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Court slams blogger Linda Ikeji N30m damages



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Popular blogger, Linda Ikeji has been ordered to pay N30 million as general damage to the Neo Black Movement (NBM) of Africa for libelous publication by the Delta High Court in Effurun on Monday.

The NBM and three others slammed a N1 billion lawsuit 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.

Justice Roli Daibo-Harriman who delivered the judgement, also awarded N300,000 being 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 organisation 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 and 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, Mr Kelvin Agbroko said that it was a well-deserved judgment.

“This will serve as lesson to bloggers that it is not every item you published. 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 that is was 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 judgement the President of NBM of Africa, Mr 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 same steps as they may also face similar litigation.

“Do not try and defame people’s character. NBM has nothing to do with cultism, black axe. 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. (NAN)