UK-based Nigerian blogger fined N500m for libellous report on MFM leader, Olukoya
A Nigerian blogger based in the United Kingdom, Maureen Badebo, has been slammed with a N500m fine by a UK High Court in favour of the General Overseer (GO) of the Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries (MFM), Dr Daniel Olukoya, over a libellous report she reportedly did on him.
This followed an earlier decision entered in favour of the MFM and the GO by Justice Abiodun Adeyemi of an Ogun State High Court against her.
The spokesman for the church, Collins Edomaruse, who confirmed the news, said the UK court judgment was registered on Tuesday.
A statement by Edomaruse reads;
“By this development, the judgement of Justice Abiodun Adeyemi becomes, for all intents and purposes, judgement of the Queen’s Bench Division and will soon be executed on the judgment-debtor, Maureen Badejo, in that country.”
Justice Akinyemi had, on February 9, awarded the N500m to MFM and Olukoya against Badejo for aggravated libel over what the church’s trustees said was libellous report against Olukoya and the church.
In the said libellous report, Badejo who runs Facebook-GIO TV, had reported that Olukoya defrauded the government of United States by selling his books in America without paying the due tax on the books, while Elijah Toluwani Olukoya (Olukoya’s son) had N6bn in Heritage Bank in Nigeria.
She added that a pastor from MFM in UK paid £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.
Delivering his ruling in a N10bn libel suit filed by MFM’s lawyer, Ime Nya Asanga, Justice Akinyemi awarded N250m to each of the claimants (MFM and Odukoya) 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.”
She was also ordered to “tender a written apology and retraction of the offending publications and posts in a form and content acceptable to the claimants and published prominently in her Facebook, YouTube and Instagram accounts and in at least three nationally circulating newspapers in Nigeria and two international magazines, including TIME International, forthwith.”
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.”