Court Slams N30million Damages Against Linda Ikeji

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A Delta State High Court sitting in Effurun has imposed a fine of N30 million on renowned blogger, Linda Ikeji, as compensation for her defamatory publication against the Neo-Black Movement (NBM) of Africa.

The presiding judge, Justice Roli Daibo-Harriman, also ruled that Ikeji must pay N300,000 as litigation costs.

Additionally, the court has mandated Ikeji to issue a retraction of the defamatory publication on her blog and in national newspapers.

Furthermore, Ikeji, who is the defendant in lawsuit number EHC/210/2021, has been prohibited from making any further damaging publications against the claimants and members of the NBM of Africa.

The claimants in the lawsuit are the Registered Trustees of NBM of Africa, Ese Kakor, Felix Kupa, and Mayor Onyebueke.

Ikeji was brought before the court by the NBM of Africa and three others due to her failure to comply with the demand letter requesting a retraction and apology for the defamatory article published on her blog on Oct. 19, 2021.

The blogger allegedly referred to NBM of Africa as a dreaded cult group, black axe, criminal organization, and other derogatory terms in her publication on Oct. 19, 2021.

As a result, the claimants requested the court to award N1 billion in damages and required an unreserved apology to be published on her blog, two national newspapers, and other platforms.

During the ruling, Justice Daibo-Harriman explicitly stated that the terms used by the defendant in her libelous publication, such as dreaded cultist group, black axe, and criminal organization, were defamatory.

Following the court proceedings, lead counsel to the Claimants, Mr. Kelvin Agbroko, expressed satisfaction with the 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 judgement that is all encompassing and will be difficult to fault,” Agbroko said.

In response to the judgment, Mr Ese Kakor, President of NBM of Africa, stated that the matter had been ongoing for approximately two years.

He stated that the decision served as a message to bloggers and other members of the public not to use identities that were not given to persons or companies to blackmail or discredit them.

“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 blogger not to follow same steps as they may also face similar litigation.

“Do not try and defame peoples character. NBM has nothing to do with cultism, black axe. It is not a criminal organisation but a well registered organisation,” he said.

However, Kakor asked the public to follow the law and conduct things within its scope. The defendant was not present in court, nor was she represented.

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