N50m libel suit: Court adjourns for out of court settlement

By Ado Hassan, ‎Sokoto

Sokoto State High Court Judge, Justice Bello Abbas, Thursday, granted an application for out of court settlement filed by second defendant in a N50 million libel suit against Leadership newspaper.

The suit was filed in April, 2016 by the immediate past Chairman of the  Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Sokoto State Council,Comrade Labaran Lumu Dundaye.

Dundaye in the libel suit against the publishers of Leadership Hausa and its Sokoto Correspondent, Sharifidddeen Umar Dogon Daji, is requesting the Court to award of N50 million only as  damages for character defamation.

The second defendant requested for the adjournment for both parties to settle out of court.

However, Justice Abbas adjourned the sitting of the Court to 31st October for the peace settlement efforts  and continuation of cross examinations of the plaintiff witness 2nd.

Granting the request Justice Abbas, who described the settlement efforts as a welcomed development said fixing the new date was to encourage the peace settlement efforts.

He however, directed both parties to present the settlement  reports to the  court for it considerations.

Abbas also suggested that both plaintiffs and defendants counsels should be involved  in the peace effort process so that at the end they would come up with a term of references for the court considerations.

Earlier,the second defendant,Sherifdeen Umar DogonDaji,who was in the court at the instance of his counsel Barrister Yabo, told the court  about the proposed  peace effort settlement embarked and requested the court to adjourn the case to allow both parties to finalise  the settlement efforts successfully.

Umar, further told the court that the  absence of his  counsel was as a result of his  sickness  and assured the presiding judge that his counsel  will be physically present in the next court proceeding.

Responding the Plaintiff Counsel, Barrister Mohammed Adeleke, told the court that he was not aware of the proposed out of court settlement effort and expressed  hope that the effort will be  genuine and would not delay the case.

Adeleke further stated that although he is not in anyway opposing the peace settlement move, but prayed the court to allow the first defendant counsel to proceed on cross examination of the Plaintiff witness 2, as noted that the Plaintiff PW2 was present and had testified during the last Court sittings.

On his part, Counsel to the first defendant(Leadership Newspapers), Barrister,Abdulhamid Zubairu argued that no adjournment will be granted in the process of settlement out of Court and maintained that he was informed  about the effort before coming to court.

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