January 17, 2023

NBM vs Linda Ikeji: Court adjourns hearing to March

By Akpokona Omafuaire, WARRI

THE Effurun High Court yesterday adjourned the libel suit involving famous Nigeria online blogger, Linda Ikeji and the Registered Trustees of the Neo-Black Movement (NBM) of Africa to March 16, 2023, for a pre-trial conference.

The adjournment was a sequel to the absence of the Presiding Judge, Justice Roli Daibo-Harriman of the Delta High Court, Effurun, Uvwie Local Government Area.

Mr Kelvin Agbroko, Counsel to the NBM of Africa, told newsmen on Tuesday at the court premises that the matter had previously come up for hearing at the court when counsel to the defendant (Ikeji) pleaded for time to file his defence.

Agbroko said that till now, the defendant had not filed any process to defend the case.

“As it is now, the matter has further been adjourned till March 6, 2023, for a pre-trial conference,” Agbroko said.

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Recalled that the Claimants: the Registered Trustees of NBM of Africa, Ede Kakor, Felix Kupa and Mayor Onyebueke had in 2021 filed a Suit Number: EHC/210/2021 before the Court in which Ikeji was the sole defendant.

The Claimants through their counsel prayed to the court for an award of N1 billion and an unreserved apology to be published in the defendant’s blog and two national newspapers among others for its alleged libellous publication.

Agbroko alleged that Ikeji had on October 19, 2021, published in her blog an article in which she defamed his clients by referring to them as ‘Black Axe’, calling them names different from their organisation.

“The name of the organisation is NBM of Africa, she also called them criminals in the said publication.

“When my clients got wind of the publication, they consulted me and we put up a demand letter of retraction and apology. But she neglected and refused to do the needful.

“After several reminders and upon expiration of the letters, the organisation decided that a libel suit be filed against her.

“This suit will be an eye opener to all bloggers who do not verify facts before publishing,” he said.

On the other case involving NBM of Africa and the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Agbroko said that the matter had also been adjourned till March 6, for rulings on the motions.

He said that the defendant, BBC had already filed preliminary objections adding that the written addresses had been abducted and awaiting rulings by the court.

“Unfortunately, we find ourselves where we are today due to one reason or the other,” Agbroko said.