A Chief Magistrate’s Court in Abuja, yesterday held that the three accused persons standing trial for defaming the character of Benue State Governor Gabriel Suswam in an article published in Power Steering magazine saying that the accused have a case to answer in the charge filed against them by the police.
Declining the application for a “no case submission” by the three accused persons, the Chief Magistrate, Hafsat Soso, who turned down their application, held that they had explanations to make in respect of the offences for which they are being charged.
Editor of the magazine, Dan Ekah; Chidozie Ukpai and Oseer Akeem, were arraigned by the police for a “joint act of defamation of character, injurious falsehood, printing or engraving matter, known to be defamatory, as well as the printing and sale of engraved substance containing defamatory matter, contrary to sections 79,392,393,394 and 395 of the Penal Code Law.
The accused persons are alleged to have caused the publication of defamatory materials in the September 2010 edition of the magazine which portrayed Suswam as a fake lawyer, and that he forged his WAEC certificate, among other information pertaining the governor and members of his family.
The accused persons, who had earlier pleaded not guilty to the charges, had been admitted to bail in the sum of N500, 000, with two sureties in like sum.
The case has been adjourned till April 11, 2012 for the accused persons to open their defence in the matter, The West African Examinations Council (WAEC) had last week tendered the original General Certificate of Education (GCE) result of the governor before the court.
The council’s assistant registrar, Mr. Kingsley Ugo Anyim tendered the document, which the court admitted as exhibit in the alleged certificate forgery matter involving the Benue State governor.