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.

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