…Tribune, Sun, Vanguard Joined As Co-defendants
Hearing in the N5bn libel suit instituted by the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in charge of Akwa-Ibom State, Mr. Mike Igini, against former spokesman of the Edo State All Progressives Congress (APC) Media Campaign Council in the September 19 Governorship election, Mr. John Mayaki, was adjourned by a Benin High Court on Wednesday, following moves by the respondent to settle the matter out of court.
When the case came up, counsel to Mayaki, Austin Osarenkhoe, informed the court that his client had reached the plaintiff (Mr. Igini) to opt for settlement and sought for the adjournment of the matter to enable the parties to settle the matter out of court.
With the concurrence of Igini’s counsel, Christian Omatsone, the presiding Judge, Justice V. O. Oviawe, adjourned the suit to June 21, 2021 for report of settlement.
Joined in the suit are Vanguard Media Limited, the African Newspaper of Nigeria Plc, the publishers of the Nigeria Tribune and the Sun Publishing Limited as co-defendants.
It would be recalled that Igini had instituted the action, following publications which alleged that he had a secret meeting with Governor Godwin Obaseki with a plot to rig the September 19, 2020 Governorship election.
The REC described the allegation as malicious, reckless, mischievous and with intent to destroy his hard-earned reputation, adding that the suit was as a result of the failure of the defendant to comply with his protest letter dated August 31, 2020 demanding for the retraction of the said publications.
Igini demanded for a full page unreserved apology to be published in every edition of the Punch Newspapers, Tribune, Guardian and the Sun Newspapers for seven consecutive times commencing not later than seven days after the judgment of the case.
He also prayed the court for a perpetual injunction restraining the defendants, their agents, privies and or servants howsoever called from further publishing same or similar words defamatory against him.
He said he has the permission of the authorities of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to maintain the suit and vindicate his name.