A Makurdi High Court presided over by Justice Augustine Ityonyiman has struck out a motion filed by the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, praying it to strike out the N10 billion libel suit instituted against him by the Governor of Benue state, Samuel Ortom.
The motion filed by Oshiomhole prayed the court to strike out the suit over the non-joinder of Vanguard Media Limited, the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) and social media platforms or compel the governor to join the necessary parties who published the press conference of July 27, 2018.
Ruling on the motion, Justice Ityonyiman upheld the earlier submission of Gov. Ortom’s lawyer, Samuel Irabor that the case can be decided between Gov. Ortom, Adams Oshiomhole and the APC without joining the NTA, Vanguard Media Limited and social media platforms.
He held that the plaintiff is at liberty to choose who to join issues with.
After the ruling, Gov. Ortom’s counsel, Irabor told the court that he was ready to proceed with the case by calling his star witness, who was in court.
Titus Akuha, who held brief for Oshiomhole’s lawyer, Damian Dodo (SAN) told the court that the defence team was not prepared to proceed with the case, as the matter was earlier fixed for ruling on the motion challenging the non-joinder of other parties.
He thereafter, made an oral application for adjournment to another date.
The presiding judge, Justice Ityonyiman accordingly, adjourned the matter to November 8, for definite hearing of the substantive suit.
Gov. Ortom in the suit among other things, averred that Oshiomhole allegedly assassinated his character and damaged his reputation when in an APC sponsored press conference held on July 27, 2018, Oshiomhole accused the him of having a hand in the death of two Catholic priests and other parishioners at Mbalom community on the ground that one of the priests had preached a “very critical sermon” against the governor.
Daily Times gathered that 17 worshipers including two Catholic priests were killed in a church at Mbalom in Gwer East Local Government by suspected herdsmen and were given mass burial at Ayati settlement which has now been developed into a pilgrimage centre by the Catholic Diocese of Makurdi.