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Libel: Court orders Linda Ikeji to pay NBM N30m damages

Ese-Kakor

A Delta State High Court in Effurun has awarded N30 million damages against popular Nigerian blogger, Linda Ikeji, for a libellous publication against the Neo-Black Movement of Africa.

The lawsuit had Registered Trustees of NBM of Africa, Ese Kakor, Felix Kupa and Mayor Onyebueke as the Claimants against Linda Ikeji as Defendant.

In a ruling on Monday, in Suit No: EHC/210/2021, Presiding Justice Roli Daibo-Harriman, also ordered the absent Defendant, to pay N300,000 as being the cost of litigation.

The Defendant was further ordered to place a publication on her blog and national dailies retracting the libellous publication for which the NBM dragged her to the court, just as she is restrained from further damaging publications against the Claimants.

The NBM of Africa took to court action after she failed to honour a letter by the Claimant demanding retraction and apology over the libellous article published on her blog on Oct. 19, 2021.

The blogger in her publication of 19 October 2021 allegedly labelled the NBM of Africa as a dreaded cult group, black axe, and criminal organisation among other names.

The Claimants approached the court, praying for N1bn damages and an unreserved apology to be published on her blog and two national dailies among others.

Justice Daibo-Harriman, in her ruling, described the tags, including dreaded cultist group, black axe and criminal organisation as used in the Defendant’s publication as all defamatory.

Counsel to the Claimants, Kelvin Agbroko, noted that the ruling, “Will serve as a lesson to bloggers that it is not every item you publish. It is good to verify information before making a publication.

He said, “NBM of Africa is a legal organisation duly registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission. The publication made by the Defendant against my client has been cleared that it was a damaging publication.

“NBM is good to go, we are going to take all necessary steps to enforce the terms of the judgment against her. It was an erudite judgement that is all-encompassing and will be difficult to fault.”

President of the NBM of Africa, Ese Kakor said the outcome of the case had been on for about two years.

He said, “What Ikeji did was just to sell in a bid to defame the character of NBM of Africa. It is very wrong.

“I advised other bloggers not to follow the same steps as they may also face similar litigation. Do not try and defame peoples’ character. NBM has nothing to do with cultism, black axe. It is not a criminal organisation but a well-registered organisation.”

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