Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan, the Kogi Central Senatorial Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the last general elections, has filed a fresh lawsuit against the Governor Yahaya Bello led Kogi State Government and Vanguard Media Limited for alleged defamation and linking her to terrorism in the state.
Recall that in November 2022, Akpoti-Uduaghan dragged Bello and the state commissioner for Information and Communications, Kingsley Fanwo, before the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Nyanya Judicial Division, over the same charges. However, the case was struck out in a ruling delivered on Friday, June 16, 2023, by Justice Idris Mua’wiya, for being incompetent. The Court agreed with the submission of counsel to the Kogi State Governor that the petitioner filed a defective originating process which could not be amended.
In the fresh suit numbered FCT/HC/CV/6529/2023, the PDP candidate has again brought the government, Kingsley Fanwo, and Vanguard Media Limited to court.
The state government had previously called on security agencies to question the senatorial candidate over alleged terrorism activities capable of dragging the state back to “the dark era.” This information was stated in a statement signed by Fanwo, and it was published on Vanguard Media’s website on October 31, 2022, with the headline “Terrorism: Kogi Govt asks security agencies to invite Uduaghan for questioning” (Link: https://www.vanguardngr.com/2022/10/terrorism-kogi-govt-asks-security-agencies-to-invite-uduaghan-for-questioning/amp/).
In the prayers before the court, Akpoti-Uduaghan is demanding N10 billion in damages and an order restraining the Governor from using defamatory words against her. She also seeks a declaration that the publication made by the defendants through Vanguard newspaper online media is libelous and defamatory against her.
The court is also being asked to grant an order directing the Defendants jointly and severally to pay the sum of N10,000,000,000.00 (Ten Billion Naira) as damages for the libelous publication against the Claimant in the vanguard newspaper online publication (Link: https://www.vanguardngr.com/2022/10/terrorism-kogi-govt-asks-security-agencies-to-invite-uduaghan-for-questioning/amp/).
Furthermore, she seeks an order directing the Defendants jointly and severally to retract, remove from the internet, and publish a public apology to the Claimant in the Vanguard newspaper, both in print and online, retracting the libelous publication (Link: https://www.vanguardngr.com/2022/10/terrorism-kogi-govt-asks-security-agencies-to-invite-uduaghan-for-questioning/amp/).
Akpoti-Uduaghan is also seeking an injunction restraining the Defendants jointly and severally from publishing or causing to be published the said similar words defamatory against her.
The case is now pending before the court, and the proceedings are awaiting further updates.