A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) has awarded the sum of N100 million against the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) for publishing a libellous news story against Prophet Emmanuel Omale of the Divine Hand of God Prophetic Ministries International in Abuja.
NAN is a news reporting agency owned and run by the Federal Government of Nigeria just like the Nigerian Television Authority.
The presidential committee on the audit of recovered assets (PCARA) had alleged that Ibrahim Magu, former acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), used Omale to launder funds abroad.
The committee based its report on financial documents made available to the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) by FCMB.
The former acting chairman of EFCC had been accused of purchasing a property in Dubai using Omale’s name — an allegation the pastor denied.
NAN on July 11, 2020, published a story on its website in which it alleged that Omale laundered the sum of N500 million abroad for Magu.
However, the cleric on July 27, 2020, through his counsel Chief Goddy Uche (SAN), instituted an action against the federal government-owned news agency seeking N1 billion as aggravated and general damages.
Delivering judgment Tuesday, Justice Yusuf Halilu awarded the sum of N50 million as general damages to the claimant and another N50 million as aggravated damages totalling N100 million.
The judge also gave an order compelling NAN to publish a public apology to Omale in three national newspapers with online visibility.
He further ordered that such a libellous publication should never ever be made against the claimant.