THE former governor of Rivers State, Dr. Peter Odili, has dragged the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress in the 2015 election, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, to court for an alleged defamation of character.
Odili, who is claiming the sum of N6bn as damages in the suit, had stated that Peterside, who is the current Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, had defamed him through a newspaper publication (not The PUNCH) in February 2016.
The defendant was alleged to have said in a press conference that the State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, during a victory thanksgiving service, alleged that Odili helped him (Wike) to secure the judgement that gave him (Wike) victory.
But Odili had described the statement credited to Peterside as false and malicious, maintaining that Wike never said that he (Odili) helped him to secure election victory at the Supreme Court.
However, when the matter came up for hearing on Tuesday, Odili was asked to enter the witness box to adopt his witness statement.
Though the defendant and his counsel were absent in court, the Lead Counsel for the plaintiff, Kanu Agabi (SAN), told the trial judge, Justice Adama Iyayi-Lamikanra, that Peterside was properly served.
Iyayi-Lamikanra, however, adjourned till October 27, 2016, for further hearing of the case.
Speaking with newsmen shortly after court proceedings, Agabi said, “We sued for libel and we called our first witness. We have adjourned for cross-examination till the 27th of October, 2016.
“We felt defamed by their (defendant) publication and we are here to vindicate ourselves.
“You could see that the defendants were not in court, but they have been served; they have been properly served. The court would not have proceeded otherwise.”Punch