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N10bn Libel Suit: Ortom, Oshiomhole head for out-of-court settlement

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N10bn Libel Suit: Ortom, Oshiomhole head for out-of-court settlement
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By Peter Duru, Makurdi

Governor Samuel Ortom on Wednesday expressed his willingness to forgive the former National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole in the N10billion libel suit he instituted against the former Edo state governor.

The Governor Ortom slammed the suit on Oshiomhole after he, in an APC sponsored press conference held on July 27, 2018, accused the governor among others, of having a hand in the death of two Catholic priests and other parishioners at Mbalom Community, Gwer East local government area of Benue State on the grounds that one of the priests had preached a ‘very critical sermon’ against him (the Governor).

At the commencement of definite hearing on Tuesday, counsel to Governor Ortom, Mr Samuel Irabor told the Makurdi High Court presided over by Justice Augustine Ityonyiman that he was ready to call his witnesses but that Oshiomhole’s counsel had informed him earlier that they had considered putting up a retraction of the offensive publication.

“In such a circumstance we are applying for another date to take a look at the terms of the settlement canvassed by defendants,” he said.

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Responding, Mr Titus Akuhwa who held the brief for Oshiomhole’s lead counsel, Festus Jumbo, confirmed the submission of Governor Ortom’s lawyer saying “that is the true position of the matter. We have met and we are drawing out the terms of the settlement.”

Ruling, Justice Ityonyiman, after listening to both parties, adjourned the case to October 29, 2020, for the report on the out-of-court settlement.

Responding to the development shortly after he flagged off the distribution of 46 Hilux vans and cars to all Local Government Council Chairmen and House Leaders in Makurdi, Governor Ortom said, “I am a Christian and the Bible says forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.

“So if your brother offends you and comes back to apologize, you will forgive. Moreover, the conditions are there, and I know that I was innocent even when he made all those allegations.

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“If he comes back now to tender an apology to me and also go back to the same news medium that he used to scandalized and vilified me to have the apology published and also meet the condition set by my lawyers I will certainly forgive him.

“I know I also offend others, my looks can offend people and I keep saying that they should forgive me. That is life, for us to live together we must learn to forgive one another and move on.

“The problems of this country today are beyond those trivial things. We have major security, social, political and economic problems all over the place. So we must come together, these issues are beyond political party differences.

“The situation requires every one of us to reason together on how we can survive as a country. Even if we are not concerned about this country, we should be concerned about our children because we have children. So we should be concerned with how we can make this country better than where it is today.”

Vanguard

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