How Obanikoro Lost In Court Against Premium Times, SaharaReporters.

A former junior minister of Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro, on Friday lost out in a defamation suit he filed against PREMIUM TIMES and Sahara Reporters.

Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye of the Ikeja Division of the Lagos High Court ordered Mr. Obanikoro to settle the matter against the media organizations at the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) within seven days.

“This is a case of defamation and the parties involved should settle at the ADR within seven days and give this court a progress report on the next adjourned date,” said Mrs. Ipaye.

The judge adjourned the matter to April 7.

Mr. Obanikoro had sued the two news organizations, as well as Punch newspapers; Omoyele Sowore, publisher of Sahara Reporters; and Festus Owete, General Editor at PREMIUM TIMES, for their reports implicating him in the Ekiti State governorship election rigging scandal.

The former minister claimed that the defendants had published defamatory articles that caused him “political and personal losses” and sought damages amounting to N1 billion.

In his suit, Mr. Obanikoro sought an order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants from publishing defamatory, damaging, offensive, or degrading statements against him.

He further sought an order of the court compelling the media houses to retract all the damaging articles against him by publishing an apology in their respective media.

He also filed a similar suit against Sahara Reporters in New York where the company’s headquarters is located, accusing the medium of harming his reputation in Nigeria and the United States.

Two weeks ago, the Supreme Court of the state of New York dismissed the defamation suit, directing that the matter be resolved in a Nigerian court.

Last year, Mrs. Ipaye delivered a ruling describing the former minister’s application in his suit at the Lagos High Court as lacking in merit.

“There is nothing before the court that shows the applicant will suffer more harm if the injunction is not granted,” Mrs. Ipaye said in April 2016.

“It is an error to seek to restrain a publisher of an article on the grounds of libel if there is no proof before the court that such material is libelous.

“I am persuaded that this application has no merit and an injunction is not appropriate in the circumstance.”

 

Source Sahara Reporters

Court gives Obanikoro 7 days to settle defamation suit against Premium Times, Sahara Reporters

A Lagos High Court has ordered Musiliu Obanikoro, a former junior minister of defence, to settle before the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), within seven days, a defamation suit he filed against PREMIUM TIMES and Sahara Reporters.

The judge said Mr. Obanikoro should give a progress report on the suit on April 7, the next adjourned date.

The former minister had instituted defamation charges against the two media companies for their reports implicating him in the Ekiti State governorship election rigging scandal.

Details later….

Federal Government distances itself from arrest of Premium Times’ journalists.

The Federal Government has assured that it will not do anything to stifle press freedom, knowing that a free press is vital to the success of any democracy.

 

Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who said this in a statement in Abuja, however, argued that the federal government has nothing to do with the recent arrest of Mr Dapo Olorunyomi, publisher of the online newspaper Premium Times, and a reporter working for the paper, Ms Evelyn Okakwu.

 

Mohammed said the arrests were purely a private affair involving a citizen and a privately-owned newspaper, and such should not be construed as an attempt by the government to intimidate the press.

 

He said, “We have said it before and we want to re-state it: The Federal Government has no immediate or long-term plan to stifle press freedom. Even the Social Media, with its warts and all, will neither be regulated nor have its operations tampered with,”.

BREAKING: Police raid PREMIUM TIMES head office; arrest publisher, journalist.

The Nigeria police have raided PREMIUM TIMES head office in Abuja, and arrested the newspaper’s publisher.

 

The publisher, Dapo Olorunyomi, was arrested alongside the paper’s judiciary correspondent, Evelyn Okakwu.

 

Plain-clothed officers conducted search at the office shortly after 5p.m. Thursday, and said they were acting on a complaint filed by the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai.

 

The arrests came days after PREMIUM TIMES turned down the army’s demand to retract news stories about the Nigerian Army and its operations.

 

The paper’s Editor-in-Chief, Musikilu Mojeed, condemned the raid.

