Absence of Seplat’s lawyer delays hearing of alleged defamation lawsuit against Media House – The Whistler Newspaper

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Due to the plaintiff’s lack of counsel, an Imo State High adjourned the hearing in a defamation lawsuit brought by Seplat Energy Plc against a media outlet, Persecond News Limited and others.

The energy giant alleged in its defamation lawsuit that it had been accused by two media outlets of offering bribes to purchase all of Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited’s share capital from Exxon Mobil Corporation.

But the media outlet and 6 defendants in the case had claimed the release was in the public interest and was for the public good following controversy that followed the takeover.

When the court resumed on Thursday, there was no legal representative for Seplat Energy Plc.

Attorneys for the 2nd through 7th defendants, Mr. Oladimeji Adebayo and Nnenna Eke, told the court that on October 11, 2022, they filed a preliminary notice of opposition to the lawsuit.

They added that the plaintiff did not respond to their legal processes.

Judge C. Nnodum then adjourned the matter for a hearing until April 26 and ordered that a hearing notice be served on all parties.

Speaking to the press, Adebayo said his clients are challenging the court’s jurisdiction over the case.

“Seplat had served a subpoena that publication of the Exxon Mobil acquisition was libelous, but we quickly advised the court in our preliminary appeal that the court is in Owerri and our client is in Abuja.

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“Again, none of the disputed issues took place or happened in Owerri. These therefore raise the issue of jurisdiction,” he said.

He continued, saying, “Moreover, the name of the company being sued by Seplat, ‘Persecond News Limited’, is not that of our client. You will find that I only appeared for the 2nd through 7th defendants.

“In fact, as we have verified, Seplat sued the wrong company and the sued company does not even exist in the Corporate Affairs Commission database.

“So my client is not the person being sued and we took that into account in our preliminary objection.”