A FCT High Court, in Kubwa on Monday, dismissed a N5 billion libel suit filed by a Chartered Accountant, Nixon Alanza, against Thisday Newspaper Limited and Diamond Bank PLC.
Delivering judgment, Justice Bello Kawu, held that the plaintiff did not provide enough evidence for libel and dismissed the suit.
The plaintiff, through his lawyer, Blessing Timothy alleged that Thisday Newspaper made a publication titled ” Diamond bank-list of major delinquent debtors” in 2015 without justification or verification.
Timothy said the plaintiff’s name was stated with other persons as owing a term loan and lease finance facility of N181, 728, 381.55.
She held that the publication was false and defamatory saying that the plaintiff is neither a Director of Global Scan systems Limited as listed by the defendant nor has he ever guaranteed any loan owed to Diamond Bank.
The plaintiff, however, sought N5 billion for aggravated and general damages for libel and statutory interest of 10% per annum from the date of judgement until the judgement debt is fully liquidated.
In its defence, Thisday Newspapers through its counsel, Frank Chude said the Central Bank of Nigeria gave a directive for the bank to publish a list of delinquent debtors.
” Thisday is bound to publish because it was a directive from a credible source, C.B.N and the newspaper is covered by the qualified privilege which states that it owes a duty to publish so long as there is no malice.
” The public is interested in knowing what is going on, a qualified privilege avails publication without malice, ” Chude said.