A magistrate court in Abuja has convicted and jailed a lawyer for six months over defamatory publication against the Dangote Cement Plc.
The convict, Augustine Addeh, of the law firm, Mokidi and Co., had caused the publication of an advert in the Nation Newspapers of Friday November 6, 2015, where he falsely alleged that the Dangote Cement caused the invasion of Okpella Community with armed gangsters on October 30, 2015.
The convict, in the publication, also sought to debar Dangote company’s enlistment on the London Stock Exchange, and other stock markets around the world. The sponsor of the defamatory publication purported that the company caused terrorists to block the Okpella-Benin road which resulted in sporadic shooting, while also causing the death of an innocent person.
Following a petition signed by the Dangote Cement’s Representative, Ahmed Hashem, to the Inspector General of Police(IGP), the originator of the damaging advert was arrested and arraigned in the magistrate court sitting in Abuja. The convict was thereafter tried for offences of criminal conspiracy, defamation and intimidation punishable under the penal code.
Delivering judgment in Dutse Alhaji, Abuja, on the suit on Thursday August 10, 2023, the Magistrate, Muhammaed Omeiza Tahir, held that the prosecution proved its case against the sponsor of the libelous publication.
A copy of the judgment revealed that, the Magistrate, Muhammaed Omeiza Tahir, held that investigation shows that the publication was false, malicious and damaging to the Dangote Cement Plc. The Magistrate ruled that the elements of defamation have been established by the prosecution.
He therefore sentenced the convict to six months imprisonment.He added that the convict will also publish a public apology in some national newspapers within two weeks of the ruling, failure of which he will be jailed for three months without an option of fine.
Meanwhile, a statement from the Dangote Group signed by the Group Chief Branding and Corporate Communication Officer, Mr. Anthony Chiejina, said the company has a robust relationship with its host communities in Nigeria, and will continue to nurture and cherish the bond.