Peterside loses bid to stop N6 billion defamation suit

Dakuku Peterside

Dakuku Peterside

The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside, has lost a bid to stop a N6 billion suit slammed against him by former Rivers State governor, Dr. Peter Odili, at the state High Court, Port Harcourt.

At a resumed sitting yesterday, counsel to Peterside, Mr. Rowland Otaru, (SAN) filed an application asking the court to set aside the suit, arguing that his client was not properly served the writ of summons. He also contended that the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate for the 2015 general elections in the state was denied the right to fair hearing.

Odili last October dragged Peterside to court demanding N6 billion as damages for character defamation.

In the suit, he noted that Peterside had during a press conference in Port Harcourt stated that Governor Nyesom Wike’s Supreme Court victory was hatched by him.

However, the presiding judge who is also the state Chief Judge, Justice Adama Iyayi-Lamikanra, ruled that Peterside was properly served. He also held that the court has jurisdiction to hear the matter and subsequently awarded a N40,000 cost against the defendant.

After the cross-examination of Odili by Otaru, the judge consequently adjourned the matter till February 23, 2017 for further hearing.

“Our challenge of the court processes was struck out but that does not matter. The court has the discretion to either grant or dismiss,” Otaru said after adjournment.

The lead counsel for Odili, Kanu Agabi (SAN) noted: “In essence, they challenged the jurisdiction of the court but the judge ruled that the processes were duly served and the case should proceed and we have proceeded with the cross examination.”

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