An Enugu State High Court presided over Justice E. M. Egumgbe has awarded N2.5m (Two million, five hundred thousand) cost against four consultant psychiatric doctors working with the Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Enugu over defamation of Character of a senior nurse of the health institution, Mr. Afam Ndu.
The court ordered the doctors, namely, Ubochi Vincent, Unaogu Ngozi, Justin Acho and Ugwuonye Onyekachi who were defendants in the defamation case brought before it by Mr. Ndu, to pay the money to the plaintiff.
The judgement came after the court found that their allegations amounted to defamation.
DAILY POST reported that the four doctors had accused the plaintiff of rape, murder and possession of fake certicates, a development that made Ndu to approach the court in 2017 to seek for redress. He had asked the four to award him 20 million naira.
But, after listening to the arguments of both counsels, Justice Egumgbe noted that both the plaintiff and defendants agreed that there was a petition by the defendant against the plaintiff to the Federal Ministry of Health where they are working.
The judge ruled that the allegations were malicious and made in bad faith and were, therefore, defamatory in nature.
She equally held that the interim report from the panel set up by the ministry of health to investigate the plaintiff exonerated him, adding that there was no evidence that Mr. Ndu has been convicted of rape and murder in any court.
Justice Egumgbe, therefore, declared that the allegations of rape, murder and possession of fake certicates by the defendants amounted to defamation.
The court ordered the defendants to retract the defamatory publication and publish same in a National Newspaper within 30 days, with effect from the day of the judgment on the case.
It further restrained the defendants or their agents from further publication of the defamatory allegations against the plaintiff.
Reacting to the judgment, lawyer to Mr. Ndu, Barrister I.O Adani applauded the court’s decision, noting that his client had been vindicated at last.
Speaking to journalists, Mr. Ndu said he felt relieved by the judgement.
“The court has vindicated me at last since 2017. I have worked for 7 years and despite the fact that I was duly employed, having responded to an advert for employment and having passed both oral and written interviews, they came up with such malicious publication against me.
“I have never had rest because I and the principal of the school, Mrs. Buzo Ruth Maduka spoke out against the secretary to the then medical director Dr Jojo Onwukwe.
“Then she, her boss and these four doctors who are from the same area jumped on us; they suspended me and the principal two different times for flimsy excuses and we were recalled by the ministry of health and the then board.
“The cabals went to my file and removed all my documents and turned around to request for it, including my NYSC discharge certificate and other certificates. They said how can a nurse be driving different cars or dressing the way I dress.
“They framed us for murder, luckily the suspects were arrested and they confessed that they don’t know us nor the woman, that they intended to rob her.
“They questioned my certificate despite the fact that I remain the most qualified nurse in that hospital, being the first to obtain masters in psychiatry and mental health nursing and the first and only fellow of West African College of Nursing in that hospital.
“All their efforts were to remove me and the principal from our position in the school for being outspoken.
“The four doctors did not employ me; they are employees like me. They are doctors and I am a nurse. I am in school and they are in the clinical areas/ward, so we are parallel lines, yet the cabal conspired to assassinate my character. God is great.”