 

“They should stop deluding themselves that they can muzzle the press and intimidate PREMIUM TIMES,” said Mr. Mojeed. “They should know that our loyalty lies with our readers and the Nigerian people who have a right to know.”

 

He said the paper will continue “to discharge its responsibilities in line with global best practices, social responsibility and patriotism, even at great risk to our personal liberties”.

 

More details later…

Alison-Madueke Asks Court To Stop Premium Times, 9 Others From Linking Her With Missing $20bn Oil Money

The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, has sued Premium Times and 10 other individuals and organizations to restrain them from further reporting on the controversial missing $20billion oil money involving the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.
In an application before Justice AFA Ademola of the Federal High Court, Abuja, Mrs. Alison-Madueke’s lawyer, Godwin Obla, from Obla & Co., sought and obtained an interim injunction restraining Premium Times and 10 others from “publishing or causing to be published any further defamatory statements” stating or suggesting that the minister “stole, misappropriate or colluded in the stealing of $20billion crude oil revenue”.
In the application dated March 13, 2015, Mr. Obla warned the persons and organisations to desist from “further publishing any disparaging defamatory or otherwise salacious materia (sic) as it relates to or affects our client.”
Those listed as defendants in the case are the All Progressives Congress, APC, Vanguard Media Limited and its editor, Mideno Bayagbon; Leadership Newspapers Group Limited and its editor Ekele Peter Agbo; Premium Times Services Limited and its editor in chief, Dapo Olorunyomi, and Vintage Press Limited and its editor, Lekan Otufodunrin.
Also joined in the application were the National Broadcasting Corporation and the Nigerian Press Council.
The Court directed the two government regulators to ensure Mrs. Alison-Madueke is not linked in any report regarding the alleged missing $20 billion either on broadcast media, internet, print or radio.
The court specifically ordered the media houses to “desist from publishing any materials or running any programmme alluding to the complicity or collusion” the minister in respect of “$20billion, $49billion or any other figure, howsoever computed or arrived at, which are purportedly/allegedly missing or ‘unaccounted’ for”.
“You are hereby advised to immediately ensure total compliance with the Order of the Hon. Justice Ademola and to further cease and desist forthwith from publishing any material, howsoever titled or presented and irrespective of its form and content, which alludes to any amorous, immoral, salacious and defamatory matters connected to or related with our client, including anything to do with any allegation(s) or insinuation that our client colluded, was involved with or is complicit in the matter of a purportedly/allegedly missing $20billion, $49billion or any other amount whatsoever, until the determination of the substantive suit,” it stated.
Warning that compliance to the court order was not discretionary, but mandatory, Mr. Obla said that any attempt to do otherwise would be tantamount to flouting a subsisting order of a competent court.
“Failure to heed or give effect to the subsisting orders of the court will lead to the full force of the law being brought to bear upon your organization,” he said.
The missing $20 billion oil money was first raised by former Central Bank governor, Lamido Sanusi, who accused the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, of not accounting for the amount.
As petroleum minister, Mrs. Alison-Madueke is the chairperson of the board of the NNPC.
While the government denied that funds were missing, it ordered a forensic audit of the NNPC, carried out by PriceWaterHouseCoopers Limited.
Several months after the completion of the audit, President Goodluck Jonathan has ordered the report be withheld.
Last month, Mrs. Alison-Madueke told the Financial Times of London that the government was sitting on the report to ensure a “rabid” opposition does not exploit every of its detail to ridicule the government ahead of crucial polls March 28.
Under immense pressure from Nigerians, the government released a “highlight” of the report, which indeed proved the NNPC was indebted to the government, but at a much lower rate of $1.49billion.
The petroleum minister has since directed the NNPC to pay the money to the federation account.
Notwithstanding, many Nigerians have continued to demand the release of the full report.
The minister and her finance counterpart, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, have repeatedly flouted the directives of the House of Representatives that the report be made public.
Source; Premium Times

Missing $20bn: Alison-Madueke Sues APC, Premium Times, 9 others

Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, has sued premium times and 10 other individuals and organizations to restrain them from further reporting on the controversial missing $20billion oil money involving the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.

