By Ozioruva Aliu
HEARING in the N5 billion libel suit instituted against the Edo State Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Col. David Imuse (retd), and some national dallies by the former Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Resident Electoral Commissioner for Akwa-Ibom State, Mike Igini, continued, yesterday, following the collapse of out-of-court settlement effort.
Counsel to Imuse, Austin Osarenkhoe had at the last hearing of the matter, requested an adjournment to enable his client explore an out-of-court settlement option, which led to the court adjourning further hearing to yesterday.
But at the hearing, yesterday, counsel to Igini (claimant), Clement Onwuwuenor, SAN, told the court that an agreement could not be reached as settlement broke down.
He said he was ready to go on with the case before Justice Vesty Eboreimen, as Igini was recalled to the witness box to continue with his evidence in chief.
Meanwhile, during cross-examination by Osarenkhoe, Igini confirmed meeting May Agbamuche in Benin City, Edo State on August 24, 2020, for refreshments on his way to Delta State, three weeks before September 19, 2020, Edo State governorship election.
Igini said Agbamuche, who was his boss at the time, had lodged in a hotel and also agreed to another suggestion from Osarenkhoe that both the newspapers’ reporters called him to get his reaction to Imuse’s statement and that his reactions to the text of the conference were published.
Similarly, when counsel to one of the newspapers, Chief D. Ogbodu, asked Igini if the newspaper got his reaction, and whether it was published, he said ‘yes.’
Earlier, the court ruled on a motion by Imuse’s counsel seeking extension of time to file the 2nd defendant’s statement of defence and granted him 48 hours to do so and awarded N50,000 costs against Imuse for failing to file his statement of defence on time despite the court’s earlier order on him to do so.
Speaking to journalists later, Igini’s counsel, Onwuwuenor, SAN, said negotiations for settlement of out-of-court broke down because Imuse failed to offer substantial proposal, but assured that his client was still open to settlement out of court.
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