Ortom’s libel suit: Court dismisses Akume’s application

A Makurdi High Court has dismissed Sesugh Akume’s application for a stay of proceedings in the N150 million libel suit filed by Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom.

Omoleye Sowore, the publisher of Sahara Reporters, is also named as a defendant in the case.

Akume filed the application for stay of proceedings through his counsel, Lubem Ukpo, pending the hearing and determination of his appeal at the Appeal Court against an earlier ruling of the court dismissing his motion for the judge to recuse himself from hearing Governor Ortom’s suit.

The Presiding Judge, Justice Augustine Ityonyiman, ruled on the application, saying that a stay of proceedings can only be granted in special and exceptional circumstances.

Justice Ityoyinman pointed out that, paragraph 6 of the affidavit merely swore that the said petition is still pending at the National Judicial Commission and as such there will be conflict of interest in the matter.

The judge stressed that there is no correspondence from the National Judicial Commission,NJC, showing any conflict of interest and for what reason.

He pointed out that an application for stay of proceedings is not granted as a matter of cause tied lavishly to the filling of an appeal.

He added the applicant must show the existence of special and exceptional circumstances which have an effect of compelling the court to grant the application.

Justice Ityoyinman ruled that, “The application is totally devoid of merit, it fails and it is hereby dismissed.”

The judge, therefore, adjourned the matter to June 28, 2022 for defence.


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