After the Federal High Court in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, ruled in favor of Pastor Umo Eno, the governorship candidate for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, the College Of Personal Aides (COPA) to Governor Udom Emmanuel asked for the plaintiff, Mr. Akan Okon, to be arrested and charged with criminal defamation.
Mr. Okon, a former commissioner for economic planning and PDP candidate for governor of the State, had taken Pastor Eno to court, saying that he had forged his WAEC, voters card, and birth certificate. He asked the court to disqualify Pastor Eno and make him the next-highest vote-getter, making him the candidate for governor.
Justice Agatha Okeke said in her ruling on Friday that the case didn’t have any merit because Okon’s claims were based on rumors and hearsay.
She then gave Pastor Umo Eno 15 million Naira as compensation for the stress he had to deal with.
But Udom’s staff said in a statement signed by the Secretary of the forum, Mr. Essien Ndueso, on Saturday night that Pastor Umo Eno should start a criminal defamation case against Mr. Akan Okon right away as a warning to others.
They said that the judge’s decision to give Pastor Umo Eno N15 million is not enough to make up for the damage Okon’s false claims caused him.
The statement said, “We want to congratulate Pastor Umo Eno, who is running for governor, on his victory in court yesterday. We see yesterday’s victory as a prelude to the victory at the polls in March 2023, because now everyone in Akwa Ibom State knows that Pastor Umo Eno is a man of truth and character.
“Of course, Pastor Umo Eno’s honesty has been proven over the years, and we have never had any doubts about that. But now that Pastor Umo Eno’s WAEC certificate has been confirmed by a court with the right to do so, we urge Pastor Umo Eno to start a criminal defamation case against Mr. Akan Okon right away. He should have to face the law’s punishment.
“We think that giving Pastor Umo Eno Fifteen Million Naira in damages was the judge’s way of making the Governorship candidate happy and clearing him of the claims made by the confused, who thought he was running for a job that was too big for him. That is not enough punishment for the lawbreaker.
“Mr. Akan Okon should have to deal with the consequences of his bad behavior, and he should be brought to court right away for slandering Pastor Umo, even if it’s just to stop him from doing it to another innocent person.
“In light of this, we want Mr. Akan Okon to be arrested right away and charged with criminally slandering Pastor Umo Eno, who God has blessed and trained to serve God and people.