Court Orders Publisher To Pay Gov Ortom N5m Damages


A Makurdi High Court Judge, Justice Adam Onum has ordered the editor-in-chief of Nigerian Concord Newspapers, Mr Aare Abiodun Oluwarotimi to pay the sum of N5 million to the Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom, as damages for libel.

Delivering judgement in the suit filed by the governor, against Mr Oluwarotimi, Justice Onum also ordered the defendant to within 14 days of this judgement retract all the libelous publications in national newspapers, television, radio and social media platforms as well as tender apologies which must be published in the national dailies.

The governor in a suit had demanded for N10 billion for damages.

Speaking with newsmen after the judgement, counsel to the Benue State government, Andrew Wombo, expressed satisfaction with the judgement and pledged that he would take legal steps to enforce it.

He stated that the objective of the case was to prove to the entire world that Mr Oluwarotimi’s publications against the office and person of the governor were false, fabricated and mischievous.

“Although the motive for instituting the case were not for financial benefit he would make sure the defendant pays the money as a deterrent against those bent on publishing falsehood against others.”

Throughout the proceedings of the suit, Mr Oluwarotimi had failed to appear in court and was not represented by any defence counsel.

Court processes were however served on him through substituted means in some national daily newspapers as well as on his Facebook page

Souce: Leadership, November 7, 2017)