Alleged defamation: Court orders Edo Govt, Okunbo, to maintain status quo


By Edith Nwapi
Abuja, Aug. 18, 2020 Justice Suleiman Belgore of an FCT High Court on Tuesday ordered the Edo State government and businessman, Capt. Charles Okunbo to maintain status quo pending the determination of all motions brought before the court.

Okunbo approached the court through a motion on notice and got an interim order of injunction on Aug. 10, restraining the Edo government from publishing any defamatory materials against him and the immediate past former National Chairman of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole.

Okunbo had filed the motion against the Edo Attorney-General and Crusoe Osagie.

Justice Belgore struck out the application for extension of the interim injunction for another seven days by the claimant.

He ordered parties to maintain status quo pending the determination of all motions in the matter before the court.

He then adjourned until Aug. 26 for hearing of the first respondent’s notice of objection.

Mr Ahmed Raji, SAN, counsel for Edo Attorney-General informed the court that he only got instruction on Monday from his client to appear.

He added that he had filed a memorandum of appearance and a notice of preliminary objection.

Counsel for the claimant, Valessa Onyemawu, confirmed the receipt of the notice and that of Rotimi Oguneso, SAN, counsel for Osagie(2nd respondent), adding that they would respond appropriately.

She informed the court that they filed an exparte application, M/9162/2020, praying for an extension of the interim injunction for another seven days.

Raji, however, said the application was not to be granted because the life of the order has expired.

Okunbo had earlier prayed for an interim order restraining the Edo government whether acting through the 1st defendant or 2nd and their representatives or any other person howsoever described from publishing or circulating, “Okunbo, Oshiomhole making plans to disrupt Edo governorship election” and other related defamatory publication by any means.

Justice Belgore, in granting the order stated that, “This application upon a calm consideration of the 10-paragraph affidavit and the 9 exhibits attached and the arguments of counsel both orally and written is hereby granted as prayed.”