Gov Wike Vs. ThisDay Newspaper: Court Grants Defence Counsel Motion Of Amendment

A Port-Harcourt High Court on Friday granted motion for amendment of defence statement in libel suit instituted against ThisDay Newspapers by Rivers State governor, Chief Nyesom Wike.

The presiding iudge, Hon. Justice Adolphus Enebeli, granted the motion by Tuduru Ede (SAN) and adjourned to 23 February and 4 March for the defence to open defence.

The counsel to the defendant Ede (SAN) had graciously asked the judge to grant his motion for amendment for the determination of the issue before the court.

At the last hearing the defence counsel said they were ordinarily to open defence but saw the need to make amendment to their statement saying they had filed an application in line with instruction given by their client.

The defence said their filed motion was before the court registry but had not been attended at time of the hearing.

He said that they would open their defence after the amendment and had applied for adjournment.

On Friday, the presiding judge granted the motion which was not opposed by the counsel to the Rivers State governor,

In an interview the counsel M.S. Agwu who represented E. C. Ukala (SAN) said: “The defence moved their motion for amendment. They wanted to amend their statement of defence. It was not opposed. It was granted. Court granted them seven days within which to file their amended statement of defence in line with provisions of the rules of court”.

He said that the matter was adjourned for defence counsel to open defence.

Rivers State governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, filed libel suit against ThisDay Newspapers for portraying him in bad light alleging he meddles and exerts influence on court cases in Rivers State for political end and is demanding N7billion damages.

Governor Wike filed the suit in reaction to a story by the paper with the headline: “With Wike, Obaseki Meets His PDP’s Waterloo: Almost,” prompting the governor to file libel suit against the paper before Port-Harcourt High Court.

One of the reliefs sought is for retraction of the story to be published at front page of the paper using the whole front page.

Meanwhile at the last hearing the defence counsel said he could not open defence because: “We needed to add more facts on what we have pleaded and then to bring additional witnesses”.

He is to open defence on the adjourned date.

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