N10bn libel suit: Ortom, Oshiomhole differ on terms of out-of-court settlement

Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, and the immediate past national chairman of All Progressive Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole have differed on the terms of the out-of-court settlement in the N10 billion libel suit instituted by Governor Ortom.

Governor Ortom had filed the libel suit against the former APC chairman over his comments against him in an APC press conference held on July 27, 2018, wherein Oshiomhole accused Governor Ortom of having a hand in the death of two Catholic priests and other parishioners at Mbalom Community, Gwer East local government on the grounds that one of the priests had preached a ‘very critical sermon’ against the governor.

At the hearing of the case on Thursday, Governor Ortom had through his counsel, Samuel Irabor, who was represented by Ladi Achibong expressed worry over the manner the former APC boss was handling the out-of-court settlement.

It will be recalled that Oshiomhole had pleaded for an out-of-court settlement in the case.

Archibong, who held the brief of Ortom’s counsel, Irabor, told the court that the settlement had failed and that it appeared that the defendants are not serious with the process.

Ladi submitted that she had the express instruction of Irabor to ask the court to fix a date for definite hearing of the N10 billion libel suit instituted against Oshiomhole and the APC.

However, Titus Akuha who held the brief of counsel to Oshiomhole and the APC, Festus Jumbo, opposed the submission of Ortom’s lawyer.

He said all the terms of the settlement have been met except one issue that is still left, arguing that the settlement cannot be said to have failed.

Making pronouncement on the case after listening to counsels, the presiding judge of the State High Court, Makurdi, Justice Augustine Ityoyiman, adjourned till February 26, 2021, for a report on the out-of-court settlement or proceed on definite hearing.

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