Delta Court Slams N30m Judgment against Popular Blogger, Linda Ikeji

Sylvester Idowu in Warri

An Effurun High Court in Delta State yesterday awarded the sum of N30 million as general damages against a popuar blogger, Linda Ikeji over her ‘libelous’ publication against a group, the Neo Black Movement (NBM) of Africa.

Justice Roli Daibo-Harriman, in her rulings, also awarded the sum of N300,000 being the cost of litigations against the Nigerian blogger.

The court further ordered Ikeji to place a publication in her blog and national dailies retracting the libelous publication complained about.

Again, Ikeji, who was a defendant in suit number: EHC/210/2021, was also restrained from making further damaging publications against the claimants and members of the NBM of Africa.

The lawsuit had the Registered Trustees of NBM of Africa, Ese Kakor, Felix Kupa and Mayor Onyebueke as the claimants.

Ikeji was dragged before the court by the NBM of Africa and three others after she had failed to honour the demanded letter of retraction and apology over the ‘libelous’ article published in her blog on October 19, 2021.

The blogger in her publication of October 19, 2021, allegedly referred to NBM of Africa as the dreaded cult group, black axe, criminal organisation and other names.

Consequently, the claimants prayed the court for an award of N1 billion only and an unreserved apology to be published in her blog and two national newspapers and among others.

In her rulings, Justice Daibo-Harriman described the words: dreaded cultist group, black axe, criminal organisation and others as used by the defendant in her ‘libelous’ publication as all defamatory.

Lead counsel to the claimants, Kelvin Agbroko, told journalists shortly after the court’s proceedings that it was a well-deserved judgment.

According to him, “This will serve as lesson to bloggers that it is not every item you published. It is good to verify information before making a publication. NBM of Africa is a legal organisation duly registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).

“The publication made by the defendant against my client has been cleared that is was a damaging publication. NBM is good to go, we are going to take all necessary steps to enforce the terms of the judgment against her.

“It was an erudite judgment that is all encompassing and will be difficult to fault.”

The President of NBM of Africa, Mr. Ese Kakor, lamented that the case had been on for about two years.

He said that the judgment was a warning to bloggers and other members of the public not to call people or organisations names that were not ascribed to them in a bid to blackmail or defamed their characters.

He said: “What Ikeji did was just to sell in a bid to defame the character of NBM of Africa, it is very wrong. I advised other blogger not to follow same steps as they may also face similar litigation.

“Do not try to defame people’s character. NBM has nothing to do with cultism, black axe. It is not a criminal organisation but a well registered organisation.” However, the defendant was not present in the court neither was she represented.

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