From Jefferson Ibiwale, Benin
Justice Gladys Olotu of the Federal High Court, Abuja, has sued the management of Leaders and Company Ltd, publishers of ThisDay Newspapers Ltd, for a libellous publication against her and is demanding for the sum of N2 billion as compensation.
Olutu told the Edo State High Court presided over by Justice V.O. Eboreime that the said publication appeared on the Wednesday November 13, 2012 edition of the newspaper with the headline, “EFCC probes seven judges for corruption”.
The paper said that Olotu was being investigated for owning several bank accounts in several local banks and in the United Kingdom as well as significant stocks in various companies and several properties in Abuja, Lagos and Benin.
It said in addition that Olotu is believed to be worth more than N2 billion in cash, going by findings by Economic Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC and other investigators.
The claimant told the court that the said publication is not only untrue but a well orchestrated plan to harmfully malign and hurtfully libel her before the members of the public and humiliate her, adding that it has caused her unquantifiable damage and also loss of good will and destruction of reputation.
She demanded for the payment of N2 billion for damages and a withdrawal of the libellous publication with an apology to be given a prominent place on the front page of seven widely read newspapers including ThisDay and on the Internet.
Justice Eboreime adjourned the case till March 24, 2014, to allow the defendants file in their statement of defense.
Meanwhile, the National Judicial Council, NJC, has ordered the compulsory retirement of Olotu and Justice U.A. Inyang of the Abuja High Court for gross misconduct.
A statement signed by NJC’s acting director of information, Soji Oye, said the two judges had been suspended pending the time President Goodluck Jonathan would approve their retirement.
He said the decision was taken at the council meeting held on February 6, 2014 and is with immediate effect.
The council also issued warnings to a former acting president of the Court of Appeal, Justice Dalhatu Adamu and two high court judges, Justice A.A. Adeleye of the High Court of Ekiti State and Justice D.O. Amaechina of the High Court of Justice of Anambra State.