20th September, 2022
By Taiye Agbaje
A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, has ordered an accelerated hearing in a N5 billion libel suit field by Sen. Yisa Braimoh against three factional members of the Edo chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over comments they made on a social media platform.
Justice Idris gave the order following an application by counsel for the claimant, Musa Isiaka.
Sen. Braimoh, in the suit marked: FCT/HC/CV/1025/2022, is suing Omobumhe Bobmanuel Umaru (aka Jesus Army), Osilame Okuofu and Boniface Pascal Ugbome as 1st to 3rd defendants respectively.
In the originating summons dated March 29 and filed by Isiaka, Braimoh, who represented Edo North Senatorial District at the 6th Senate, is seeking a perpetual restraining order against the defendants from further publishing defamatory words against him and members of his family.
He equally prayed the court for an order mandating the defendants to publish a public apology on the full pages of two widely read national dailies and on all the political platforms to which he and the defendants jointly belong.
Besides the sum of N5 billion damages, the former lawmaker is pressing for N5 million compensation against the defendants as cost of prosecuting the suit.
In his statement of claim, he averred that he and the defendants jointly belonged to several PDP social media political platforms, including PDP Unity League Platform, a group with a membership strength of 200 people.
He said notable members of the PDP Unity League Platform include Governor Godwin Obaseki; his deputy, Philip Shaibu; the Secretary to the sate government, Barr. Osarodum Ozie; Sen. Ehegieuzamere, Sen. Victor Oyofo and Chief Lucky Igbenodion, among others.
He alleged that the 1st defendant, on Jan. 15, posted defamatory messages on the platform against his person and members of his family.
Braimoh alleged that while the 1st defendant commited the act, the 2nd defendant is the chief administrative officer of the platform and the 3rd defendant is the forum chairman.
According to him, the 2nd and 3rd defendants possess the powers to determine who is added and removed from the platform, including carrying out disciplinary powers against erring members
When the case came up for mention, the 1st and 3rd defendants were represented by Johnson Bolade while the 2nd defendant (Okuofu) was neither in court nor represented by counsel.
Justice Kutigi then adjourned proceedings until Oct. 27 for the claimant (Braimoh) to effect service of court documents on Okuofu.