By CrossRiverWatch admin
Former Cross River State governor, Senator Liyel Imoke has dragged human rights activist and Cross River lawyer, Barrister Obono Obla and the Cross River State correspondent of Thisday newspaper, Mr. Bassey Inyang, to the High Court of Lagos State for libel in Suit No. LO/ADR/124/2015.
The court processes which were served on the Secretary of Obono Obla’s law firm in Abuja by a court bailiff indicate that, the Claimant (Liyel Imoke) is seeking the following reliefs: (a) Damages including exemplary damages in the sum of N1, 000, 000, 000.00 (One Billion Naira) for libel contained in the This day newspaper edition of 20th of April 2015 under caption -“Obono-Obla wants EFCC to investigate Imoke ‘ s Administration”.
(b) Perpetual Injunction restraining the defendants and each of them, from further publishing or causing to be published in any manner whatsoever connected or related to the said words or similar words defamatory of the Claimant
(c ) An Order directing the defendants to retract or cause to be retracted the sms aid publication and tender an unreserved apology in the form and manner to be prescribed by the solicitors to the Claimant by publishing same in one full page insertion in three national dailies to wit : This day, The Guardian and Punch Newspaper within 72 hours of the judgment of the Court
(d ) And such further order or other orders as the Honourable Court may deem fit to make in the circumstances of the case.
The claim was filed on the 19th May 2015 on behalf of Liyel Imoke by Kemi Pinheiro (SAN).
But Barrister Obono Obla in a swift reaction said, “Surely the case is a blustery, vexatious and calculated to intimidate me . Nobody can intimidate Obono-Obla in his quest to expose the massive plundering and looting of the lean resources of Cross River State in the eight years ruinous administration of Liyel Imoke that has left the State a chronic debtor and on the brink of insolvency.
“I have the constitutional , moral and social obligation/right as a conscious and conscientious citizen to expose corruption and graft in the Government of Cross River State . Liyel Imoke was the Governor of Cross River State and a public officer. I have the constitutional right to petition the EFCC to investigate his tenure as the Governor of Cross River State . In law no libel action can lie against me for writing to EFCC to investigate the financial dealings and transactions of the Government of Cross River State.
The EFCC is a statutory body established by an Act of the National Assembly to investigate allegation of economic and financial crimes made against any individual or corporate person(s ). In this regard, I have the right to file petitions against the Government of Cross River State before it . I shall stoutly and robustly file my defence and seek to show that the Claimant is not what he is claiming to be.
“I shall rely on the report of the National Assembly on the expenditure of $16 Billion budgeted by the Obasanjo administration to reform the power sector in the country. I shall rely on the report of the EFCC investigation of collection of kick backs by some Nigerian public officials from Siemens in which it recommended the prosecution of the Claimant, Liyel Imoke . I shall show that Imoke government was pathologically corrupt.”
Attempts to get reactions from Mr. Bassey Inyang and the management of Thisday newspaper in Lagos were still ongoing at the time of filing this report.
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