From: Romanus Okoye
Justice Josephine Oyefeso of Lagos High Court, Ikeja, Lagos State, on Wednesday, rejected an application by the acting chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu, to stop The Sun Publishing Limited from making further publications.
Magu’s counsel, Mr. Wahab Shittu, had asked the court to grant an interim order restraining The Sun from making libellous publication against his client.
But counsel to The Sun, Mr. Lawrence Obioha, argued that granting such order would be an infringement on the constitutional obligations of the newspaper organisation. He said that The Sun, as a responsible media organisation, does not engage in publishing defamatory stories.
The court also rejected an application by the Claimant to be awarded N250, 000 operational cost for adjournment which he claimed was at the instance of the defendant. But the judge rejected the application, explaining that the matter for the day was for report of service and not for hearing as was wrongly assumed by the claimant’s counsel.
The matter was adjourned till January 31, 2018, for hearing of pending applications. The Sun had applied for court’s authority to regularise its affidavits.
Magu and The Sun are in court over the story published in Saturday Sun of March 25, 2017, which talked about two houses allegedly linked to his wife. Magu’s lawyer, Wahab Shittu had written to The Sun alleging that the story defamed his client.
The EFCC boss wants the court to declare, “an order for publication of apology, retraction and rebuttal of the libelous material by defendants on the front page of the Saturday Sun newspaper for seven consecutive editions of the newspaper and two other major newspapers for seven consecutive days.”
He also seeks an order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants or their cronies, group of people, association or anyone, however, called through the defendants or any newspaper/magazine, from further publishing or disseminating the libellous materials or similar one against the claimant forthwith.”
He urged the court to award, “damages against the defendants and in favour of the claimant.”Magu’s lawyer had earlier in March written a letter threatening to sue The Sun for N5 billion if it didn’t retract its story.
On June 12, EFCC operatives had invaded The Sun premises, following which the newspaper has consistently maintained that Magu was on vendetta mission over Saturday Sun’s story about his wife.
Meanwhile, the judge advised the litigants to also explore “alternative dispute resolution” so that at the next adjourned date, the parties would either report of settlement or go ahead with the pending application.
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