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‘We were denied fair hearing’ — Odinkalu to appeal N250m judgement

‘We were denied fair hearing’ — Odinkalu to appeal N250m judgement
January 28
19:16 2020

Chidi Odinkalu, former chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), says he will appeal against the N250 million defamation judgement awarded against him.

A Rivers state high court, on Monday, ordered Odinkalu to pay Peter Odili, ex-governor of the state, N250m as damages for defamation.

Augustina Kingsley-Chuku, the presiding judge, also ordered the defendant not to publish a book titled:  “Too Good to Die-Third and The Myth of The Indispensable Man in Africa”, which he co-authored with Ayisha Osori.

The also asked Odinkalu to issue an apology to Odili in two national dailies.


But reacting through Idaye Opi, one of his counsels, Odinkalu said he is yet to obtain a copy of the judgement.

“We had in the course of proceedings filed a petition against the presiding Judge, Hon. Justice Augustina Kingsley-Chuku, before the National Judicial Council (NJC) for manifest acts of bias in clear breach of the Judicial Code of Conduct & violation of basic constitutional guarantees of due process, which made impossible a fair representation of the interests of our clients in the proceedings,” the counsel said in a statement.

“Every effort to bring these breaches to the attention of the court was frustrated. Counsel was denied the basic right to present their case & when counsel applied to the court to recuse itself, the court repeatedly doubled down, ultimately forcing counsel to withdraw from further participation in the proceedings.


“At the time of the reported judgment, there are appeals pending before the Court of Appeal against several rulings of the court, including its claim of jurisdiction.

“There is also pending before the National Judicial Council, a complaint of judicial misconduct in connection with the proceedings in this case. It has not come as a surprise to us that other court users have alleged a similar experience in this particular court, including, most recently, the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, who similarly laid a complaint of bias against this same court.

“Our clients have instructed counsel to vigorously pursue legal remedies on his behalf, including appeals. They intend to do just that in faith that the Nigerian judicial system is eminently well equipped to correct every travesty.”

In 2018, Odili filed a defamation suit against the defendant over the book which was published in 2018.


Odili, in the suit, had claimed that the book defamed him. The ex-governor also claimed that the defendants attended a dialogue discussion on the book where “he was discussed which further defamed him”.

The defendants also accused the judge of bias and denying them a fair hearing. They argued that the judge granted the injunction despite being made aware that they were served the originating process about 15 days after the discussion of the book and not before.

They also asked the judge to recuse herself from the proceedings, seeking that the case be transferred to another judge.



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