Hearing in the N5 billion libel suit instituted by the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in charge of Akwa-Ibom State, Mr. Mike Igini, against former spokesman of the Edo State All Progressives Congress (APC) Media Campaign Council in the September 19 Governorship election, Mr. John Mayaki, was stalled at a Benin High Court on Wednesday, following moves to settle the matter out-of-court.
At resumed hearing on the case on Thursday, Counsel to Mayaki, Mr. Austin Osarenkhoe, informed the court that his client has reached the plaintiff (Mr. Igini) to opt for settlement.
The presiding Judge, Justice Victor Oviawe adjourned the suit to June 21, 2021 for report of settlement, following the oral application by Osarenkhoe for time to enable the parties settle the matter out of court and Igini’s Counsel Christian Omatsone who did not oppose the application.
Recall that Igini had instituted the action following publications which alleged that he had a secret meeting with Governor Godwin Obaseki with a plot to rig the September 19, 2020 Governorship election.
He described the allegation as malicious, reckless, mischievous and with intent to destroy his hard-earned reputation, adding that the suit was as a result of the failure of the defendant to comply with his protest letter dated August 31, 2020 demanding for the retraction of the said publications.
He demanded for a full page unreserved apology to be published in every edition of the Punch Newspapers, Tribune, Guardian and the Sun Newspapers for seven consecutive times commencing not later than seven days after the judgment of the case.
He also prayed the court for a perpetual injunction restraining the defendants, their agents, privies and or servants howsoever called from further publishing same or similar words defamatory against him.
He further said that he has the permission of the authorities of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to maintain the suit and vindicate his name.
Vanguard Media Limited, the African Newspaper of Nigeria Plc, the publisher of the Nigeria Tribune and the Sun Publishing Limited as co-defendants are other defendants that were joined in the suit.