In an application before Justice AFA Ademola of the Federal High Court, Abuja, Mrs. Alison-Madueke’s lawyer, Godwin Obla, from Obla & Co., sought and obtained an interim injunction restraining PREMIUM TIMES and 10 others from “publishing or causing to be published any further defamatory statements” stating or suggesting that the minister “stole, misappropriate or colluded in the stealing of $20billion crude oil revenue”.

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Exclusive Report into Nigerian Military’s New Offensive Against Boko Haram- Premium Times (See Photos)

PREMIUM TIMES journalist travels to key towns in Adamawa and Borno, recently overran by Boko Haram and reports that an apparently better equipped Nigerian military has revved up its battle against the extremist Boko Haram sect, displacing the insurgents from key Adamawa and Borno towns.

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The above photo is an illustration of many deserted areas that have been seized but taken over by the Nigerian military.

As town after town fell to Boko Haram, which busied itself shooting, bombing and raiding communities, and slitting the throats of defenceless residents, Nigerian troops came under severe local and international ridicule for failing to neutralise often predictable attacks by the militants.

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The above photo compares Nigerian Army’s APC (12.7mm) bullet with Boko Haram’s rocket size one (35 mm) (right). T72, now in use by the army, has 120mm ballistic.

“The military appears to be better equipped and motivated, and appears to have upped its war games,” reporter Aliyu Tilde, usually critical of the military’s response to Boko Haram, said.

PREMIUM TIMES is the first news organization to access the heavily-guarded areas of Adamawa and Borno States, currently under military operations.

“Gaskiya (truth be said) Nigerian military is doing a very very fine job here. They have cleared Gombi, Hong, Mararraba, Mubi and the entire route of Boko Haram,” Mr. Tilde said.

“They are now at Uba slugging it out. Vehicles aren’t allowed beyond Gombi. People trek to Hong. The road is quiet. Clearing of hazardous materials like IEDs going on along Mararraba-Mubi Road before the road is open to users.

“Gombi-Garkida road is also cleared. It is safe. Saw many vehicles plying the road. Clearing of Garkida-Biu road may start soon,” he said.

“The military is now better equipped and more confident. Its newly acquired T72 tank is devastating. Boko Haram bombed it using suicide bombers with a pickup packed with explosives but to no avail. Only scratches. And the beast moved on.

“If the military is able to keep the tempo, many more places will be liberated,” Mr. Tilde said.

On Tuesday, the reporter continued his journey, talking to residents of liberated towns, soldiers, and vigilantes.

In a dispatch on Tuesday night, he wrote, “Gombi is quiet, half-empty, on curfew today, in the full control of Nigerian armed, police, custom, immigration forces. A camp of vigilantes can also been seen just before the junction to Mubi.

“I trekked from Muchalla to Gombi, seen burnt cars, motorcycles and buses of Boko Haram when their advance was checked by the military 10 days ago.

“Their last advance was stopped at Muchalla. So many bullet shells, small and big, on the road plus signs of shelling of trees, houses, etc. Night curfew started just now at 6pm.

“Many residents have returned although the road from Girei to this point has been nearly empty.

“Lassa and Dile exhibited the best use of self-defence doctrine. Unlike other towns that fled on hearing the sound of Boko Haram gunfire, the youths stood their ground and slugged it out with the Boko Haram chaps. Within 30 minutes they cleared them although few were able to escape.

“Boko Haram is becoming demystified gradually, it seems.

“There seems to be some change in the composition of the soldiers here. Most of them are 30 and above, truly professionals. The incident of begging for tips from motorists has also reduced drastically.

“We just hope they have made adequate safety arrangements for keeping the liberated towns safe.”

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Credit: Premium Times