From Uche Nnorom, Makurdi
A High Court presided over by Justice Adam Onuh yesterday dismissed the corruption case against Governor Samuel Ortom by Aare Abiodun Oluwarotimi describing it as ‘trash’ and ‘jaundice’.
This is just as he held that public officers should not be unduly and unjustly defamed.
Justice Onuh who said that public office is public property, averred that it should however, not be mistakenly that anyone who holds public office should be unnecessarily bruised without concrete and cogent proof.
He added that anyone who criticizes a public office holder should be aware that such a person has an integrity to maintain and as such, he should not be run down unduly.
While upholding the statement of claim made by the plaintiff(Governor Ortom), he noted that there is merit in his case, stressing too that, there is substance in the case by the Governor to redeem.
Justice Onuh therefore, restrained the online publisher Aare Abiodun Oluwarotimi from further defaming and publishing libelous materials against the Governor on his Facebook time line.
He is also, perpetually restrained from any publication against the Governor.
The judge furthsr instructed the defendant(Aare Abiodun) to within 14 days, retract all publications made against the plaintiff and publish same in the Nation and Daily Trust newspapers as well as social media platform.
He then, awarded the sum of 5 million naira as damages to the Governor.
It should be noted that Governor Ortom had approached the court to seek redress for what he termed defamation of his character and reputation by Aare.
aHe therefore, asked the court to award the sum of 10 billion naira to him.
Ortom’s request as contained in his statement of claim also, sought a declaration by the court that the various Facebook posts by the defendant (Aare) concerning the plaintiff (Governor Ortom) on the defendant’s Facebook wall/time line and tagged to numerous Facebook users are defamatory of his character and reputation.
Furthermore, he sought an order of the court directing the defendant to pull down all defamatory posts against the plaintiff posted on the defendant’s Facebook wall/time line and tagged by the defendant to other Facebook users.
Similarly, he requested an order directing the defendant to retract all the defamatory publications against him and tender a public apology to him to be published in not less than five (5) National dailies as well as on the Facebook social media platform. As well as an order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendant, his privies, agents, servants, surrogates or whosever called from further defaming the plaintiff’s character and reputation.
Aare Abiodun who is the publisher of Nigerian Concord, an online publication had published on his Facebook wall dated 22 November, 2016 alleging that the Governor used public funds to pay 600 million naira Oracle Business loans, amongst several other allegations leveled against the Governor