CROSS RIVER POLITICS: Another politician drags PDP to court for libel
LEGISREPORTS NG – A chieftain of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria [ACN] Barrister Eyo Nsa Ekpo has dragged the ruling Peoples Democratic Party in Cross River State for libel and demands N100 million for damages.
This is even as the party is presently battling the litigation slammed it by four of its aggrieved councillorship candidates protesting the alleged imposition by the hierarchy of some candidates in the forthcoming Local Government Council polls without recourse to normal party primaries as enshrined in the party guidelines.
In a statement of claims in suit number HC/268/2013,endorsed by his counsel, Prof. Tony Ukam, Barrister Ekpo is demanding the sum of N100 million as damages for libel, ”to assuage his psychological, reputational retardation” as well as N500,000 being cost of prosecuting the said suit.
But during a recent media briefing by the PDP Chairman, Ntufam Okon, he had denied knowledge of the litigation but admitted however that there was such publication in the state mass media organs.
Ekpo is aggrieved that the ruling PDP which is the defendant in the suit had ”from the evening of Friday, the 3rd of May, 2013 to the morning hours of Sunday, the 5th of May,2013, the defendants consistently and continuously published and or caused to be published both on radio and television services of Cross River Broadcasting Corporation[CRBC] a list of the PDP caucuses and Elders Forum Members in Odukpani Local Government which list included the name of the claimant as a member of the PDP Elders Forum in Odukpani Local Government Area”.
Barr Ekpo has insisted that his lawyers actually wrote the defendants [PDP] on the 7th day of May 2013,”seeking a retraction, an apology and payment of compensation”, but surprisingly ”on 10th of May,2013 the defendants again caused a publication of the same false, malicious and offensive materials concerning the claimant in the Nigerian Chronicle Newspapers of same date.
”In between these two offensive publications, the defendants cause another offensive vile, false and malicious publication to the effect that the claimant has been dropped from the list of members of the defendants’ Elders Forum, the clear imputation being that the claimant is a member of the list of defendants”.
The statement mentioned that by reason of the alleged malicious publication, ”the claimant has been injured in his reputation and character and thereby incurred damages” which accordingly has ”impacted negatively on his health and psyche, political, social and economic life and even in his professional calling where he is being treated with disdain”.
The writ of summons served on the PDP and Ntufam John Okon[PDP State Chairman] as Defendants in the suit urged the defendants to within 7 days of the service cause an appearance to be entered for them or judgment may be given in their absence.
This report was prepared by our reporter in Calabar.