Posted by News Express | 20 February 2021 | 1,500 times
An Ogun State High Court of Justice, holden in Abeokuta, Nigeria, has slammed N500 million (about $1 million) damages against a U.K.-based blogger, Maureen Badejo for libelous publications through her GIO TV against the General Overseer of Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries, Dr. Daniel Olukoya, and the church.
The claimants are the Incorporated Trustees of Mountain of Fire & Miracles Ministries and its General Overseer – Dr. D. K. Olukoya.
Badejo, who is the anchor person at the Facebook-based GIO TV, had before the judgement, churned out 52 lies against Dr. Daniel Olukoya.
Ruling in a N10billion libel suit against the said Maureen Badejo, the presiding judge, Justice Abiodun Akinyemi, awarded N250million to each of the Claimants (making a total of N500 million) as aggravated and exemplary damages for libel.
Justice Akinyemi, in the ruling, frowned at Maureen Badejo’s ruthless campaign against the Claimants and described it as the worst case of reckless defamation and evil use of the internet and social media.
The court also ordered the Defendant (Maureen) to “immediately pull down and erase each of the offending online publications/posts concerning the Claimants from the internet.
“Tender a written apology and retraction of the offending publications and posts in a form and content acceptable to the Claimants and published prominently in her Facebook, You-Tube and Instagram accounts and in at least three nationally circulating newspapers in Nigeria and two international magazines including Time International, FORTHWITH, and;
“Perpetual Injunction restraining the Defendant (Maureen) by herself, her agents, servants, privies or other persons howsoever called or described from further making, publishing and/or disseminating defamatory stories and statements about the Claimants or any one of them.”
Reacting to the judgement and media inquiries on whether Maureen was aware of it, counsel to the Claimants, Ime Nya Asanga (Esq), said that a certified true copy of the judgment and a certificate of the judgment with Form 35 endorsed thereon, had been served vide DHL courier her (Maureen) and that the proof of service indicates that she personally signed for them at 09:20 am of Thursday, 18th February, 2021
Barrister Asanga further explained that Ogun State High Court Form 35 titled NOTICE OF CONSEQUENCE OF DISOBEDIENCE TO ORDER OF COURT is an endorsement by the Registrar on the Certificate of Judgment, warning that unless the judgment debtor obeys the directions contained therein, he/she will be guilty of contempt of court and will be liable to be committed to prison.
He warned that if, after 18th February 2021, the Defendant should make any other broadcast defamatory of the Claimants or any one of them, contempt proceedings, which are criminal in nature, will immediately be commenced against her.
It is expected that now that a judicial pronouncement has been made on her broadcasts as they affect MFM and Dr. Olukoya, the defendant would seek wise guidance or counsel herself to safety having now realised that social media grandstanding is a far cry from legal responsibility and justification of words spoken or published.
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