Col. David Imuse (rtd), Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Edo State, has opted for out-of-court settlement in the suit Akwa Ibom State Resident Electoral Commissioner, (REC), Mr. Mike Igini, filed against him.
Igini had filed a N5 billion libel suit against Imuse at a High Court sitting in Benin, Edo State.
The REC accused Imuse of spreading falsehood against him at a press conference in Auchi, Edo State, two years ago.
The APC Chairman had addressed reporters on the outcome of the 2020 Edo governorship election, which did not favour his party.
On Thursday, Justice Vestee Eboreime, the presiding judge, adjourned the case after an oral application by Imuse’s counsel, Mr. Austin Osarenkhoe, who informed the court that he held a meeting with Igini’s counsel, Clement Onwuenwu (SAN), on the possibility of out-of-court settlement.
Osarenkhoe said he would like to explore the window for Alternative Dispute Resolution if the court granted his prayer, having settled a sister case with the claimant through ADR.
The first defendant’s counsel, however, stopped further cross-examination of Igini, after tendering copies of Newspapers, which the claimant relied upon as the vehicles for the libel.
Counsel to Igni, Clement Onwuenwu (SAN) objected the motion for adjournment, saying that since the counsel to the first defendant had opened his cross-examination, it would be proper for him to complete it, and used the window of court vacation slated for mid August through September, 2022, to pursue the amicable settlement.
Counsel to the second and third defendants Mr. Femi Jarete Edema, and Chief Ogodu, however aligned with the submission of the counsel to first defendant, saying that the parties had met and agreed to explore ADR opportunity.
Ruling on the application, Justice Eboreime, said the court encourages Alternative Dispute Resolution machineries by parties to settle out of court and adjourned the case to September 26.
She however advised the defendant’s counsel to make maximum use of the window to ensure to the matter resolved amicably before the next date.
Speaking to journalists shortly after the adjournment, Igini said the court case was geared towards redeeming his reputation, which he alleged Imuse damaged at the press conference.