By George Okoh
The out-of-court settlement sought by the former National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Adams Oshiomhole in the N10billion libel suit filed against him by Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has collapsed.
At the resumed hearing of the matter yesterday, Governor Ortom asked the Makurdi High Court presided over by Justice Augustine Ityonyiman to fix a date for definite hearing in the suit signalling a collapse of the negotiation.
The former APC Chairman had sought for an out-of-court settlement with Ortom, a move which was communicated to the court on October 13, 2020.
The presiding judge upon receipt of the notice consequently adjourned the case to October 29, 2020 for a report on the out-of-court settlement.
After two adjournments, with the last being on December 16, 2020, the case resumed yesterday for report on the out-of- court settlement earlier canvassed by Oshiomhole.
Ladi Achibong, who held the brief for Ortom’s counsel, Mr. Samuel Irabor, told the court that the out-of-court settlement had failed, adding that it appeared that the defendants were not serious with the settlement.
She submitted: “I have the express instruction of Mr. Irabor to ask the court to fix a date for the definite hearing of the N10billion libel suit against Oshiomhole and the APC.”
On his part, Mr. Titus Akuha who held the brief for the counsel to Oshiomhole and the APC, Festus Jumbo, opposed the submission of Ortom’s lawyer.
He said all the terms of settlement had been met, except one issue that was pending, “so, the settlement cannot be said to have failed,” he said.
Justice Ityoyiman after listening to counsels to the parties adjourned the case to February 26, 2021 for report on the out-of-court settlement or definite hearing.