The out-of-court settlement over the N10 billion libel suit filed by Benue state governor, Samuel Ortom against the erstwhile National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole has suffered a setback.
It could be recalled that Oshiomhole had begged Governor Ortom to settle the matter out of court, but the former APC chairman is yet to make a move towards resolving the issue.
Following the inability of Oshiomhole to initiate steps that would bring about a settlement, Governor Ortom on Thursday asked a Makurdi High Court to fix a date for definite hearing in the matter.
The Presiding Judge, Justice Augustine Ityoyiman after listening to arguments by both parties in the suit, adjourned the case to February 26, 2021 for report on the out of court settlement or definite hearing.
Ortom’s Counsel, Ladi Achibong, who held brief for the Lead Counsel, Samuel Irabor told the court that it appears the defendants (Oshiomhole) are not serious with the out of court settlement.
While she noted that it is possible that the out of court settlement has failed, she submitted that she had the permission of the Lead Counsel to ask the court to fix a date for definite hearing of the libel suit against Oshiomhole and the APC.
However, Counsel to Oshiomhole, Festus Jumbo disagreed with Ortom’s Counsel that steps have not been taken to settle out of court.
Therefore, Titus Akuha who held brief for Jumbo, opposed the submission, adding that all the terms of settlement have been met, except one issue that is still remaining, so the settlement cannot be said to have failed.
It would be recalled that on 13th October, 2020, Oshiomhole had sought for an out of court settlement with Governor Ortom, and the court adjourned the case to 29th October, 2020 for report on the out of court settlement.
However, after several adjournments, the two parties were yet to agree and in the resumed sitting of the Court on Thursday, Ortom’s Counsel asked the court to fix a definite date for hearing, following the failure of Oshiomhole to conclude the terms for the settlement.