A LAGOS High Court sitting in Ikeja, on Thursday, April 16, adjourned a N150 billion libel suit filed by Bola Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos State against African Independent Television, until May 27.
Justice Iyabo Akinkugbe adjourned the suit for further direction after hearing the submissions of the counsels representing the two parties.
Tinubu had instituted the suit against Daar Communications Plc, owners of AIT, for airing a documentary titled “Lion of Bourdilion.” The judge had on April 1, granted an interlocutory injunction restraining the broadcast station from further airing the documentary, pending the determination of the libel suit.
At the resumption of proceedings on Thursday, Ayodele Adedipe, counsel to Tinubu, told the court that the claimant had filed Forms 17 and 18 which had been served on the defendant.
However, Jeffery Kadiri, counsel to the Daar Communications Plc, while admitting service, noted that the 42 days period the defendant was expected to file a reply had not elapsed.
Kadiri said the defendant intended to file a counter-claim and join issues with the claimant, adding that a long adjournment was needed to ensure that all processes get into the court’s file.
Following the development, the judge adjourned the matter, directing that all documents relating to the suit be filed to enable the parties proceed to pre-trial conference.
Tinubu, a national leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, filed the suit claiming that the documentary, which AIT started airing on March 1, was defamatory “in all respects”.
Wole Olanipekun, SAN, his lead counsel, said the documentary showcased various propertyand companies across Lagos State purportedly owned by Tinubu and then described him as “Nigeria’s biggest landlord.”
Olanipekun said the programme, which was being sponsored to tarnish his client’s reputation, also claimed that Tinubu was “charged for narcotics” in 1993 in the United States.
Responding, Mike Ozekhome, SAN, lead counsel to the AIT, argued that the content of the documentary were facts which had been in the public domain for more than two decades.
— Apr. 27, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT