Gov Wike’s Libel Suit: Piecemeal Pattern Of Calling Witnesses Slowing Down Trial – Gov Wike’s Counsel
One of the counsel representing Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, on his libel suit against THISDAY newspaper, Mark .S. Agwu, has said that the pattern of calling additional witnesses by the defence counsel was slowing down the trial of the case.
Speaking in an interview after hearing on Friday, June 3, Agwu said that the pattern of calling witnesses was piecemeal.
He said: “The last adjourned date we were in court and they (defence) put in their DW2 (defence witness number two), led in evidence-in-chief, cross-examined fully, he adjourned today (3 June) to re-examine the DW2.
“We started this morning (3 June), he says he has gone through the evidence led and discovers there’s no need to re-examine. Meanwhile, this morning he also filed a motion to call another witness DW3 which incidentally despite my opposition for adjournment and the piecemeal application to call witnesses the court in his own magnanimity decided that they should be allowed to call such witness. It’s slowing down the process”.
The claimant’s (Governor Wike’s) counsel said that “if they actually wanted to call more than one additional witness they ought to have brought similar application together when they moved the last motion to call additional witness”.
He said calling the witnesses bit by bit was slowing down the process.
“Today we had expected that he would re-examine his DW2 and maybe close his case”.
The defence counsel’s second witness, Bolaji Adebiji, was cross-examined by the lead counsel for Governor Wike, E. C. Ukala (SAN), on 30 May and would have been re-examined by the lead defence counsel, Tuduru Ede (SAN), on 3 June but this was not to happen.
Speaking in an interview on why he did not re-examine his witness, Ede said: “We were comfortable with the evidence and answers given by the witness so there was no need to re-examine”. He also said that he made further application for another witness.
The matter was adjourned by the judge to 24 June for continuation of hearing.
Governor Nyesom Wike filed libel suit against THISDAY newspaper for allegedly defaming his reputation in their report on June 23, 2020 with the headline: “With Wike, Obaseki Meets His PDP’s Waterloo, Almost”. Governor Wike is demanding seven billion naira damages.
Speaking on the report the governor’s counsel earlier said: “His reputation actually had been adversely affected by the publication and an impression being created that he’s not a man to be relied on. The governor is a man of reputable character. In fact, he’s a political juggernaut which this (THISDAY) publication tended to actually reduce his person”.
Agwu said the governor was only asking for very little amount of money from the defendants in compensation “which if you compare it to the person he is it means nothing”.