Court orders Concord Newspaper to pay Samuel Ortom N5 million

Justice Adam Onum, of the Makurdi High Court, has ordered Ab’iodun Oluwarotimi, Editor-in-Chief of Nigerian Concord Newspaper, to pay Samuel Ortom, Governor of Benue State, the sum of N5 million as damages for libel.

Ortom had approached the court asking it to grant the sum of N10 billion against Oluwarotimi for publishing an article which the Governor claimed defamed his character and reputation.

Throughout the trial, Oluwarotimi, the accused person, refused to appear in court, even when the presiding Judge directed that he be served the writ of summons through substituted means in two National Dailies and through his Facebook handle.



    At an earlier hearing in October, the prosecution presented evidences, including Oluwarotimi’s comment on the writ of summons that was posted on his facebook timeline, to prove that he actually read the summons but deliberately refused to show up in court.

    Justice Onum also ordered Oluwarotimi to retract all the libelous publications in national newspapers, television, radio and social media platforms as well as tender apologies which must be published in the national dailies within 14 days of the judgement.

    Andrew Wombo, counsel to the Benue State government, expressed satisfaction with the judgement and said that he would take every legal step to ensure that the judgement will be enforced.

    “Although the motive for instituting the case was not for financial benefit, we will make sure the defendant pays the money as a deterrent against those bent on publishing falsehood against others,” Wombo said.

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