Rivers state High court has barred the Federal Government, the Minister of Information and Culture Alhaji Lai Mohammad or their agents from further publishing the name of the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP Prince Uche Secondus on their looters’ list.
The River state Chief Judge Justice A. I . Iyayi- Lamikanra gave the order in Port Harcourt on Monday when the case against Minister and the federal Government brought by Prince Secondus was heard.
Counsels to Secondus, Chief Emeka Etiaba SAN leading Emeka Okpoko SAN and Emeka Echezona Etiaba had filed a motion seeking to stop the Federal Government, the Minister or their agents from publishing the name of Prince Secondus among their so called looters list as well as any other publication intended to further defame his client.
A statement from the media Assistant to Prince Secondus, Ike Abonyi who was in court said that although Lai Mohammed or his representatives were not in the Port Harcourt court on Monday, the presiding Judge directed the plaintiffs to serve the defendants the appropriate order of the court.
The case was adjourned to May 28 for continuation of hearing. Earlier on April 6, 2018, the state Chief Judge had granted that the defendants be served by substituted means all the originating processes together with accompanying processes in Thisday newspaper.
The PDP National Chairman had dragged the Minister of Information and Culture Alhaji Lai Mohammed to court for defamation of character.
The Minister had mentioned Prince Secondus in the list of those he claimed looted the nation’s treasury alleging that he collected N200m from the former National Security Adviser NSA but an embarrassed Secondus who said he never collected a dime from the former NSA through his lawyer Emeka Etiaba SAN wrote to the Minister seeking the immediate retraction of the National Chairman’s name on the list, payment of N1.5b damages and public apology within 48 hours.
The letter told Alhaji Mohammad to note that if he fails to meet their demand after 48 hours, ” We shall within 72 hours from today, proceed to a court of competent jurisdiction to ventilate our clients right under the law and shall further seek the protection of the court against you.
Having failed to meet the demand, Prince Secondus on friday April 6,2018, made good his threat and filed a suit at the Port Harcourt, High Court, Rivers state claiming among other things that the court awards to him the sum of N1.5b being damages for humiliation, castigation, vilification attack on his person and integrity as a result of the publication.
Secondus in the suit no/PHC/1013/2018 is also claiming that Lai Mohammad’s publication is defammatory and is asking the court to direct him to retract the said publication and apologize in writing.
Publish the retraction and apology in all the social media including but not limited to the Following newspapers, the Nation, Thisday, The Sun, Guardian and Punch as well as in The following television channels, NTa and Channels Televisions among others where the defammatory story was published.
Secondus is also asking the court for a perpetual injunction restraining the defendant from further publishing defammatory materials against him.
Joined in the suit are the federal Government of Nigeria through the Attorney General of the federation and the Vintage Press ltd, publishers of the Nation Newspapers. ( Find attached the filing document)