Court adjourns ex-Sokoto NUJ Chairman’s defamation suit

A Sokoto State High Court has adjourned the defamation case of a former Sokoto State Council Chairman of Nigerian Union of Journalist (NUJ), Malam Labaran Dundaye, against a newspaper and its reporter.

Dundaye is demanding N50 million as compensation for the alleged defamation.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Dundaye referred three editions of the publisher in 2012 and 2015 and its reporter in Sokoto, Mr Sharafadeen Umar, as damaging on his character and instituted the suit.

At the resumed hearing of the case on Wednesday in Sokoto, Justice Malami Dogon-Daji announced the adjournment for adoption of final addresses after both parties closed their submissions.

The last defence witness, Malam Isa Shuni, who is the incumbent NUJ Chairman of Sokoto state council, told the court that the alleged publications were opinion write-ups.

Shuni explained that the writer, who is the second defendant in the case, portrayed peoples views and opinions.

He said Umar, who is the Hausa reporter of Leadership in Sokoto state, was doing his legitimate service where the plaintiff considered it detrimental.

He urged the court to consider the writings as legitimate duty of a journalist working to satisfy people’s interests and public understanding of issues.

The witness, who was led by the second Defendant’s Counsel, Mr Simon King, noted that the publications were in accordance with the legal journalism practice and no way injurious to the plaintiff.

Justice Dogon-Daji adjourned the case to Dec. 15, for adoption of final addresses.

NAN reports that the case which started in 2016, witnessed several adjournments and was refreshed following the retirement of the first judge handling it.

Other counsels present in the court included Abdulhamid Zubairu for the first dependant and Muhammad Adeleke for the plaintiff. (NAN)