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Benin High Court Awards Oshiomhole N25 Million In Libel Suit
By Jefferson Ibiwale/Benin
A High Court in Benin City has awarded the sum of N25million as damages to the Edo state Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, in deciding a libel suit against Docklands Communication and one Loye Amzat, publishers and Editor of the News of the People Magazine.
In the suit, Oshiomhole had dragged the soft sell weekly magazine to court demanding for N250m as damages over a report with the headline, “Oshiomhole’s Sex Power Exposed: Impregnates Young Girl Six Months After Death of Wife”.
Governor Oshiomhole who personally appeared in court as witness said the publication libelled his person and that the defendant, among other things, falsely wrote that he bought the said girl a jeep including interfering in the academic activities of Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, on behalf of the girl.
Oshiomhole also said the magazine alleged that he used sexual enhancement drugs and that he had done traditional marriage with the purported girl, just as he added that the edition, which was widely circulated, coincided with the preparations of one of his daughter’s wedding.
He told the court that he demanded damages because the said the publication caused him and his children psychological trauma just six months after the death of his wife.
Justice Efe Ikponmwen in his judgment also ordered the defendant to publish a well-worded retraction and apology in a similarly conspicuous manner in an edition of the magazine.
The trial Judge held that the governor’s evidence proved that the magazine publication was libellous.
Justice Ikponmwen noted that even though the public has a right to know about a public officer, such information should be in line with the law.