Nigeria: Court Restrains Edo Govt, Officials From Further Defaming Hosa Okunbo

12 August 2020

An Abuja High Court presided over by Justice Suleiman Belgore, has granted orders of injunction restraining Edo State government and its officers from making further defamatory publications about business mogul, Captian Idahosa Wells Okunbo, popularly known as Capt Hosa.

The defendants to the suit are the Attorney General of Edo State sued as the 1st defendant and Crusoe Osagie joined as the 2nd defendant.

Crusoe Osagie, as the special adviser Media and Communications strategy, Edo State Government, signed the publications in question.

A statement issued by Media adviser to the business mogul, Samuel Ajayi, said the orders were given on Monday, August 10, 2020, in Abuja.

Quoting from the court ruling, Ajayi said the court, among others, orders "retraining the Edo state government, whether acting through the first defendant and or 2nd defendant, its agents, representatives, officers, servants, proxies, assigns, trustees or any other person, however, described acting directly or indirectly for the Edo State Government from publishing captioned 'Okunbo, Oshiomhole making plans to disrupt Edo Governorship Elections, and/or any related defamatory publication by any means, whatsoever, including publications by print, electronics and social media platforms."

In a suit filed by counsel to Caption Hosa, Dr. Adedapo Olanipekun, the business mogul, an elder citizen of Edo State, had sought an order restraining the defendants, by themselves, agents, representatives, officers, servants, proxies, assigns, trustees or any other person however described acting directly or indirectly for the Edo State Government from publishing captioned 'Okunbo, Oshiomole making plans to disrupt Edo Governorship Elections, and or any related defamatory publication by any means whatever, including publications by/on print, electronics and social media platforms, including publications in the PUNCH and THISDAY newspapers".

The senior advocate had also sought a declaration that the defendants' publications of July 20, 2020, captioned, Okunbo, Oshiomhole making plans to disrupt Edo Governorship Elections, "which appeared on pages 26 and 53 respectively of the PUNCH and THISDAY newspapers were false, fabricated, misleading, malicious, unfair and defamatory.

He also sought an order compelling the defendants to wholly retract or withdraw the false, fabricated, misleading, malicious, unfair and defamatory publication of July 20, 2020, captioned, Okunbo, Oshiomhole making plans to disrupt Edo Governorship Elections, "which appeared on p[ages 26 and 53 respectively of the PUNCH and THISDAY newspapers from the PUNCH, THISDAY and any other platform/newspapers same was published.

Caption Hosa, through his counsel, is seeking the sum of N4,000,000,000 (Four Billion Naira) "being aggravated and exemplary damages for the embarrassment, inconvenience, losses and damages done to the claimant's person, character, and interests as a result of the defendants' libelous publications of 20 July, 2020; with cost of legal representation/action assessed at N50,000,000.00 (Fifty Million naira)."

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