Saturday, 20 February 2021

Defamation : Court Orders Blogger To Pay N500m To MFM Founder As Damages

An Ogun State High Court sitting in Abeokuta has slammed N500 million damages against UK-based blogger Maureen Badejo over libelous publications through her channel GIO TV against the general overseer of Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries (MFM) Daniel Olukoya and the church.

The claimants are the incorporated trustees of MFM and Olukoya.

Badejo, who is the anchor person for GIO TV on Facebook, had before the judgement made 52 separate allegations against Olukoya.

In one of her allegations, she claimed £4 million was stolen in MFM and that Olukoya was aware. She also claimed he was fully involved in all the alleged frauds being perpetrated by MFM church.

Ruling in a N10 billion libel suit against Badejo, Justice Abiodun Akinyemi awarded N250million to each of the claimants bringing the total to N500million as aggravated and exemplary damages for libel.

Justice Akinyemi, in the ruling, frowned at Badejo’s campaign against the claimants and described it as the worst case of reckless defamation and evil use of the internet and social media.

The court also ordered the defendant to “immediately pull down and erase each of the offending online publications/posts concerning the claimants from the internet.

“Tender a written apology and retraction of the offending publications and posts in a form and content acceptable to the claimants and published prominently in her Facebook, YouTube and Instagram accounts and in at least three nationally circulating newspapers in Nigeria and two international magazines including Time International, FORTHWITH.”

The court also issued perpetual injunction restraining Badejo, her agents, servants, privies or other persons from further making, publishing and/or disseminating defamatory stories and statements about the claimants.

Reacting to the judgement, counsel to the claimants Ime Asanga said a certified true copy of the judgment and a certificate of the judgment with Form 35 endorsed thereon had been served on Badejo through courier and that the proof of service indicates that she personally signed on them at 09:20 am on Thursday, February, 18, 2021.

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