1st December, 2022
By Taiye Agbaje
A Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court, Abuja, has adjourned a N1 billion defamatory suit filed by Dr Gabriel Ogbechie against Mr Ned Nwoko until Feb 27 for hearing.
Justice Chizoba Oji adjourned the matter after counsel for the parties stated their positions on their resolved to explore out-of-court settlement.
When the matter was called for hearing, Ogbechie’s counsel, Ekemejero Ohwovoriole, SAN, informed the court that the out-of-court settlement had broken down as the defendant had not reached out to him since the last adjourned date.
But Onyeka Nwokolo, who appeared for Nwoko, told the court that he had not been able to proceed with the planned reconciliation because his client had been indisposed.
Nwokolo, who said that he discussed the possibility of the settlement with his client, said he was still convinced that the window for settlement could still be explored.
He admitted that he had not been able to communicate the outcome of their discourse with the claimant’s lawyer.
Ohwovoriole, however, disagreed with Nwokolo’s submission, stating that the defendant had 180 days from May 30, the last adjourned date, to explore the avenue.
The lawyer said he was ready to proceed with the case.
Justice Oji agreed with the submission of Ohwovoriole and called for commencement of hearing in the suit.
She however advised both parties to explore the out-of-court-settlement option before the next hearing date.
The judge adjourned the matter until Feb. 27 for further hearing or report on the outcome of the reconciliation.
Ogbechie, in the writ of summons marked: CR/560/2021, had sued Nwoko as sole defendant.
In the suit, Ogbechie is claiming, among others, a retraction of the defamatory publication allegedly made by Nwoko, a written apology and the sum of N1 billion as damages.