Oh No! Court orders popular Nigerian blogger to pay #30m damages over libellous blog post

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In a recent ruling, a Delta State High Court in Effurun has ordered popular Nigerian blogger, Linda Ikeji, to pay N30 million in damages over a libellous publication against the Neo-Black Movement of Africa. The lawsuit was brought by the Registered Trustees of NBM of Africa, Ese Kakor, Felix Kupa, and Mayor Onyebueke, with Linda Ikeji as the defendant in the case.

Presiding Justice Roli Daibo-Harriman handed down the ruling on Monday in Suit No: EHC/210/2021 and also ordered Linda Ikeji, who was absent in court, to pay the cost of litigation, which was not specified in the report. The defendant was further directed to place a publication on her blog and national dailies retracting the libellous publication, for which the NBM dragged her to court. She is also restrained from making any further damaging publications against the claimants.

The NBM of Africa took legal action after Linda Ikeji failed to retract and apologize over the libellous article published on her blog on Oct. 19, 2021. According to the report, Linda Ikeji labelled the NBM of Africa as a dreaded cult group, black axe, and criminal organization, among other names.

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The Claimants had approached the court, praying for N1bn damages and an unreserved apology to be published on Linda Ikeji’s blog and two national dailies, among others. Justice Daibo-Harriman described the tags used in the publication, including dreaded cultist group, black axe, and criminal organization, as defamatory.

Speaking on the ruling, the counsel to the Claimants, Kelvin Agbroko, noted that it would serve as a lesson to bloggers to verify information before making a publication. He also added that NBM of Africa is a legal organization duly registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission.

President of the NBM of Africa, Ese Kakor, said that the outcome of the case had been on for about two years. He advised other bloggers not to defame people’s character, adding that NBM of Africa has nothing to do with cultism, black axe, or criminal activities, as it is a well-registered organization.

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