Ortom files libel suit against Akume

By Denen Achussah
Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, has instituted a Sixty Billion Naira (N60b) law suit against Senator George Akume, Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs Minister before a Makurdi High Court, ThisWeek can report.
Ortom in the suit, marked as MHC/268/2021 and filed by Okon N. Efut, SAN and four other lawyers, is claiming 50 Billion Naira (N50b) as general damages for libel and Ten Billion Naira (N10b) as exemplary and aggravated damages.
The Governor’s action is coming few days after Akume made serious allegations against the Governor bordering on mal-administration, corruption and insecurity as well as disregard to the office and person of President Muhammadu Buhari, during a press conference held in Abuja, Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory.
Akume, in the press conference, in addition to calling for emergency rule in the state invited the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to investigate the Governor. He also asked the Governor to account for the nearly N600 Billion Naira he received in federal allocation.
Akume is the second former Governor of Benue State to face the law courts under the administration of Governor Ortom. Former Governor Gabriel Suswam was the first to face the law courts.
Ortom is concerned that his estranged godfather’s press conference was intended to lower his estimation before right-thinking members of the society and to expose him to hatred, contempt and ridicule.
In the writ of summons, backed by 17 paragraph statement of claim, Governor Ortom is seeking a declaration that the text of Senator Akume’s press conference on 30th August, 2021, in Abuja and the reports in various national dailies is scandalous, malicious and injurious of his person.
He is therefore, seeking perpetual injunction restraining Akume by himself or through any agent, servants or privies from similar or further publication of any defamatory statement against him.
No date has been fixed yet for mention of the case.

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