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Imo Resident Electoral Commissioner-Nominee, Ugochi Sues Civil Society Leader, Samson Itodo For Alleged Defamation, Demands N1bn

Imo Resident Electoral Commissioner-Nominee, Ugochi Sues Civil Society Leader, Samson Itodo For Alleged Defamation, Demands N1 Billion
September 30, 2022

She also asked the court to compel the defendant to pay her the sum of N1,000,000,000 (One Billion Naira) in damages for the defamation of her character.

One of the nominees for Resident Electoral Commissioner by President Muhammadu Buhari, Mrs. Pauline Onyeka Ugochi, has sued the Executive Director, YIAGA Africa, Samson Itodo, over alleged defamation.

In the suit marked, HOW/1026/2022, before the High Court of Owerri, Ugochi, the nominee from Imo State said a press statement signed by Itodo, which was circulated in print and social media contains defamatory statements against her and therefore libelous.

She also asked the court to compel the defendant to pay her the sum of N1,000,000,000 (One Billion Naira) in damages for the defamation of her character.

Reliefs sought by include, “A declaration that the Channels TV interview granted by the defendant in a program dubbed Politics Today, which aired on the 29th of August 2022 at about 7,00pm local time which is circulating in the electronic and social media and reproduced in the statement on oath contains defamatory statements against the claimant are both libelous and slanderous.

“A declaration that the claimant has suffered enormous damage to her person, reputation, career. A declaration that the claimant has suffered quantum of emotional damage and social devaluation of her person by the libelous publication of the defendant.

“A declaration that the claimant is entitled to damages for injuries suffered by the malicious statements and publication of the defendant.

“That the sum of N 1,000,000,000.00 (One Billion Naira) for the damage to the claimant's personality, reputation and career.

“The sum of N50,000,000.00 (Fifty Million Naira) against the defendant for emotional trauma, public disgrace and social humiliation suffered by the claimant by the defendant's libelous and malicious publication.

“The sum of NI0,000,000.00 (Ten Million Naira) as cost for legal consultation and services in bringing this action. The defendant to cause a written apology to the plaintiff to be published I in 2 national dailies, Channels TV and online media retracting the libelous statements.

“Any other order(s) the honorable court deems fit to make in the circumstance of this case.”

Itodo recently faulted President Buhari’s nominations for Resident Electoral Commissioner.

In July, the President asked the Senate to confirm 19 nominees as INEC RECs.

But according to Itodo, some of those nominated have partisan leanings.

“Some of the nominees of the President fail the constitutional test of non-partisanship and unquestionable integrity.”

“Evidence abounds that some of the nominees are either partisan, politically aligned, or previously indicted for corruption. To mention a few, Prof. Muhammad Lawal Bashir from Sokoto was a Governorship aspirant under the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2015 elections cycle.

“Mrs. Sylvia Uchenna Agu, the nominee for Enugu state, is believed to be the younger sister of the APC Deputy National Chairman, Southeast.

“The nominee for Imo State, Mrs. Pauline Onyeka Ugochi, a former Head of ICT at INEC in Imo state, gained notoriety for alleged corruption and connivance with politicians to undermine elections.

“Mrs. Queen Elizabeth Agwu, a former Accountant-General of the Ebonyi, was suspended allegedly on the grounds of incompetence and corruption in 2016.

“We contend that the appointment of these individuals as RECs will significantly undermine the neutrality and impartiality of the Independent National Electoral Commission, and it will increase mistrust in INEC and Nigeria’s electoral process.

“By the combined effect of Section 156 (1)(a) and Third Schedule, Part 1, Item F, paragraph 14 (1), these individuals are constitutionally prohibited from any appointment as members of INEC,” he had said.