Justice Abiodun Akinyemi of the Ogun State High Court in Abeokuta has demanded 500 million damages against Maureen Badejo, a UK-based blogger, for libellous publications against General Overseer of Mountain Fire and Miracle Ministries (Worldwide), Dr Daniel Olukoya, and the Church.
The Court also issued “perpetual injunctions restraining the defendant by itself, its agents, servants, private persons or any other person whom it has called upon or described to make, publish and/or disseminate diffamatory stories and statements about the claimant or any of them.”
The Judge described the study as the worst case of careless diffamation and abuse of the Internet and social media.
Badejo, the Facebook-GIO TV anchor, released what the MFM and Olukoya Incorporated Trustees described as 52 lies.
It was said that Olukoya had defrauded the US government by selling his books in America without paying the due tax on books.
GIO TV, among others, claimed that a pastor from MFM in the United Kingdom paid an amount of £150,000 to Olukoya’s personal account and then went to Nigeria to visit the cleric to help him cover up his fraud.
But delivering his ruling in a N10 billion libel suit filed by Ime Nya Asanga (lawyer to the plaintiffs), Justice Akinyemi awarded N250 million to each of the claimants, making a total of N500 million as aggravated and exemplary damages for libel.
The Judge also ordered Badejo to “immediately pull down and erase each of the offending online publications/posts concerning the claimants from the internet”.
She was also ordered to “tender a written apology and retraction of the offending publications and posts in a form and content acceptable to the claimants and published prominently in her Facebook, YouTube and Instagram accounts and in at least three nationally circulating Newspapers in Nigeria and two international magazines including TIME International, forthwith.”
The Spokesperson of Olukoya, Collins Edomaruse, quoted Asanga on Saturday as saying that a certified true copy of the judgment and its certificate with Form 35 endorsed thereon, had been served via DHL courier with proof of service which indicated that Badejo had received the court ruling.
He explained that Ogun State High Court Form 35 titled ‘Notice Of Consequence of Disobedience To Order Of Court’ was an endorsement by the Registrar on the Certificate of Judgment.
According to him, unless the judgment debtor obeys the directions contained therein, he/she would be guilty of contempt of court and will be liable to be committed to prison.
“If, after February 18, 2021, the defendant should make any other broadcast defamatory of the claimants or any one of them, contempt proceedings, which are criminal in nature, will immediately be commenced against her,” the lawyer clarified.