Court awards N30m in damages against blogger Linda Ikeji

By Innocent Raphael

A Delta State High Court sitting in Effurun has ordered popular Nigerian blogger Linda Ikeji to pay a sum of N30 million as general damages to the Neo Black Movement (NBM) of Africa for a libelous publication.

The presiding judge, Justice Roli Daibo-Harriman, also directed Ikeji to cover the litigation costs with an additional sum of N300,000.

The court mandated Ikeji to also retract the defamatory content from her blog and publish an apology in both her blog and national newspapers, while stating she was restrained from making further damaging publications against the NBM of Africa and its members.

The lawsuit, initiated by the Registered Trustees of NBM of Africa, Ese Kakor, Felix Kupa, and Mayor Onyebueke, was filed after Ikeji failed to comply with a demand letter requesting a retraction and apology for the libelous article published on October 19, 2021.

In the said article, Ikeji allegedly referred to the NBM of Africa as a “dreaded cult group,” “black axe,” and a “criminal organization,” among other derogatory terms.

Justice Daibo-Harriman emphasized the defamatory nature of Ikeji’s publication and underscored the importance of verifying information before publication. Lead counsel to the Claimants, Mr. Kelvin Agbroko, hailed the judgement as a lesson to bloggers, emphasizing the need for responsible journalism.

Meanwhile, President of NBM of Africa, Mr. Ese Kakor, welcomed the ruling as a warning against baseless defamation, urging adherence to the law in all actions.

The defendant, however was notably absent from the court proceedings.

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