The Rivers State High Court has barred the federal government, minister of information and culture, Lai Mohammed, and their agents from further publishing the name of the national chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Uche Secondus, on the looters’ list.
Although the defendants or their representatives were absent in court, the Chief Judge of the state, Justice Iyayi Laminkanra, who presided over the matter of libel, also asked the plaintiff to serve the defendant with the appropriate notice.
Laminkanra gave the order in Port Harcourt today (Monday) when the case against the minister and the federal government brought by Secondus was heard.
Speaking with newsmen shortly after court session, lead counsel for Secondus, Mr. Emeka Etiaba said there was no truth whatsoever in the claim against his client.
“The prayers are that they retract the libellous material in as many media as they published it, payment of N1.5 billion to Prince Secondus as damages. The judge has granted the restraining order.
“We moved our motion seeking interlocutory injunction in restraining the defendants from further publishing the libellous content. Prayer one was granted. Prayer two was not granted because the honourable court said it was at large.
“But we are very satisfied with (the granting of) prayer one, which effectively halts further libel,” he said.
Etiaba however said the matter was still on course.
The case was adjourned to May 28, 2018.
It would be recalled that Secondus had on March 31, 2018, demanded a public apology and the sum of N1.5 billion as compensation for his inclusion in the list of alleged looters published by the federal government.
“In the suit no/PHC/1013/2018, Secondus asked the court to award him the sum of N1.5b as damages for “humiliation, castigation, vilification attack on his person and integrity as a result of the publication.”
Having failed to meet the demand, the PDP national chairman on April 6, 2018, instituted a case against Mohammed and the federal government for defamation of character.
Consequently, the state chief judge granted that the defendants be served by substituted means all the originating processes together with accompanying processes in Thisday newspaper.