The defamation suit brought against Persecond News Limited by Seplat Energy Plc was on Thursday adjourned until April 26 following the absence of counsel to the plaintiff in court.
Appearing in the suit for the 2nd to the 7th defendant, Mr Oladimeji Adebayo and Nnenna Ekeh, from the Ebri & Ndoma-Egba chambers notified the court that they had filed a notice of preliminary objection since October 11, 2022 alongside their statement of defence, but was yet to be served any response from the plaintiff, Seplat Energy Plc.
Justice C. Nnodum, having ascertained that the plaintiff and its lawyers were not in court, apparently due to communication issues, adjourned the case to April 26 for a hearing.
According to the judge, it must be ensured that hearing notice is served on all the parties in this suit.
While accepting the date of adjournment, Mr Oladimeji Adebayo urged the court to ensure that any response filed by Seplat should be served on them as they have yet not received any response from them having filed their defense and preliminary objection since October 2022.
Speaking to newsmen about the issues in dispute, Adebayo said: “Seplat had served a writ of summon that the publication about the acquisition of Exxon Mobil was defamatory, but we have quickly notified the court in our preliminary objection that the court is in Owerri and our client is in Abuja.
“Again, none of the issues in contention took place or happened in Owerri. These, therefore, raise the question of jurisdiction.
“Furthermore, the name of the company sued by Seplat, ‘Persecond News Limited’, is not that of our client. You will notice, I entered appearance only for the 2nd to the 7th defendants.
Meanwhile, we told them, Per Second Communication Nigeria limited is different from Per Second News Limited. We have checked CAC, and Per Second News Limited does not exist in CAC. They sued a company that does not exist.
“As a matter of fact, Seplat sued the wrong company, as we have checked and the company they sued does not even exist in the Corporate Affairs Commission database.
“So my client is not the person sued and we have reflected that in our preliminary objection.”
He, however, said as part of their defense, they have told the court that the said publication was done in the public interest and intended for public good.