By TAIYE AGBAJE
ABUJA- The Enugu State governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr. Peter Mbah, has filed a N1 billion libel suit against the All Progressives Congress (APC) chairman in the state, Chief Ugochukwu Agballah.
In the suit marked: E/25/2023 and filed at Enugu State High Court, Mbah also joined the Independent Newspapers Limited, publishers of Daily Independent Newspapers, as 2nd defendant.
In the write of summons dated and filed on Jan. 18 by his lawyer, Dr.Onyechi Ikpeazu, SAN, Mbah sought a court declaration that by the publication of May 30, 2022 in the newspaper, the defendants had falsely and maliciously accused him of membership in a gang of criminals and that he is engaging in criminal activities.
The claimant, therefore, demanded the sum of N1 billion as general damages for the alleged libelous publication against him
He also sought an order mandating the defendants to publish an apology and a retraction of the defamatory publication made against him in at least three national dailies.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Mbah, the Founder and CEO of Pinnacle Oil and Gas Limited, equally demanded N10 million as cost of the suit.
According to the court processes by his lawyer, the statement and publication by the defendants were calculated to lower the claimant (Mbah) in the estimation of right thinking members of the society; isolate the claimant from the society; expose the claimant to hatred, odium, contempt, and ridicule; cause other persons to shun or avoid the claimant; and discredit the claimant in the matter of his business and political engagements.
In a statement of claim filed in the court, Mbah alleged that Agballah accused him of joining the governorship race in order to use Enugu State’s funds to pay up an alleged N40 billion business debt.
He said he was severally embarrassed by countless calls and messages from concerned family members, business and political associates, loved ones, friends and in-laws, while several Nigerians, who thought the claims to be true, condemned him in the media and social media platforms.
He said though he directed his solicitors to write the defendants vide a correspondence dated 22nd July, 2022, in which he demanded a retraction of the publication and an apology as well as compensation for damaging his reputation, they chose to ignore it.(NAN)