Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
The N1.5 billion defamatory suit by former Governor of Abia State, Senator Theodore Orji, against a member of the Board of Trustees, BoT of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Prince Benjamin Apugo, has been adjourned till February 16.
Senator Orji who represented Abia Central in the eight and ninth Senate, filed the suit against Apugo in 2000 for allegedly defaming his character on a live radio programme.
When the matter came up for hearing at the Abia High Court sitting in Umuahia, neither the defendant nor his lawyer was in court.
Senator Orji was represented by his Counsel, Chief Henry Balogu.
The trial judge, Justice A. O Chijioke, ordered that the defendant must appear in court in the next adjourned date for pretrial.
He said that the pretrial would begin on the next adjourned date with or without the presence of the defendants.
Justice Chijioke directed the Clerk of the Court to re-present the notice of summon to the defendant to appear on the next adjourned date.
The plaintiff’s lawyer told newsmen in an interview that the defendant deliberately made defamatory remarks against his client to disrepute him.
“We are in the court because a libelous publication which was a material false which caused him injury to his person, reputation and intended to diminish his status as a political leader, former Governor and a Senator.”
He said that the defendant accused his client of looting Abia treasury while holding sway as Chief of Staff and Governor respectively.