Justice Jude Okeke of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court in Abuja on November 1, 2017 awarded 10 million naira as damages against the Abuja Inquirer and Gazzetta Communication Limited for libellous publication against Mr. Kingsley Kuku.
Justice Okeke awarded the damages against the newspapers for its failure to provide evidence to prove that their publication was not libelous.
The Court held in its Judgment that Kingsley proved his case and that the publication by the newspapers contained in the July 27 to August 2, 2015 edition captioned “Kingsley Kuku flees Nigeria” was defamatory of Kingsley.
Kingsley, a lawmaker in the Ondo State House of Assembly, was a Special Adviser to President the Goodluck Jonathan on Niger Delta Affairs, and Chairperson of Presidential Committee on Amnesty Programme.
The Judge held that the newspapers’ statements in the publication in their natural and ordinary meanings were understood to mean that the law maker was deemed a fugitive already declared wanted by the EFCC and that the words were also adjudged to mean that he had embezzled hundreds of millions of naira and dollars.
Justice Okeke awarded a N50, 000 cost to Kingsley for the success of the suit, directed the Newspapers to retract the publication and publish an unreserved apology to him in one newspaper circulating in Nigeria and the Abuja Inquirer within 14 days as well as granted an order of perpetual injunction restraining further defamatory words against him.
The Judge also stated that the publication by the Abuja Inquirer suggests that Kingsley is adjudged to be an incompetent public officer, a misfit in government, a criminal and a fraudulent, flashy, reckless and wasteful public officer with impunity deliberately evading investigation.
Gazzetta Communication Limited publishes the Abuja Inquirer newspapers.