An Ogun State High Court in Abeokuta has slammed N500 million damages against a United Kingdom-based blogger, Maureen Badejo, for series of libelous publications against the General Overseer of Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries (Worldwide), Dr Daniel Olukoya, and the church.
In a judgment delivered by Justice Abiodun Akinyemi, the Court also granted “a perpetual injunction restraining the defendant by herself, her agents, servants, privies or other persons howsoever called or described from further making, publishing and/or disseminating defamatory stories and statements about the claimants or any one of them.”
The Judge described the report as the worst case of reckless defamation and evil use of the internet and social media.
Badejo, the anchorperson in the Facebook-GIO TV, had published what the Incorporated Trustees of the MFM and Olukoya described as 52 lies.
She was said to have reported that Olukoya defrauded the government of the United States by selling his books in America without paying the due tax on the books.
GIO TV, among others, had reported that a particular Pastor from MFM in the UK paid the sum of £150,000 into the personal account of Olukoya and then went to Nigeria to meet the cleric so he could help him cover up his fraud.
But delivering his ruling in a N10 billion libel suit filed by Ime Nya Asanga (lawyer to the plaintiffs), Justice Akinyemi awarded N250 million to each of the claimants, making a total of N500 million as aggravated and exemplary damages for libel.
The Judge also ordered Badejo to “immediately pull down and erase each of the offending online publications/posts concerning the claimants from the internet”.