DEFAMATION: Court adjourns suit between Customs chief, journalist, STV

The suit of alleged case of defamation filed by Comptroller-General of Customs Dikko Inde Abdullahi against the Publisher of Shipping World magazine, Elder Asu Beks, and Silverbird Television (STV) has been adjourned to May 15, 2013, for further hearing.
A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, and presided by Justice Abubakar Talba, yesterday adjourned the case to May 15, 2013.
Asu, the first defendant in the case, had been summoned to appear before the court yesterday to defend himself against allegations by Abdullahi, who accused him of defamation.
The plaintiff had filed a N1billion suit against Asu and Silverbird Communications Limited, operators of Silverbird Television, on which Asu allegedly featured in its August 22, 2013, edition of Today on STV breakfast show, accusing the Customs boss of allegedly financing the Islamic extremist sect, Boko Haram.

Counsel to the plaintiff, Mr Amobi Nzelu, stated these claims:
• A declaration that the statements/words authored and spoken by the first defendant (Asu Beks) concerning the plaintiff financing and funding Boko Haram sect and aired by the second defendant (Silverbird Communications Limited) on the 22nd of August, 2012, are false, malicious and without foundation;
• A declaration that the plaintiff is neither financing nor funding Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria;
• A declaration that the airing of the programme wherein the first defendant authored and spoke about the plaintiff by the second defendant is mischievous, and a calculated attempt to tarnish the hard earned image and reputation of the plaintiff;
• An apology to be aired by the second defendant during their prime time for one week retracting the content of the said programme;
• An apology by the first defendant to the plaintiff to be published in the front page of seven national dailies to wit: Punch, Sun, This Day, Leadership, Daily Trust, Tribune and Guardiannewspapers retracting the said libelous and defamatory programme wherein he spoke concerning the plaintiff;
• A perpetual injunction restraining the first defendant whether by himself, assigns, agents, privies or whosoever purporting to act on his behalf.

The plaintiff and the first defendant were both represented by their counsels at the first hearing. Asu’s counsel, Adewumi Adisu, told SHIPS & PORTS DAILY, that he had asked the court for time to “respond and regularise the position of the first defendant.”

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