A lawyer has been convicted and sentenced to six months in prison by a magistrate court in Abuja for his involvement in a defamatory publication against Dangote Cement Plc.
The convicted individual, Augustine Addeh, a member of the law firm Mokidi and Co., was found responsible for placing an advertisement in a newspaper on Friday, November 6, 2015.
In the advertisement, Addeh falsely alleged that Dangote Cement was responsible for the armed invasion of the Okpella Community on October 30, 2015.
The damaging advertisement also aimed to obstruct the company’s listing on the London Stock Exchange and other international stock markets.
The advertisement’s sponsor falsely claimed that Dangote Cement had orchestrated the blockage of the Okpella-Benin road by terrorists, leading to gunfire and the unfortunate death of an innocent person.
Following a petition from Dangote Cement’s Representative, Ahmed Hashem, to the Inspector General of Police (IGP), the originator of the defamatory advertisement was apprehended and brought before the magistrate court in Abuja.
The lawyer was subsequently tried for criminal conspiracy, defamation, and intimidation, all offenses punishable under the penal code.
On Thursday, Magistrate Muhammaed Omeiza Tahir delivered the verdict in Dutse Alhaji, Abuja.
Magistrate Tahir ruled that the prosecution had successfully established its case against the individual responsible for the libelous publication.
After reviewing the evidence, Magistrate Tahir found that the publication was both false and malicious, causing significant harm to Dangote Cement Plc.
The magistrate concluded that the essential elements of defamation had been proven by the prosecution.
Consequently, the convicted lawyer was sentenced to six months in prison.
Additionally, the magistrate ordered the individual to issue a public apology in several national newspapers within two weeks of the verdict.
Failure to comply with this order would result in a three-month jail term without the option of a fine.
In response to the verdict, a statement from the Dangote Group, signed by Mr. Anthony Chiejina, the Group Chief Branding and Corporate Communication Officer, emphasized the company’s strong relationship with its host communities in Nigeria.
The statement reiterated the company’s commitment to nurturing and preserving this bond.
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