Wike in court, testifies against national daily in N7b libel suit
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, yesterday, appeared before the state High Court in Port Harcourt, to testify in an N7 billion libel suit against THISDAY Newspaper.
Wike said he was in court to seek justice and clear his name as a person from the malicious publication by THISDAY Newspaper, which portrayed him as a deceitful, untrustworthy person, who exerts subterranean influences on judicial matters and over court sittings in Port Harcourt.
The statement by the governor’s media aide, Kelvin Ebiri, recalled that Wike had, in August 2020, slammed an N7 billion suit, being damages sought for alleged libel published in THISDAY’s Tuesday, June 23, 2020 edition captioned, “With a friend like Wike, Obaseki meets his PDP’s Waterloo.”
The defendants in the suit are THISDAY Newspapers Limited, Leaders and Company Limited, Davidson Iriekpan, Chuks Okocha and Adibe Emenyonu.
While testifying as a witness in Suit No. PHC/1505/CS/2020 before the court presided over by Justice A. Enebeli, Wike asserted that the defendants maliciously and falsely portrayed him as an unreliable friend/person.
“When you say somebody cannot be trusted; that cannot be a fair comment. When you say somebody is influencing the judiciary, that cannot be a fair comment,” he said.
In a written statement on oath, Wike had stated that the defendants accused him of influencing the decision of the court sitting in Port Harcourt that granted an injunction restraining Godwin Obaseki from participating in the primaries of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State in 2020.
He stated that the defendants maliciously accused him of undemocratically exerting influence on the primaries process of PDP in Edo State in aid of his ally, Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama, who was the beneficiary of the court order restraining Obaseki from participating in the PDP primaries.
The governor, who told the court that he was not even aware of the aforementioned suit by Ogbeide-Ihama against Obaseki, said the publication was reckless, false and without regard for the truth.
Speaking to journalists outside the court, one of the lawyers to Governor Wike, Mr. Mark Agwu, said his client was in court to seek legal redress.
The court adjourned the matter for further hearing till the 12th, 13th and 14th of January 2022.