Linda Ikeji to pay N30 million in damages for libel and defamation

A high court in Effurun, Delta State, has ordered celebrity blogger Linda Ikeji to pay N30,000,000 in general damages to Africa’s Neo-Black Movement (NBM) over a libelous publication.

NBM is a nonviolent, nongovernmental organization (NGO) founded in 1977 by nine Nigerian students at the University of Benin, and its logo symbolizes an axe breaking the shackles of colonialism.

Neo-Blackism, promotes equality, research into traditional African culture, and the liberation of the Black race

On 19 October 2021, Ikeji, in a publication on her blog, allegedly referred to NBM as a “dreaded cult group, black axe, and criminal organization”.

NAN reports that the NBM and three others slammed a N1 billion lawsuit against the blogger for alleged defamation and libel.

The registered trustees of NBM listed as claimants in the lawsuit include Ese Kakor, Felix Kupa, and Mayor Onyebueke.

On Monday, April 29, Roli Daibo-Harriman, the presiding judge, also awarded N300,000 for the cost of litigation against the blogger.

The court ordered Ikeji to place a publication in her blog and national dailies, retracting the defamatory publication.

Ikeji was also ordered to restrain from further damaging publications against the claimants and members of the NBM of Africa.

The blogger was said to have been absent in court and was also not represented.

Speaking after the court hearing, the lead counsel to the claimants, Kelvin Agbroko, said it was a well-deserved judgment.

Agbroko said the case would serve as a “lesson to bloggers to verify the information before making a publication”.

He said, “NBM of Africa is a legal organization duly registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). The defendant’s publication against my client has been cleared as damaging.

“NBM is good to go; we will take all necessary steps to enforce the terms of the judgment against her. It was an erudite judgment that is all-encompassing and will be difficult to fault.”

Reacting to the judgment, Ese Kakor, president of NBM of Africa, said the case had been on for about two years.

“What Ikeji did was just to sell in a bid to defame the character of NBM of Africa; it is very wrong,” he said.

“I advise other bloggers not to follow the same steps as they may face similar litigation. Do not try and defame people’s character.

“NBM has nothing to do with cultism, black axe. It is not a criminal organization but a registered organization.”

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