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Wednesday, 4 September 2019

Slug: Election petition tribunal bribery allegation: Sen Bob slams N150 M libel suit on Abuja-based lawyer

Slug: Election petition tribunal bribery allegation: Sen Bob slams N150 M libel suit on Abuja-based lawyer

The former chairman of Service Committee of the Senate, Senator Effiong Bob, has  slammed a  N150 million suit on an Abuja-based lawyer, Mr Leo Ekpenyong, for his alleged libelous publication in an online newspaper (MetroDaily NG.COM) .

According to the suit, Number HU/273/2019, the libelous material was contained in the August  25 August 2019 edition of the said online  MetroDaily.Ng.Com,  with a caption "Judgement for sale in Akwa Ibom State National Elections petition Tribunal".

In the said  publication, Ekpenyong is  allegedly to have suggested that Justice W. O. Akanbi visits and parks his vehicle in Senator Bob’s Uyo residence.

"Again, Justice Akanbi throughout the duration of the tribunal sitting in Uyo has developed the culture of habitually parking his vehicle in the residence of a former attorney-general of the State and Commissioner for Justice who is a Chieftain of the PDP and whose son is currently serving as a member of Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly. ..." Leo Ekpenyong stated in his publication on MetroDaily NG.COM.

But Senator Bob, through his lawyer, Mr Samuel Ikpo, filed a N150million suit against Leo Ekpenyong before the State High court, Uyo, on 2 September 2019.

Refuting the allegations contained in the said publication, Sen. Bob said that Hon. Justice Akanbi doesn't know his residence not to talk of parking his vehicle in it. He also said that, he is not a party to the said suit pending before the Tribunal, as he had traveled out of the country to Germany since 8th July 2019 and that his residence has been fully secured by security operatives.

Sen Bob, who represented Uyo Senatorial District between 2003 and 2011, said the son contested and won the just concluded election into the State House of Assembly to the annoyance of many including Barr. Leo Ekpenyong.

He had on 26th August 2019 in a letter, demanded within 48 hours, an apology, retraction and payment of N150 million to assuage the losses he suffered as a result of the offending publication, failure of which he would sue for damages.

Bob alleged that Leo Ekpenyong's stock in trade is to blackmail people, stating that he petitioned the former Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Senator Godwill Akpabio to the chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for abuse of public funds, gross misappropriation of Akwa Ibom tax payers funds.

Senator Bob said that the defamatory publication has portrayed him as a corrupt person who lends credence to the perversion of justice, guilty of corrupt practices and should be apprehended by the Independent Corrupt practices commission, prosecuted and convicted, and that he should be shunned and avoided by decent people in the society having used his residence to perpetrate and conceal fraudulent and criminal activities.

He prays the court to direct Mr. Leo Ekpenyong to write and publish an open apology in the same online newspaper (MetroDaily NG.COM) as well as N150 million being the cost of general damages for the said label.

The case will be called once the court resumes from break. 

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