ABUJA (Sundiata Post) – After serious fireworks which lasted for about one year, a high court of the Federal Capital Territory has awarded a N5.5m damages against a lawyer and Executive Director of Due Process Advocate, Emeka Ugwuonye.
He was ordered by the court to pay the money in favour of Ifeanyi Ejiofor, counsel to the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
Justice Njideka Nwosu-Iheme also granted a perpetual injunction restraining the defendant, his agents, associates, privies and/or proxies howsoever called, from carrying out any libelous publication against Ejiofor.
Ejiofor had in the suit marked: CV/535/2022 taken Ugwuonye, an activist and lawyer to the FCT High Court in Abuja, demanding N5.1bn for alleged defamatory publication.
The defendant was said to have published the defamation and circulated to third parties on the internet on 5 February 2022, and continued till 8 February 2022.
Ugwuonye had alleged that “Ejiofor was facing serious investigation for fraud and forgery by the EFCC.”
But Ejiofor went to court and asked for the following reliefs:
“A declaration that the publications variously made by the defendant of and concerning the claimant, on the 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th and 12th of February, 2022, the particulars of which are contained in the statement of claim, are defamatory of the claimant.
“An order of the Honourable Court directing the defendant to forthwith publish a full retraction of the utterly libelous publications and an unqualified apology to the claimant in at least three national newspapers with nationwide circulation.
“An order of the Honourable Court directing the defendant to forthwith publish a written undertaking not to publish any similar or further libel of and concerning the claimant.
“A perpetual order of injunction restraining the defendant, his agents, associates, privies and/or proxies howsoever called, from publishing any similar or further libel of and concerning the claimant.
“The sum of N5,000,000,000:00 (Five Billion Naira Only) as general and exemplary damages.
“The sum of N100,000,000:00 (Hundred Million Naira Only) being the cost of this action.”
But delivering her judgment, Justice Njideka Nwosu-Iheme also ordered the defendant to forthwith publish a full retraction of the utterly libelous publications to the claimant (Sir ifeanyi Ejiofor) in at least three national Newspapers with nationwide circulation, including PUNCH, Daily Times and PREMIUM TIMES.
He was also ordered to forthwith publish a written undertaking not to publish any similar or further libel of and concerning the claimant.
Other orders made by the court included, “Perpetual injunction restraining the defendant (Emeka Ugwuonye) his agents, associates, privies and/or proxies howsoever called, from publishing any similar or further libel of and concerning the Claimant (Sir Ejiofor).
“The sum of N5 million only as general and exemplary damages.
The sum of ₦500,000 million being the cost of this action.”
Ejiofor in a statement reacting to the judgement said its execution is a battle of no retreat, no surrender.
The IPOB lawyer said, “Be rest assured that this judgment shall be executed to the letter. I immensely thank my colleagues in chambers and Barrister Maxwell Opara, who worked assiduously to secure this victory.
“Ugwuonye’s ilks, including a certain lawyer in America who ought to have known better, are by this publication put on notice that it does not matter who you are or whom you’re affiliated with or where you are; it is only a matter of time. But I shall ensure that the long arm of the law catches up with you, and you shall definitely pay for the irreparable damages caused.
“Now that I am done with the civil proceedings in the instant case, I shall now proceed with criminal proceedings against the said cyberstalkers pursuant to the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention, etc) Act 2015. If you are courageous enough to commit the crime, you should also be courageous enough to face the inescapable consequences of your actions.
“The other suits I initiated against some of these social media noisemakers are ongoing, and upon the conclusion of same, I shall make the necessary update(s).”