Court orders blogger Ikeji to pay Neo black movement N30m damages

Anslem Okoro
Anslem Okoro
Linda Ikeji

The Delta High Court in Effurun on Monday ordered a foremost blogger, Linda Ikeji, to pay N30 million as damages to the Neo Black Movement (NBM) of Africa  for libelous publication.

The NBM and three others slammed a N1 billion law suit against Ikeji, for defamation and libel.

The lawsuit had the Registered Trustees of NBM of Africa, Ese Kakor, Felix Kupa and Mayor Onyebueke as the claimants.

Delivering judgment, Justice Roli Daibo-Harriman, also awarded N300,000 as cost of litigations against the Nigerian blogger

The court also ordered Ikeji to place a publication in her blog and national dailies retracting the libelous publication complained about.
Furthermore, the judge  ordered Ikeji to restrain from making further damaging publications against the Claimants and members of the NBM of Africa.
In her judgment, Justice Daibo-Harriman clearly described the words, dreaded cultist group, black axe, criminal organusation and others as used by the defendant in her libelous publication as all defamatory.
The blogger in her publication of Oct. 19, 2021, allegedly referred to NBM of Africa as dreaded cult group, black axe, criminal organisation and other names.

Consequently, the claimants prayed the court for an award of N1 billion only and an unreserved apology to be published in her blog and two national newspapers, among others.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the defendant was not present in court, neither was she represented.

Addressing newsmen shortly after the court’s proceedings, lead counsel to the claimants, Kelvin Agbroko said that it was a well deserved judgment.

“This will serve as lesson to bloggers that it is not every item you publish. It is good to verify information before making a publication.

“NBM of Africa is a legal organisation duly registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). The publication made by the defendant against my client has been cleared as a damaging publication.

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

Also responding to the judgment, the President of NBM of Africa, Ese Kakor said that the case had been on for about two years.

He said that the judgment was a warning to bloggers and other members of the public not to call people or organisations names that were not ascribed to them in a bid to blackmail or defame their characters.

“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 to defame people’s character. NBM has nothing to do with cultism, black axes. It is not a criminal organisation but a registered organisation,” he said.

Kakor, however, advised the public to be law abiding and do things within the ambits of the law.

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