Court discharges Port Harcourt journalist in defamation suit

A Magistrate Court sitting in Port Harcourt has discharged and acquitted a Port Harcourt-based journalist, Innocent Amadi and Eze Okechukwu Okah, on a defamation and criminal suit filed by the President of Port Harcourt Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Mining, Mike Elechi.

Elechi had filed a suit against the two defendants who obtained his certificate from one of the ministries in Rivers State Secretariat and allegedly extorted N80,000 from him.

Delivering judgment on the suit, Chief Magistrate, Rosemary Ipalibo, said the suit by Elechi against Amadi and Okah lacks merit.

Chief Magistrate Ipalibo ruled that the claimant did not prove that he had the qualifications in the certificate that the journalist sought from the ministry and that the journalist, who was carrying out an investigation, rightly obtained the information from the ministry by applying for it.

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Hence, he was discharged and acquitted.

Speaking to newsmen outside the courtroom, Counsel to Amadi, John Ndah said the judgement has vindicated his client.

Ndah called on the government to always investigate civil servants’ qualifications and records.

He said, “It was confirmed that Innocent applied for those records and that in fact, Chief Mike Elechi does not have any certificate to warrant him to grow from ordinary G4 to Permanent Secretary.

“In his First School Leaving Certificate and in his GCE he wrote in secondary school, he had only two credits which he confirmed he never remedied.

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“And with those scores, he rose up to the position of permanent secretary. What certificate did he use?

“He eventually has been going through the ministry, tendering fake certificates up till date.

“Eventually, the court has discharged and acquitted Eze Okechukwu Okah and Mr. Innocent Amadi for all the allegations levelled against them by Chief Mike Elechi.”

He said all the certificates tendered by Elechi are certificates from one Atlas University that don’t exist.

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