A former lecturer in the Department of Philosophy, University of Calabar, Mr. Joseph Odok, has been summoned before Justice Imelda B. Etape of the Cross River State High Court sitting in Calabar.
He is to defend the case of defamation of character filed against him by Prof Zana Akpagu, the Vice Chancellor or be committed to prison.In a suit number HC/363/2018 and brought before the court by Prof. Zana Akpagu, Vice Chancellor of the University of Calabar, Odok was listed as first Defendant/Respondent while Facebook was listed as second Defendant/Respondent.
The presiding Judge, Justice Etape granted the prayers of the applicant to serve Odok the summons through substituted means to appear before the court to defend the allegations against him.
Form 48 which is a court notice on disobedience of court oder was also issued against Odok by the Judge.Etape ordered that “Leave be and is hereby granted to the claimant/Applicant to serve form 48 on the defendant/Respondent by substituted means, through publication in a national daily or the Facebook platform on the second Defendant/Respondent”.
Such service shall be deemed good and proper in the circumstances to bring the said 1st Defendant/Respondent to the knowledge of form 48″.The Judge warned Odok that “take note that unless you obey the directives contained in this order you will be guilty of contempt and will be liable to be committed to prison”.
It would be recalled that last year, the Calabar High Court issued an injunction stopping Odok from posting any defamatory information on any social media platform against the complainant, Akpagu.
Since the matter was instituted in court in January last year, Odok has allegedly been avoiding summon but the court has now granted the prayers of the applicant to use a substituted means to serve him the orders.
Subsequently, the Claimant has published the order asking Odok to appear before the court to defend the allegations against him as well as explain why he should not be committed to prison for disobedience of court order was published in one of the national dailies (not the New Nigerian)and on the social media.
The matter was adjourned to the 5th of June, 2019 for Odok to report before the Court.