The All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate for the December 5 senatorial bye-election in Lagos East, Mr Tokunbo Abiru, has filed a N1billion libel suit against the media director of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Senatorial Campaign for the elections, Dr Adetokunbo Pearse.
Abiru, in a suit marked NO: ID/ADR/1608/2020, through his counsel, Mr Kemi Pinheiro SAN, told the Ikeja High Court in Lagos, that Pearson caused malicious falsehood to be published and circulated against him on social media and the website of a news platform.
In his November 20 statement of claim, Abiru averred that on October 4, his attention was drawn to a publication making the rounds on social media platforms, titled: ‘Why Adetokunbo Mukail Abiru must be disqualified from 31st October 2020 Lagos East senatorial race.’
The publication, allegedly by Pearson, described Abiru as having the reputation of a rogue banker under whose watch Skye Bank collapsed. “Today, Polaris Bank customers and shareholders are accusing him of fraud. His customers at the bank have convicted him of financial misconduct in the court of public opinion,” the publication alleged.
Abiru said Pearson “published, authorised the publication and/or caused to be published the words complained of knowing they were false, or recklessly as to their truth or falsity.”
He averred that Pearson had calculated that the benefit to him as the campaign director of the Claimant’s opposition political party would outweigh any compensatory damages the Claimant may be entitled to.”
Abiru averred further that he was a “highly reputable member of the society who has achieved professional and political success culminating into his nomination by APC to contest the bye-elections.
He asked the court to for an order of perpetual injunction restraining Pearson from further publishing or causing the defamatory words to be published.
He sought for three other reliefs, including: an order directing Pearson to retract or cause to be retracted the said libellous publication in the same manner and form adopted in the publication of the defamatory words.
“An order directing the Defendant to tender an unreserved apology in the form and manner to be prescribed by the solicitors to the claimant and publish same in one full page insertion in three national dailies to wit: ThisDay, The Guardian and Punch Newspaper within 72 hours of the judgment of this Honourable Court, and all social media platforms including, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.”
No date has been fixed for hearing of the suit.