By Abdulwahab Abdulah & Bartholomew Madukwe.
An Ikeja High Court has reserved ruling till April 1, 2015 on the interlocutory application filed by the National Leader of All Progressives Congress, APC, Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu against Africa Independent Television, AIT, over a libel case.
Justice Iyabo Akinkugbe, who sat over the case, fixed the date after she took over three-hour arguments from counsel representing Tinubu and the AIT, Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN and Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN respectively.
National Leader of All Progressives Congress, APC, Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu
Tinubu had dragged the television station, owned by Chief Raymond Dokpesi, before the court alleging that a documentary broadcast by the station, titled ‘Lion of Bourdillion,’ was libelous and aimed at tarnishing his image.
In his ex-parte motion, Tinubu prayed for an order of interim injunction restraining AIT, whether by itself, agents, privies and or other persons from producing or continuing to broadcast, airing, or continuing to reproduce the said documentary.
The motion also sought to restrain the TV station from continuing the broadcast of the documentary, which it started airing on March 1 and had been repeating daily, pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice dated March 5, 2015.
According to Tinubu in his motion, the damages would not adequately compensate him if the ex-parte order was not granted and prayed that the rest of the suit may be extinguished if the ex-parte order was not granted.
He further averred that there was “real, imminent and urgent threat and danger” of continuing to decimate his person and integrity by AIT by continuing to air the “offensive” broadcast if the ex-parte motion was not granted.
Moving the application, Olanipekun argued that by granting the motion, the television station stands to lose nothing by temporary stopping the broadcast of the contentious documentary, pending the determination of the substantive suit.
He further argued that AIT’s contention that the said documentary was a sponsored advertorial was also not an excuse to further continue the broadcast, which has become a subject of litigation.
He added that AIT cannot continue to make money at the expense of Tinubu who he claimed had never been convicted by any court of law either in Nigeria or abroad.
However, responding to the argument, Ozekhome, SAN insisted that Tinubu’s application will not in anyway be prejudiced if the court chooses not to make an order stopping the broadcast.
Moreover, he stated that AIT had since stopped the broadcast of the documentary immediately after Tinubu instituted the suit, while contending that the issues contained in the documentary was already public knowledge as several website had already published similar facts.
Moreover, he noted that since Tinubu had already demanded for N150billion as compensation which is the worth of his purported damaged integrity, it would not be wise to grant his prayer for interlocutory injunction restraining AIT from further broadcasting the documentary.