Keyamo withdraws from defending Sowore in Apostle Suleiman’s N1b libel suit

Festus Keyamo

When Apostle Johnson Suleman, Nigerian televangelist and the senior pastor and general overseer of Omega Fire Ministries International, a church with its headquarters in Auchi, Edo State, sued Omoyele Sowore, publisher of Sahara Reporters for libel, seeking payment of damages to the tune of N1billion, it was Festus Keyamo, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, who defended him and his medium in court. Now, Keyamo has withdrawn his legal services in the pending suit at the Lagos state high court, Ikeja judicial division.

Apostle Suleman had dragged Sowore to court for libel, seeking payment of damages to the tune of N1bn (one billion naira only).

According to Suleman in his statement on oath, the online publisher turned politician published libellous materials against him in March 2017. The said defamatory publication was given wide circulation, to injure the reputation of the renowned cleric.

The matter which is pending before Justice Lawal Akapo has witnessed several twists and turns. Only recently Keyamo filed a motion of preliminary objection asking the court to strike out the suit for lack of jurisdiction. He claimed that Apostle Suleman sued Sowore instead of Sahara reporters.

However, Osa Director Esq’s counsel to the claimant averred that his client, Apostle Suleman is at liberty to sue either Sowore or Sahara reporters, or both parties jointly. He, therefore, prayed the Judge to dismiss the application with substantial cost awarded against the defendant, Sowore, as he described the application as frivolous, lacking in merit, and a calculated attempt to waste the precious time of the court.

In his ruling, Justice Akapo dismissed the preliminary objection and awarded a cost of Twenty Five Thousand Naira against the defendant.

After the ruling which was described by Osa Director Esq as delivered with the clinical efficiency of a legal surgeon, Keyamo tendered a letter before his Lordship, Justice Akapo seeking to withdraw his legal services to Sowore forthwith in the matter.

It is unclear why Keyamo threw in the towel. Meanwhile, the trial of the matter has been set for June 2022. For now, Apostle Suleman is deserving of his long-awaited victory in round one of the suit.