Justice K. N Hamidu, presiding Judge, High Court No. 2 Bauchi State, has awarded the cost of N10,000 each to WikkiTimes, its publisher Haruna Salisu Mohammed, its reporter kamal Idris and one Umar Faruq as damages for failing to appear before the court despite several hearing notices served on Al-Basar International Foundation.
WikkiTimes in an investigation has detailed how Makkah Eye Specialist Hospital Bauchi, a subsidiary of Al-Basar International Foundation deviated failed to remain faithful to its founding creeds of affordable healthcare and resorted to extorting clients.
The report also documented how the hospital consistently evaded tax for many years amidst accusations of illegally disengaging staff without due process and maltreatment of patients seeking medical services.
The hospital sued WikkiTimes for “defamation”, accusations the medium refuted.
Justice Hamidu, in his ruling on Thursday following an oral application and argument by Barrister S. G Idrees and Barrister H. B Ghide counsels to the defendants, ruled that Makkah Eye Specialist Hospital shall pay the cost of N10,000 to the four defendants following its failure to appear before the court with its witnesses despite several hearing notices served on its counsel.
Barrister S. G Idrees, counsel to WikkiTimes argued that the defendants had been paying for Hearing Notices served on the Plaintiff, adding that the defendants suffered untold hardship following non-appearance of Makkah Eye Specialist Hospital.
On his part, Barrister H. B Ghide, counsel to Umar Farooq, said that the representative of the substantive counsel in the case deceived him that he is going to present two witnesses in the case before the court, something that made him assign his junior to attend to other paramount cases in other courts.
However, the case has been adjourned to the 27th day of January 2022 for the continuation of the hearing.