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Enugu PDP Gov’ship Candidate, Peter Mbah, Slams N1bn Libel Suit On APC Chairman, Independent Newspaper

The Governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Enugu State, Dr. Peter Mbah, has filed N1 billion libel suit against the Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, Chief Ugochukwu Agballah, and the Independent Newspapers Limited, publishers of Daily Independent Newspapers over calculated act to lower his person “in the estimation of right thinking members of the society”.

According to the court processes by his lawyers, the candidate in the March 11 gubernatorial polls in the state decried a false and malicious publication about his person in the May 30, 2022 at the online edition of the newspaper.

He insisted that the said statement and publication by the defendants were also intended to “isolate the Claimant from the society; expose the Claimant to hatred, odium, contempt, and ridicule; cause other persons to shun or avoid the Claimant; and discredit the Claimant in the matter of his business and political engagements”.

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Mbah, therefore, seeks to be awarded the sum of N1 billion as general damages for the said libelous publication.

The lawsuit marked E/25/2023 before the Enugu State High Court was filed by his lawyers, Dr. Onyechi Ikpeazu, SAN, & Co.

Chief Agballah, in the said publication had accused Mbah of joining the Enugu State governorship race in order to use Enugu’s funds to pay up an alleged N40 billion business debt.

The entrepreneur and candidate of the PDP accused Chief Agballah and the Independent Newspapers of labelling him a member of a criminal gang, which allegedly engaged in malicious damage to property, assault, and other criminal activities against the people of Enugu State.

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Mbah said he was severally embarrassed by countless calls and messages from concerned family members, business and political associates, loved ones, friends and in-laws, while several Nigerians, who thought the claims to be true, condemned him in the media and social media platforms.

Mbah added that although he had caused his solicitors to write the defendants vide a correspondence dated 22nd July, 2022 in which he demanded a retraction of the publication and an apology as well as compensation for damaging his reputation, they chose to ignore it.

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“The Defendants have not brought the publication down and accordingly will continue to defame and maliciously damage the Claimant’s reputation, unless restrained by the Court.”

Mbah is the founder and CEO of Pinnacle Oil and Gas Limited.

Besides the N1 billion naira damages, he is also seeking an order mandating the defendants to publish an apology to him in at least three national dailies in Nigeria, and a clear retraction of the defamatory publication made against the him as well as N10 million as cost of the suit.

No date has been fixed for hearing in the suit at the time of this report.

Comrade James Ezema is a veteran journalist and media consultant. He is a political strategist. He can be reached on +2348035823617 via call or WhatsApp.

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