Anenih loses N500m libel suit against Oshiomhole's spokesman, broadcast station

By The Citizen

A High Court, sitting in Benin, has dismissed a N500m libel suit instituted by the Chairman, Board of Trustees of the Peoples Democratic Party, Chief Tony Anenih, against the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State, Mr. Peter Okhiria, and the Edo State Broadcasting Service.

In a judgment delivered by Justice U.I Erameh in consolidated Suit Nos: B/285/2010 & B/366/2010 between the PDP chief, as the claimant, and the CPS to the governor, Edo Broadcasting Corporation and Bendel Newspaper Company Limited, who are the defendants, the court refused the prayers of Anenih to declare that a the statement on behalf of the Edo State Government in 2010 was libelous and, therefore, refused the prayer for N500m damages, among others.

Justice Eremeh added that before the publication of the statement in the consolidated suits, in respect of the bomb scare at the premises of the state assembly and EBS , there was serious security tension in the state and as such the publication was needed to keep the public abreast with the security situation in the state.

The court also awarded N50,000 cost against Anenih in favour of the first and second defendants.

It, however, entered a N25m judgment against Bendel Newspaper Company Limited for not entering defence in time in the suit which commenced in 2010.

It could be recalled that Anenih had filed the suit against Okhiria and the broadcasting station in 2010, alleging that a statement issued by the governor's aide on a bomb scare at EBS and the Edo State House of Assembly had maligned him.