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Lawyer Sentenced to Six Months in Prison for Defamatory Article Targeting Dangote

A lawyer was found guilty and sentenced to six months in prison by an Abuja magistrate court for publishing false information on Dangote Cement Plc.

In an advertisement that appeared in the Nation Newspapers on Friday, November 6, 2015, the criminal Augustine Addeh of the law firm Mokidi and Co. falsely claimed that Dangote Cement was responsible for the armed gangster invasion of Okpella Community on October 30, 2015.

In the publication, the convicted person also argued that the company’s listing on the London Stock Exchange and other stock exchanges across the world should be prohibited.

The sponsor of the defamatory publication purported that the company caused terrorists to block the Okpella-Benin road which resulted in sporadic shooting, while also causing the death of an innocent person.

Following a petition signed by the Dangote Cement’s Representative, Ahmed Hashem, to the Inspector General of Police(IGP), the originator of the damaging advert was arrested and arraigned in the magistrate court sitting in Abuja.

The convict was thereafter tried for offences of criminal conspiracy, defamation and intimidation punishable under the penal code.

Delivering judgment in Dutse Alhaji, Abuja, on the suit on Thursday August 10, 2023, the Magistrate, Muhammaed Omeiza Tahir, held that the prosecution proved its case against the sponsor of the libelous publication.

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A copy of the judgment revealed that, the Magistrate, Muhammaed Omeiza Tahir, held that investigation shows that the publication was false, malicious and damaging to the Dangote Cement Plc.

The Magistrate ruled that the elements of defamation have been established by the prosecution.

He therefore sentenced the convict to six months imprisonment.

He added that the convict will also publish a public apology in some national newspapers within two weeks of the ruling, failure of which he will be jailed for three months without an option of fine.

Meanwhile, a statement from the Dangote Group signed by the Group Chief Branding and Corporate Communication Officer, Mr. Anthony Chiejina, said the company has a robust relationship with its host communities in Nigeria, and will continue to nurture and cherish the bond.

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