A Rivers State High Court has adjourned till November 29, 2016 the N6bn defamation suit brought before it by a former governor of the state, Dr. Peter Odili, against the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress in the 2015 election, Dr. Dakuku Peterside.
Odili had claimed the defamation of his character by Peterside, who is currently the Director General of the Nigerian Maritime and Safety Agency, seeking the sum of N6bn as damages.
Odili’s claim at the Supreme Court was based on Peterside’s allegation that Governor Nyesom Wike said that Odili helped him (Wike) to win the 2015 governorship election.
Odili had maintained that the statement credited to Peterside was allegedly made during a press conference, describing it as malicious and false.
The former governor had stated that Wike did not make such statement.
But at the sitting on Thursday, counsel for Peterside, Mr. Rowland Otaru, sought for an adjournment in the matter to enable them file their defence
Otaru added that they were absent in court during the first hearing of the case on October 11, 2016 because they were not served.
However, the lead counsel for Odili, Kanu Agabi (SAN), told the court that adjourning the case to a later date for the defendant to file his defence was at the discretion of the judge, Justice Adama Iyayi-Lamikanra.
But Agabi insisted that the defendants in the matter were properly served.
Justice Lamikanra, after listening to both counsels, adjourned the matter till November 29, 2016.
Otaru, who spoke to newsmen outside the court session, explained that he did not know that the matter had been in court because they were not served.
According to Peterside’s lawyer, “We are not aware that the matter had been on because we were not served. It was sent to a wrong address and we will address the issue later.
“We are coming back on the 29th of November; but before then, we are going to file the necessary court papers. As I said before, this is a libel suit, so, we should be given a fair hearing.”
Also, Odili’s counsel, Agabi (SAN), pointed out that the court accepted the defendant’s request to come back for defence.
“I am happy that the defendant is coming back to defend his actions,” Agabi added.