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Odili sues Peterside for libel, seeks N6b as damages

By Kelvin Ebiri (South-South Bureau Chief)   |   12 October 2016   |   2:04 am

 Dakuku Peterside

Dakuku Peterside

Former Governor of Rivers State, Dr. Peter Odili, has taken the All Progressives Congress (APC)’s governorship candidate in the 2015 election, Dakuku Peterside to court for defamation.

The former governor is seeking to be paid N6 billion as compensation, at the River State High Court, presided over by the Chief Judge, Justice Iyayi-Lamikanra.

Odili, in the suit, said Peterside had held a press conference where he claimed that Governor Nyesom Wike attributed his victory in Rivers governorship election matter at the Supreme Court to the benevolent intervention of the former governor.

Peterside, who is now the Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) was not in the court, neither was he represented.

The complainant was in the witness box, where he explained that Peterside’s assertion that he aided Wike to secure victory at the January 27, 2016 Supreme Court was false and malicious.

He added that there was no time that Wike made such inference, which Peterside twisted and misrepresented.Peterside, had on March 9, 2016, at a press conference in Port Harcourt, alleged that Wike made the statement.

He claimed the comment, which was made during Wike’s thanksgiving service, gave credence to the pervading doubt being expressed on the judgment in public.

He said the governor had “stunned his audience and the watching world when he confessed that he met the Judges involved in the case, including Dr. Peter Odili’s wife, Mary, who is a justice of the Supreme Court.”

According to him: “It is therefore obvious that the decision of the Supreme Court on the Rivers State Election was not a product of justice, but rather that of compromise and orchestrated contrivance to legalise electoral violence and rigging and in turn, reward injustice. It called for serious introspection by our judiciary and judicial officers.”

Odili affirmed that the defendant had been duly served the court processes by his counsel. His lead counsel, Kanu Agabi, told the trial judge that there was proof of service on Peterside.

Agabi, who accompanied Odili out of the court, told journalists that his client was defamed hence he filed the suit.“We sued for libel and we have called our first witness. We felt defamed by the defendant’s publication and we are here to vindicate ourselves.

“You could see that the defendants were not in court, but they have been properly served. The court would not have proceeded otherwise,” he said.Justice Iyayi-Lamikanra adjourned the matter to October 27, for further hearing.

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