Lawrence Nwimo, Awka
Anambra State High Court 2 sitting at Ogidi, Idemili North LGA of Anambra State has struck out a defamation suit filed by Vice Chairman of The Sun Newspapers, Rev. Emeka Abone, against his elder brother’s wife, Mrs Kasie Abone.
Emeka, who is an indigene of Nnokwa in Idemili South Local Government Area, had dragged Kasie, a veteran journalist to the High Court since 2019 over alleged defamation, but on 25th January 2021, the matter was struck out only for it to be relisted by the same plaintiff (Rev. Abone) two years after (on February 16, 2023).
But when the case which has a suit no. HID/261/2019 came up before Justice Chukwudi Nwankwo of High Court 2 Ogidi on October 10, 2023, it was dismissed, even as the plaintiff was asked to pay a cost of ₦100,000 to the defendant before any other step could be taken on the matter.
Parties in the suit were absent in the court with no legal representation for the plaintiff, but Christopher Oko Esq, stood in for the defendant (Kasie), and had informed the court that the matter was adjourned on record for PTC though the defendant was appealing the ruling of 16/02/2023 relisting the suit.
Recall that Emeka Abone, a former Slok Group Managing Director, had in the quashed suit, alleged that Kasie defamed his character at different fora, including a petition she filed against him before their village elders.
The plaintiff leveled numerous allegations against the female journalist, noting that in various publications, she had described him as a diabolical person, a killer, and a deceitful person who snatched her husband’s landed property.
He claimed that the defendant also described him as a heartless, wicked, and horrible person who conspired with people to foist hardship on her family and had attempted to kill her for standing up against the moves.
He said the journalist labelled him and his wife as “manufacturers and distributors of elephantiasis” and that his wife was “a self confessed diabolical, occultic, evil and satanic witch” who tried to lure her into her “devilish, wickedness, boasting how she inflicted her uncle and a neighbor in the market with elephantiasis.”
The plaintiff further stated that the journalist falsely accused him of wanting to secretly lure her husband, Okey, out to a native doctor to put an incision of charm on him and advising her husband to keep the act secret from her.
However, those who are familiar with the case disclosed that following constant harassment, intimidation, threats and false allegations against Kasie, she was compelled to petition the Elders Council, Nnokwa, a body responsible for adjudicating over matters relating to allegations of diabolism in the town to clear her name and prove her innocence.
It was learnt that rather than honour Elders Council invitation to prove his allegations against her, Emeka Abone rather instituted the now struck out case against Kasie at Ogidi High Court.
In her statement of defense filed in March 2020 through her counsel, F. Chijioke Okoli (SAN) of Delphi Law Advisory, Ezeoguine Chambers, the defendant, and journalist had told the court to disregard some of the claims of her brother in-law, noting that they were in contrast with the truth.
She averred that the plaintiff was the principal architect of her marital crisis, adding that he was influencing her husband, Mr. Okechukwu Abone, to stop loving her.
Kasie said before she got married to her husband, Okechukwu, the Plaintiff never liked her and that as of 2016 when the Plaintiff claimed that the defendant got married to Okechukwu Abone, the marriage had been 10 years gone.
“Before the marriage and while Okechukwu Abone was still based in the United States of America, whenever the Defendant called the Plaintiff on the phone to check up on him as his brother’s fiancé, Plaintiff would retort that Defendant was the reason their brother, Okechukwu Abone had stopped calling or caring for his siblings. Yet the Defendant did not stop caring about her potential husband’s family,” Kasie wrote in the statement.
She said, “On 30/11/2005, the night Okechukwu Abone returned to Nigeria but before the Defendant got married to him, the Defendant told Okechukwu Abone her age and on the next day 1/12/2005 at her house after Emeka Abone forced them out of his house on account that he did not want the Defendant to stay in his house with his brother, Okechukwu Abone, every other detail about herself and her family.”
In return, “the defendant asked her husband (Okechukwu) to leave her house and return to his family and be sure that they all agree to the marriage as she did not want to be in a family where some people would not like her.”
Kasie said her husband, Okechukwu, “refused to leave but was going to meet with his family from her residence in Lagos. After some days he told her that Plaintiff had hung on to her age as being old, ugly, and unbefitting of Okechukwu Abone to marry the Defendant. Okechukwu Abone however got married to the Defendant regardless of the Plaintiff’s and his other sibling’s protestations.”
She said after she had gotten married to Okechukwu each time he went to visit his younger brother, the Plaintiff, at his residence, he would return to tell her that the Plaintiff still insists that he should not have married her.
“The Plaintiff always encouraged the Defendant’s husband, Okechukwu Abone, to abandon or divorce the Defendant and get married to a younger lady.”
The journalist told the court that at any time she had to make imputations which Plaintiff considers slanderous has always been in reaction to false allegations and rumors about her and her family being spread by the Plaintiff and his wife, and his siblings.
She said on one occasion, her husband told her that the Plaintiff and his siblings blamed him for marrying her as a wife and that she behaved like her mother who they allegedly said was a prostitute and committed abomination.
She said the spreading rumors and false allegations fueled the crisis in her marriage and necessitated her to petition the Plaintiff’s kindred, Umuokpala kindred (an adjudicatory body for the Umuokpala kindred), through the chairman of the kindred, against the Plaintiff and his siblings in 2017.
Kasie said she used the same opportunity to expose all the diabolic and evil plots and activities of the Abone family which she had become privy to since she got married into the family.
She also averred that she made the said petition and publication in good faith in furtherance of a legitimate course, believing the stated facts were true.