Court Adjourns Ayade’s Aide Libel Suit Against CrossRiverWatch, Agba Jalingo To December 9

In Breaking News, Civic Space, Reports
Lawyers sit, awaiting the appearance of the presiding judge in Court 2 of the High Court of Cross River State. (25/11/2021) Credit: CrossRiverWatch/Jonathan Ugbal

By CrossRiverWatch Admin

A High Court of Justice sitting in Calabar and presided over by Justice Maurice Eneji has adjourned until December 9, for pretrial and possible hearing of a libel suit filed by the Commissioner for Sustainable Development Goals in Cross River State, Oliver Orok against this Newspaper and two staff members.

Agba Jalingo, the Editor – in – Chief and Ushang Ewa, a reporter, are listed as first and second defendants in the suit while CrossRiverWatch is the third defendant.

Orok is asking for NGN5 billion in damages, a public apology and a retraction of a story published in July 2020 which disclosed how Mr. Orok and others pressured the Nigerian Police to release a notorious gangster, “CY” after his arrest.

CY, as he is popularly referred to, was declared wanted following a spate of killings. He was arrested and detained at the Anti Cultism and Kidnapping unit of the Cross River State command of the Nigerian Police Force in Calabar. He had fled town despite emerging as councillor representing a ward in Calabar South Local Government Area in the 2020 council elections. He was sworn-in after his release from detention.

And, eight months after the story was published, Mr. Orok wrote CrossRiverWatch seeking NGN5 billion in damages or risk facing a lawsuit.

When called for hearing, counsel for the defendants, F. Baba Isa Esq told the court that he had filed a motion for regularization dated April 20th and filed on July 1st. He prayed the Court to grant the reliefs sought therein especially, as there was no objection from the claimant.

Counsel for the claimant, A. E Oqua Esq affirmed that there was no objection and Justice Eneji granted the relief sought “in the interest of justice.”

Subsequently, the case was adjourned until December 9, 2021 for “pretrial and possible hearing by the mutual agreement of both counsels.”

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