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Defamation: Malafiya’s Counsel Laments Newsmen’s Reportorial Style In Court, As Masara Kim Applies For More Time

The Oasis Reporters

October 8, 2019

By Moses Gbande, Jos

In the Defamation suit instituted by Prof. Dimis Mailafiya against Masara Kim Usman, Plaintiff’s Counsel, Barr. A. A Ibrahim, Tuesday expressed misgivings over journalists’ reportorial style of court proceedings.

Prof. Dimis Mailafiya, the Director General of the Plateau State PDP Gubernatorial Campaign Council in the 2019 election had earlier this year filed defamation charges against Jos based journalist, Masara Kim, demanding about N50m as damages.

Kim, according to our findings was dragged to court in January 2019, over a news report he published in his news blog, in October 2018, wherein the Sen. Jeremiah Useni’s campaign DG was accused of allegedly collecting bribe to back a supposedly unpopular running mate for the gubernatorial candidate.

When the matter came up for hearing, Kim Masara and his team of Lawyers headed by Nanle Komak from Komak Law Company appeared in court alongside counsel to the plaintiff Barr. A. A Ibrahim to proceed on the matter.

However, defendant’s counsel, Barr. Komak moved to file an application for a motion on notice for the extension of time to enable the Defendant file his statement of defense.

The application was not opposed by the plaintiff Counsel, Barr. A. A. Ibrahim, making the presiding Judge to fix January 27th, 2020 for the continuation of hearing.

The defendant had in a statement of defense through his Solicitors, in January 2019 filed a motion seeking to strike out the case as well as file a followup memorandum of appearance in May 2019,

The defendant was issued a notice of intention to go to court in November 2018 by Prof. Mailafiya’s Counsel, M.Y Saleh (SAN) & Co law firm.

At the expiration of the grace period within which the said defamatory news story was expected to be retracted, Kim was served a writ of summons in January 2019.

The University of Jos Professor of Economics is demanding a N50,000,000.00 relief for the offense, a retraction and an order restraining the Publisher of from publishing any further ‘defamatory’ story against him.

Kim Masara is however contending that the news report in question is not assertive and was published with no ill-will after offering a chance for defense which was not exploited by the complainant.

However, in what appears to be a frustrating moment for the plaintiff’s Counsel, A. A. Ibrahim, was when he raised some misgivings against the style of reportage given to the proceedings by Journalists.

His grouse is that, each time the matter comes up for hearing, instead of downplaying the matter, Journalists go further to reveal the content of the story that gave rise to the litigation, which to him, appears to be adding salt to injury.

He said should such tendencies persist, he may seek an injunction, restraining journalists from covering the proceedings.

The defendant’s counsel replied that he would only respond to the plaintiff’s Counsel if he presents a written application on the matter.

The judge however backed Journalists for making references to the main issues that generated the controversy, ”whatever your misgivings are, meet the defendant’s counsel and sort it out, because journalists have a way of reporting, they sometimes need to recap to tell people that this is actually what happened.”

The matter has been adjourned to 27th January, 2020 for the continuation of hearing.

Greg Abolo

Blogger at The Oasis Reporters.

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