High Court slams N4bn fine on Sahara Reporters over publications on Dr. Bukola Saraki
An Ilorin High Court headed by Justice Adeyinka Oyinloye has slammed a N4 billion judgment against the Publisher of popular online newspaper, Sahara Reporters, Mr Omoyele Sowore, over a series of stories published last year by the medium against the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki.
The judgment affected stories published by the online medium against Saraki between September and December of 2015.
The Senate President had, through his lawyer, Babatunde Olomu, asked for the intervention of the court following the publication of series of libelous stories against him by Sahara Reporters. Both Sowore and Sahara Reporters were joined as defendants in the suit marked as KWS/23/2017.
Delivering the judgment, the court agreed with Olomu and granted all the reliefs sought by the claimant in the case.
Olomu told newsmen that the defendants had refused to defend the case despite the service of the summons on them.
He said the first series of service involved an arrangement between the office of the Nigerian Ministry of Justice and their counterpart in New York, the operational base of the medium.
When that failed, the counsel said the claimant thereafter seized the opportunities of a visit to Nigeria by Sowore to serve him at his two properties in Ikeja area of Lagos state.
He added: “There had been series of publications by the online media house called Sahara Reporters against the person of Dr Bukola Saraki, the Senate President. And the publication had been such that portends him in bad light. So, in order to redress the situation, the Senate President went to Court sometimes in 2016.
“We tried to get Sahara Reporters served with the court processes. We couldn’t because from the website of Sahara Reporters, the address is in New York. And according to our rules, if you want to serve any process emanating from any court in Nigeria, for instance from the High Court of Kwara State, the process is very long.