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Libel: Onoja slams N100m suit on online publisher, drags others to court for alleged fake news

Libel: Onoja slams N100m suit on online publisher, drags others to court for alleged fake news

- A N100 million suit has been instituted against an online publisher by the chief of staff to the Kogi state governor

- In the suit, Honourable Edward Onoja accused the publisher of writing a libelous publication against him

- The publisher is being dragged before a Kogi state high court

The chief of staff to the Kogi state governor, Honourable Edward Onoja has instituted a N100million suit on an online publisher for allegedly writing a libelous publication against him. gathered that the publisher had in September 2017, published an article calling the plaintiff a burglar who “…leads soldiers to break office gates.”

In the suit which documents were seen by, Onoja is seeking an order of the court for the defendant to pay N100million for the damages the said defamatory publication has caused to his personality as one of the principal aides to the Kogi state governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello.

Libel: Onoja slams N100million suit on online publisher, drags others to court for alleged fake news

Court papers showing the suit filed by Onoja against the online publisher

The publisher, his company, ZZ Solutions Developer and Technology Ltd, and one Omoruku Joy Chinyere are being dragged before a Kogi state High Court to answer questions for the publication.

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The originating summons, which was served on the defendants by substituted means read that Onoja is claiming amongst other things that all the allegations contained in the publication of September 26 2017, entitled: “‘Kogi chief of staff leads soldiers to break office gates’ and circulated on Facebook page and other social media platform is malicious, libelous and defamatory.”

The court papers further read that the Kogi state governor’s chief of staff also wants the court to compel the three defendants to publish in at least three national dailies a public apology retracting the malicious and libelous publication against him.

Libel: Onoja slams N100million suit on online publisher, drags others to court for alleged fake news

Onoja slammed a N100million suit on the online publisher for libel

The N100million claim against the three defendants by Onoja, according to the originating summons, is meant for compensation and damages for the hardship on him occasioned by the defendants’ malicious and defamatory publication.

The false and malicious publication, according to Onoja, was the defendants’ desperate attempts to destroy and defame his political career and fortune.

Onojo also sought redress for the defamatory adjectives used against him by the defendants who penciled him in the said publication as “the frustrated chief of staff” and “the defector (sic) governor.”

The plaintiff in the court summons which read in parts further claimed that: “The allegation is in the extreme because nothing as maliciously reported and published by the defendants took place.

“That Onoja laboured assiduously over the years and made great sacrifices to build his character and career.

“That Onoja is a distinctive geologist, prudent treasury manager, banker par excellence and a savvy oil and bank professional.

“That Onoja by his past endeavours and present employment is a well-known community leader, a successful politician across his native Igala land, particularly Olamaboro local government area where he hails from, and a ranking official in Kogi state government.

“That consequent upon the defendants’ libelous and malicious publication, Onoja has been inundated with calls and contacts from within and outside Nigeria by all manner of people who denounced the chief of staff as rascal, lawless and unfit for public office.”

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Onoja stated further that the defendants’ publication was really meant to defame him because it was meant to mean that: “The plaintiff is a rogue and lawless person who enjoys taking laws into his hands.

“That the plaintiff operates like an armed robber and a criminal who breaks into people’s compounds and offices with intent of mischief. That the plaintiff is a confirmed criminal.

“That the plaintiff is a person of questionable integrity unfit to lead sensitive government institution in Kogi state and Nigeria.”

Justice S. O. Otu who issued the writ ruled that judgment shall be given in favour of the chief of staff if the “defendants fail to appear before him 30 days from Tuesday, the 10th of April, 2018 when the summons was served on them.

In the same vein, Onoja is poised to exact redress from some other online newspapers for another fake story about him last week which claimed his wife, child and himself were involved in a ghastly accident due to “recklessness driving” and “tyre burst.”

An official in the office of the chief of staff described as unfortunate the fact that some reputable national dailies who published the fake story against Onoja could not refute it or publish the true position even when they know that the story has since been exposed “as an utter fabrication with no basis in reality.”

According to him, “We’ve seen in recent times how fake news is often used as a tool by crooked publishers who’re looking to cash in on a fast buck. Fake news is also becoming a tool of trade to preach manipulating lies with the intent of spreading hatred against humanity, causing ethnic unrest, and worst of all, inciting inexcusable violence to boot.

Several media houses had reported that Onoja was involved in an accident with his family along the Lokoja-Abuja highway.

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“The rumour is purely a satanic tales by moonlight, a fiction penned by a prevaricating mephistophelian author and shared by gullible minds,” the Kogi state government had said in reaction to the story.

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