Court awards N10m damages against firm
A Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja has awarded N10 million damages against Paradigm Communications Limited, Publishers of National Daily Newspapers, for a libelous publication against a former Lagos State Local Government Chairman, Afeez Ipesa-Balogun.
The presiding judge, Justice Lateefa Okunnu held that the publication against the claimant was libelous.
“There had indeed been a false, libelous publication made by the first defendant to defame the claimant in the estimation of right-thinking members of the public”, she ruled.
The claimant, Ipesa Balogun while in office had on December 2010 challenged the publication by the National Daily Weekend of November 27-28, 2010 with the headline: ‘Incredible! Chairman Milks LG Dry, How He Blows Billions on Private Assets, Houses…in Nigeria, US, Allegation is Self-Deceiving-Council Boss, EFCC Probe Imminent “
The claimant in the suit challenged the publishers of the newspaper, Paradigm Communications Limited and Mr.Sylvester Ebhodaghe, its Executive Editor/Chief Executive Officer, complaining that the publication was false and libelous and had defamed him in the estimation of right-thinking members of the public.
The first defendant was served the originating processes by the court sheriff but the second defendant Ebhodaghe could not be personally served. They failed to join issues with the defendant.
The judge subsequently ordered that Paradigm Communications Limited pays N10 million as damages to the former council Chairman for the wrong done to him by the publication, a perpectual order of injunction restraining it from further publishing the offending article and a further N250, 000.00 award against it to Ipesa-Balogun to defray the cost of legal services.
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