By Ike Uchechukwu
Cross River Commissioner for Sustainable Development, Mr. Oliver Orok, has slammed a lawsuit against Mr Agba Jalingo, publisher of an online newspaper for allegedly bringing his reputation to disrepute.
It was gathered that the suit with No: HC/95/2021 was against both Mr Agba Jalingo and his outfit “CrossRiverwatch” an online news medium, as well as Mr Usahang Ewa, a reporter with CrossRiverWatch, who reported the Story:” Calabar: Ayade’s Aide Pressurized Police to Release Notorious Gangster, CY”.
Worried by the report which was published on Thursday, July 20,2020, Ayade’s Commissioner approached the state high court seeking damages to the tune of N5.1bn claiming that the publication has dragged his good image.
Oliver who was angered by the publication said that through it, many of his associates had avoided and shunned him both in government and in his personal enterprises causing him so much damage.
In a writ of summoning at the High Court of Cross River State, Calabar Judicial Division, Holden at Calabar, presided over by His Lordship, Hon. Justice Maurice Eneji, Orok pleaded for an order of injunction restraining defendants, Jalingo, Ushang Ewa and CrossRiverwatch from further defaming his character.
Orok claimant to the suit against Agba Jalingo and two others as defendants, prayed the court to order Mr. Jalingo and his co-defendants to tender an apology to be published on the front pages of four national dailies that are widely circulated including his online media outfit, CrossRiverwatch.
Responding to newsmen, Counsel to Orok, Ayei Okpa of the Kanu Agabi’s Chambers maintained that in the instant case, Mr Jalingo seems not to be helping matters as rather than admit that he goofed, Jalingo had continued in the vice against which he had been sued, by further defaming his client online in his recent reaction to present suit.
Okpa stressed that Jalingo’s conduct has made it even more pertinent that the court should be invited to come to his client’s rescue in order to salvage what remains of his client’s already damaged image.
But however, counsel to Mr. Agba Jalingo, First Baba Ahmed of FBI and Legal Abuja, said his client has “done nothing wrong even though they have been served, We are still studying the process and waiting for time to reply”.
“The onus is on him to prove that his character has been defamed. We have about 30 days to reply and that is when we would be given a date.
“What I see here is that his character has not been defamed in any way. It is not a firing squad. Very soon we are going to file our response in court that is the position now.
“It’s the facts that matter. If I study the facts and I see that my client has been defamed, I can advise him to go no further” but with facts available, my client has not in any way defamed the character of the claimant,” Ahmed said.