Benue: Oshiomhole loses bid to stop Ortom’s suit

A Makurdi High Court presided over by Justice Augustine Ityonyiman
today dismissed the preliminary objections filed by the National
Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole
and the APC in a N10 billion defamation suit filed against them by
Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State.

When the case came up, counsel to Adams Oshiomole and the All
Progressives Congress, APC, Mr Damian Dodo, urged the court to dismiss
the suit as, according to him, leave of court was not sought before
service was done outside jurisdiction.

Counsel to Governor Ortom, Barr. Samuel Irabor who had earlier filed a
counter-affidavit and written address against the preliminary
objection, told the court that the objections of the APC National
Chairman was lacking in merit as leave was granted by the High Court
on 24th August, 2018.

He further argued that at any rate, the requirement for leave was
alien to the Sheriffs and Civil Process Act, 2004 and the Benue State
High Court Civil Procedure Rules, 2009 as it was only required in
matters filed at the Federal High Court.

Ruling on the matter, Justice Ityonyiman held that the defendants,
having filed a defence on the merit, were deemed to have joined issues
with the plaintiff and consequently waived their right of objection.

He thereafter dismissed the preliminary objections of Comrade
Oshiomhole and the APC, and adjourned the suit to February 28th , 2019
for hearing.

Governor Ortom in the suit among other things, averred that Oshiomhole
allegedly assassinated his character and damaged his reputation when
in an APC sponsored press conference held on Friday July 27, 2018, the
APC Chairman accused him of having a hand in the death of two Catholic
priests and other parishioners at Mbalom community on the ground that
one of the priests had preached a 'very critical sermon' against him
(the Governor).

Some of the reliefs sought by Governor Ortom included the N10 billion
suit against Oshiomole include "a declaration by the court that the
Defendants' allegations and publication of July 27 against him are
false, mischievous, unsubstantiated, defamatory and libelous.

"An order directing the defendants to publish simultaneous
retractions/apologies in respect of the said libelous publication
against him in the Sunday editions of 10 National Dailies circulating
within Benue State as well as paid advertorials to the same effect on
the prime time beats of the Nigerian Television Authority, Channels
Tv, TVC News, African Independent Television, Independent Television
(ITV), Benin, Radio Nigeria, Radio Benue and Harvest FM."

"An Order of Perpetual Injunction restraining the Defendants, their
officers, privies, assigns, surrogates or agents whosoever called from
further defaming and libeling the Plaintiff's character and reputation
and any other order(s) that the Court may deem fit to make in the

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