Peoples Gazette and the author of the said defamatory reports, Nimi Princewil, respectively 1st and 2nd defendants.

The plaintiffs in the case filed by their lawyer, Chukwuma-Machukwu Ume (SAN), said in their statement that the sum of 2 billion naira sought in damages would be donated to charity, if their action was successful. .

According to Governor Umahi, the newspaper’s defamatory reports “had significant negative effects on his political career”.

He claimed he suffered a loss of confidence within his political base, as many of his knowledgeable political associates immediately avoided him after the posts.

The plaintiffs informed the court that they had suffered a general decline in activity, as they had suffered a loss of income and finances.

As a result of the above, the plaintiffs stated that the defendants were liable to a payment of 2 billion naira as atonement for bringing “shame, mockery and humiliation to the plaintiffs through non-published publications. founded “.

The governor and two other plaintiffs, in their aid, urged the court to force the defendants to retract all “derogatory publications” against them.

Other remedies included: “A court order for the defendants to issue a written apology to the plaintiffs.” The withdrawal and the apology must be disseminated and / or published: AIT, in two national dailies and in all other internet networks / social networks where the defamations have been published.

“A court order to the defendants to pay the plaintiffs the sum of $ 2 billion as damages and aggravated damages for defamation of the plaintiffs (and said sum to be shared by the defendants to all orphanages as it will be run by the complainants.

“A perpetual injunction order prohibiting the defendants, whether by their servants, agents or others, from publishing or causing to be published said defamations or the like against the plaintiffs. ”

“An award of the sum of N2 million only, being the cost of filing and pursuing this lawsuit.”

Meanwhile, Judge EA Ngene granted the plaintiffs an application for ex parte leave to serve the summons and other relevant proceedings regarding the lawsuit on the 1st and 2nd out-of-court defendants.

The case had been adjourned until May 17, 2021 for a pre-trial conference.

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