Nigerian Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Timipre Sylva has won a case against Point Blank News publisher Jackson Ude in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
A judge of the United States Federal Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Joseph Lesson, on Saturday ordered Jackson Ude to remove, delete and destroy all articles and publications alleging criminal or other misconduct on the part of the Minister of Oil State, Timipre Sylva. appearing on the Point Blank News website and Mr. Ude’s social media accounts, specifically the posts at issue in this case.
Sylva had brought a libel action against Jackson Ude after reading articles claiming there had been bribery, fraud and corruption in the awarding of the contract for Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Train 7 (NLNG) to a joint venture led by the Italian company Saipem.
The $4 billion contract is for the engineering, procurement and construction of the gas company’s Bonny Island plant production unit in Rivers State.
Jackson also accused the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, of paying the sum of ten thousand US dollars to each member of the National Assembly to influence them to break the 13-year legislative curse of the government. passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB)
A portion of the United States Federal Court judgment reads as follows; “Publisher Jackson Ude, represents and warrants that his employer, Point Blank News, will cooperate with and work with him in good faith and the amicable resolution of this matter.”
“Ude further represents and warrants that it does not own Point Blank News and that Point Blank News is its employer.”
“Mr. Ude will reasonably and in good faith remove, delete and destroy all articles and postings that allege criminal or other conduct on the part of Sylva appearing on the Point Blank News website and on Ude’s social media accounts , in particular the publications at issue in this Case”
It will not post (directly or indirectly) any false or defamatory information about Mr. Sylva, with liquidated damages of $25,000 per posting and attorneys’ fees to the winner of any resulting litigation.
Mr. Ude will not engage (directly or indirectly) in any act to harass or spread false information against the Minister.
Mr. Ude will also have seven days to withdraw all articles and publish the certification. ECF 138, which is the signed settlement agreement with the judge’s signature, has a 15-point settlement agreement to avoid further litigation over the matter.
“Within (7) days from the Effective Date, Sylva and Ude will execute the stipulation necessary to dismiss the lawsuit, in the form of Schedule A hereto, and file the Agreement and Schedules with of the Court.”
“Within (7) days of the Effective Date, Ude will send to Sylva (through the parties’ attorneys) and post only once on the Point Blank News website (which will remain visible from the home page for seven days), a signed and dated hand-certificate, in the form of the attached Annex B”
“No money will be exchanged between the parties in connection with this resolution and this agreement.”