Nigerian actress Halima Abubakar fined $8k for defaming Apostle Johnson Suleman

Nigerian actress Halima Abubakar fined $8k for defaming Apostle Johnson Suleman

The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court in Abuja has recently handed down a judgment against Nollywood actress Halima Abubakar, imposing a fine of ₦10 million (approximately $8030) in damages for defaming popular pastor, Apostle Johnson Suleman.

The actress had been making accusations against the controversial cleric, claiming that he had reneged on his promise to marry her and had inflicted her with an undisclosed life-threatening ailment that had been plaguing her for years. In response to these allegations, Mr Suleman filed a ₦1 billion lawsuit against Ms Abubakar for defamation in January 2023.

The case, presided over by Justice Enobie Obanor of the Abuja High Court, began in March 2023. Despite several opportunities and court hearings, the actress failed to present her defense, resulting in the court ruling in favor of Apostle Suleiman and ordering Ms Abubakar to pay ₦10 million in aggravated and exemplary damages for libel.

In addition to the financial penalty, Ms Abubakar has been instructed to issue a retraction of her defamatory statements on her Instagram handle and remove all links and reports containing the defamatory comments from various internet platforms.

This legal dispute arose after Ms Abubakar made a surprising announcement on her Instagram page in October 2022, revealing her decision to leave her acting career due to health concerns. These revelations sparked curiosity and concern among her followers, but also led to a legal battle with Apostle Suleman, who accused her of spreading malicious and defamatory remarks about him on various platforms.

It is worth noting that Apostle Suleman has a history of taking legal action against individuals who have made accusations against him. In the past, Nigerian singer Stephanie Otobo and YouTuber Israel Balogun faced legal troubles after levelling allegations or criticism against the preacher.