An Akwa Ibom State High Court sitting in Uyo has awarded N3.5m damages against a Lagos based lawyer, Chief Oluwarotimi Sadik, for defaming the Mountain of Fire Ministries (MFM) through libelous interviews he granted to Sahara Reporters and Crime World against the MFM and its General Overseer, Dr. Daniel Olukoya.
The judgment followed an action in suit number HU/242/2017, between Incorporated Trustees of the MFM & Chief Oluwatoyin Sadik in the High Court of Akwa Ibom State, Uyo Judicial Division, seeking redress for the insulting, damaging and false content of the separate interviews granted by the defendant.
The trial judge, Augustine Odokwo, in the judgment delivered on August 2, 2018, upheld all the claims of the plaintiff and awarded the total sum of N3.5m as compensation for general and aggravated damages and costs against the defendant.
Furthermore, the judge directed the defendant to tender a written apology and retraction, which must be published prominently in two online media platforms and full page in two nationally circulating newspapers and two other internationally circulating magazines.
Justice Odokwo also granted perpetual injunction restraining the defendant by himself, his agents, servants, privies and other persons from further publishing and disseminating libelous stories and statements against the MFM Ministry and Dr. Olukoya.
In September 2016, the defendant had caused Sahara Reporters to publish his interview to the effect that some portion of the parcel of land housing MFM’s Prayer City Development, was wrongly acquired without due compensation to his clients, whom he alleged were the rightful owners. He had also alluded that the acquisition was commercialized with portions sold at premium.
The defendant also repeated the same interview and caused the Crime World Magazine to publish it in hard copy in October 2017, with additional false and malicious statements.