By Henry Ojelu
A Lagos High Court judge, Justice Iyabo Akinkugbe today granted an order of interlocutory injunction restraining the African Independent Communication (AIT), from further airing a documentary on the national leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
The judge granted the order while ruling on an application brought before the court by Tinubu’s counsel, Chief Wole Olanipekun.
Akinkugbe had earlier on March 16 granted an interim order against AIT restraining the broadcast outfit from further airing the documentary.
Tinubu last month sued Daar Communications Plc, for defamation of character, following the airing of the documentary which depicted him as a corrupt politician.
According to him, the documentary was politically sponsored to tarnish his reputation in the eyes of the populace.
He had also asked the court for an order of interlocutory injunction restraining AIT whether by itself, agents, privies and or other persons from producing or continuing to broadcast the documentary.
Moving the application, Olanipekun had asked the court to restrain the defendant from airing the documentary, pending the determination of the substantive suit.
Olanipekun said AIT’s argument that most of the contents in the said documentary were already on various online publication was not an excuse to continue to broadcast the document.
Responding, AIT’s counsel, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN),told the court that the said documentary was last aired on March 6 following his advice to the station to discontinue the broadcast.
Ozekhome, had however, argued that the content of the documentary were facts which had been in the public domain for over two decades and published independently prior to the broadcast.
He exhibited other previous articles written about Tinubu which according to him had remained unchallenged till date.
He further contented that Tinubu was a former senator, two-time governor of Nigeria’s most populous state and the leader of the APC which claims to be anti-corruption.
Ozekhome said AIT had a responsibility to its audience to scrutinise their public officers, adding that Tinubu had not shown how the said documentary had damaged his reputation.
He therefore asked the court to dismiss the application because Tinubu had failed to show that he could not be adequately compensated for the damages.
But ruling on the motion, Justice Akinkugbe held that the continued airing of the documentary titled “Lion of Bourdilion”, would affect the res of the suit which was the reputation of the applicant.
According to her, the applicant cannot be adequately compensated if the station is allowed to continue to broadcast the documentary which it started airing daily from March 1.
“I hereby order an interlocutory injunction in this suit restraining the defendant from further airing, publishing or disseminating broadcasting the documentary ‘Lion of Bourdilion’ which it started broadcasting on March 1, pending the determination of the substantive suit,” the judge said.
Akinkugbe adjourned the matter till April 16 for further direction.
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