Abia State High Court, sitting in Umuahia, has adjourned till February 16 a N1.5 billion defamation suit filed by ex-Gov. Theodore Orji against a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Prince Benjamin Apugo.
When the matter was called up for hearing, the plaintiff was represented by his counsel, Chief Henry Balogu, while the defendant was absent, and no counsel appeared for him.
The trial judge, Justice A. O. Chijioke, observed a delay in the process that had been filed since 2020 and ordered that the defendant must appear in court on the next adjourned date.
He said that trial would begin on the next adjourned date, with or without the presence of the defendant.
The trial judge directed the Clerk of the Court to re-present the appearance notice to the defendant for him to appear on the next adjourned date.
Later in an interview, the plaintiff’s lawyer, Balogu, told Vanguard that the suit was filed because the defendant made “false and malicious remarks” injurious to the personality of his client.
“We are in court because of a libelous publication that was a material false message that caused him injury to his person , reputation and was intended to diminish his status as a political leader, former Governor and senator.”
According to the counsel, the defendant, on a live radio programme, accused his client of looting the Abia treasury while holding sway as Chief of Staff and Governor, respectively.
Recall that Senator Orji was Abia Governor from 2007 to 2015.