Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, has dragged a Makurdi based lawyer, Ocha Ulegede, to court for alleged false, malicious and libelous publication.
Governor Ortom in the suit averred that Ulegede allegedly assassinated his character and damaged his reputation in a social publication he forwarded to the WhatsApp group of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Makurdi Branch on Wednesday, December 9, 2020.
According to him, in the forwarded post, Ulegede alleged that during a stakeholder meeting between the Benue State government and organized labour held on Wednesday, December 9, 2020, Governor Ortom lamented about the frequency of garnishee proceedings against his administration and referred to him(Ulegede) as one of the greedy lawyers and threatened to face such lawyers headlong.
Ulegede was also alleged to have stated in the post that Governor Ortom castigated the person of Justice Maurice Ikpambese of the Benue State High Court Makurdi for granting garnishee orders and has instructed the Attorney General of Benue State to petition the Judge.
When the case came up for mention, counsel to Governor Ortom, Samuel Irabor, observed that the defendant, Ulegede was not in court, he made an oral application for the trial Magistrate to issue a bench warrant for his arrest.
Counsel to Ulegede, Augustine Sule, however, objected to the application, submitting that his client needed 48-hours to appear in court, after service, as required by law.
The trial Magistrate, Vincent Kor ruled against issuing a bench warrant since the time of service on Ulegede and mention of the case was not up to 48-hours.
He adjourned the suit to January 29, 2021, to hear the preliminary objections against the suit.