N250m libel judgment: Odinkalu Accuses Judge of Bias
Former Secretary the National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, Prof. Chidi Odinkalu has accused Justice Augustina Kingsley-Chuku of bias in the N250 million as damages for defaming Sir Dr. Peter Odili, a former Governor of Rivers state.
Odinkalu in a statement written by his legal team explained that before the Judgement was delivered a petition had been written to Nigeria Judicial Council (NJC) against Justice Kingsley-Chuku for violation of basic constitutional guarantees of due process, which made impossible a fair representation of the interests of our clients in the proceedings.
Odinkalu also said, “Every effort to bring these breaches to the attention of the court was frustrated. Counsel was denied the basic right to present their case & when counsel applied to the court to recuse itself, the court repeatedly doubled down, ultimately forcing counsel to withdraw from further participation in the proceedings.
“At the time of the reported judgment, there are appeals pending before the Court of Appeal against several rulings of the court, including its claim of jurisdiction.
” There is also pending before the National Judicial Council, a complaint of judicial misconduct in connection with the proceedings in this case. It has not come as a surprise to us that other court users have alleged a similar experience in this particular court, including, most recently, the national Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, who similarly laid a complaint of bias against this same court.
“Our clients have instructed counsel to vigorously pursue legal remedies on his behalf, including appeals. They intend to do just that in faith that the Nigerian judicial system is eminently well equipped to correct every travesty. ”
It could be recalled that Justice Kingsley-Chuku found Odinkalu of defaming Sir Odili in his book, ‘Too Good To Die’ published in 2018.
Justice Kingsley-Chuku in her Judgement agreed that Professor Odinkalu published a libelous, malicious and defamatory article against the former Rivers State governor.
The Court also restrained the defendants from further publication of the book and should retract the publication in two national dailies.
Justice A. Kingsley-Chuku described the publication as detestful and done with an ill intention with malicious content.