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Thursday, June 29, 2017

Libel: Court orders Sahara Reporters to pay N4bn as damages to Senate president, Bukola Saraki







Justice Adeyinka Oyinloye of an Ilorin High Court in Kwara state, has ordered the publisher of online news platform, Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore, to pay the sum of N4 billion as damages to Senate President, Bukola Saraki, over a series of libelous stories published on the news platform from September to December 2015.

Saraki through his lawyer, Babatunde Olomu, approached the court for an intervention following the publication of series of stories against him by Sahara Reporters.

Both Sowore and Sahara Reporters were joined as defendants in the suit marked as KWS/23/2017.

According to Saraki's counsel, the defendants had refused to defend the case despite the service of the summons on them. Olomu said the first series of service involved an arrangement between the office of the Nigerian ministry of Justice and their counterpart in New York, the operational base of the medium.

When that failed, the counsel said the claimant thereafter seized the opportunities of a visit to Nigeria by Sowore to serve him at his two properties in Ikeja area of Lagos state.

The relief granted to Saraki by the court include “the sum of N1 billion as general and aggravated damages for libelous words falsely, maliciously and recklessly published by the defendants of and concerning the claimant in the online issue of Sahara Reporters of October 5, 2015 under the caption “Nigeria at 55: Bukola Saraki and 83 Inmates Are Running the Asylum.

“The sum of N1 billion as general and aggravated damages for libelous words falsely, maliciously and recklessly published by the defendants of and concerning the claimant in the online issue of Sahara Reporters of Sahara Reporters of September 20, 2015 under the caption: “A polished Name for political immorality. Time for Saraki to Go!.

“The sum of N1 billion as general and aggravated damages for libelous words falsely, maliciously and recklessly published by the defendants of and concerning the claimant in the online issue of Sahara Reporters of Sahara Reporters of November 09, 2015 under the caption: “Bukola Saraki On a shopping Spree to Buy Judges…Stop Being a Clown And A Coward Man Up, face The Music”

“The sum of N1 billion as general and aggravated damages for libelous words falsely, maliciously and recklessly published by the defendants of and concerning the claimant in the online issue of Sahara Reporters of Sahara Reporters of December 1, 2015 under the caption: “Arms Contract Scandal: Senator Saraki Blackmailed CBN Officials To Pay N250 Million Hush Funds.”

“An order for injunction restraining the defendants from further writing, printing or causing to be written, printed or circulated or otherwise published of the claimant the said, or similar libel.

“An order directing the defendants to remove the offending publications from its website on the internet within three days from the date of judgment and an order directing the defendants to publish an apology to the claimant on its online newspaper and in three other daily newspapers.”

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