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COURT ADJOURNS ORJI'S LIBEL CASE AGAINST SUN NEWSPAPERS TO NOVEMBER 11

By Nnaji Obed Asiegbu Obedng

AN Abia State High Court sitting in Ohafia and presided over by Justice Amanze Chikwendu Chioma has fixed November 11, 2013, for hearing in the libel suit instituted by the first son of Abia State Governor, Chief Theodore Orji, Engr. Chinedu Orji against the SUN Newspapers and Ebere Wabara.

The adjournment followed two motions filed by lawyer to the Defendants, Mr. A. C. Arinze to the effect that the second Defendant, Wabara was not served with the court processes.

Though lawyers to the claimant led by Dr. Livy Uzoukwu, SAN, did not object the motions, he however told the court that they were “calculated attempt by the defendants to stall hearing in the matter."

Uzoukwu complained that the motions which dated July 9th, 2014 and September 17th, respectively, were only served them on September 29, an action he said was part of the effort to frustrate the matter from proceeding.

But Arinze in his reply said that they did not have any plan to stall proceedings of the matter and blamed the late service on location of the claimant's counsel which he said was outside the court's jurisdiction.

Before adjourning the matter, Justice Chioma told the claimant's lawyers to provide an address within jurisdiction for easy service of processes to them.

Chinedu, an engineer, has in Suit No. HON/5/2014 dragged the newspaper to court for allegedly calling him “a terrorist” who was involved in “terrorist's activities” in one of its articles on its March 10th 2014 edition, saying that the meaning was that he is a law breaker and a criminal.

In the suit the Claimant is therefore claiming the sum of N5 billion as damages for libel and an unreserved apology to be published at least three editions of the newspaper.

He is also asking for an Order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants or their agents from further writing or publishing the said libelous matter or similar one against him.


Ojukwu Benjamin | 12/23/2014 11:02:00 PM
It is a very serious crime to commit libel most especially situations such as this. Even pictures or effigies are also held to be libelous. This type of libel is referred to as criminal libel, where the publication of words is calculated to provoke a bridge of peace and in this case the publication of THE SUN has angered Mr. Orji. Mr. Orji complaint is that THE SUN wrote that Mr. Orji who is also known as Mr. Chinedu is a terrorist and has been involved in the recent bombings in Nigeria. The words or statements complained of must actually have been published. In other words it must have been made known to the public, in this article we were not told if the publication was actually made know to the public, but either way if it was made known to the public without concrete evidence then the plaintiff Mr. Chinedu has every right to file suit against such publication as long as he is able to prove that the statement is defamatory that was actually referred to him. At this point a cause of action is already established and it is upon the defendant to give reasons why he published the defamatory statement about the plaintiff Mr. Chinedu. If the defendant is able to prove that the alleged defamatory publication is true, then I don’t think there’s any case because the defendant has been able to prove that the plaintiff Mr. Chinedu has no case of defamation. In some way we cannot tell if the publication was actually a fair comment i.e. if the statement complained of is comments made in good faith and without malice on a matter of public interest. According to school of taught argues that a fair comment on a matter of public interest or submitted for public criticism is not actionable. These defenses further protect freedom of expression as part of fundamental human rights. department of mass communication Caleb university, Imota, Lagos
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