Businessman slams N5bn alleged defamatory suit against journalist, others

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By Taiye Agbaje
A businessman, Alhaji Ibrahim Egungbohun, has filed a N5 billion suit against a journalist, Fisayo Soyombo; Foundation for Investigative Journalism (FIJ) and Arise Media Group, over allegations bordering on defamation.

Egungbohun, in a suit field by his lawyer, Bola Aidi, SAN, before the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court, also sought a N10 million cost of instituting the matter.

In the writ of summons marked: FCT/CV/2286/2024 and filed on May 3, the claimant sued Soyombo, FIJ and Arise Media Group as 1st to 3rd defendants respectively.

Egungbohun, a Nigerian Customs licensed agent, is the Chief Executive Officer of IBD Impex Ltd, a company which is into clearing and forwarding of goods, construction, agriculture, real estate and oil and gas.

In the suit, he sought “a declaration that the claimant has been defamed by the 1st and 2nd defendants through the various libelous posts and innuendos made by the 1st and 2nd defendants on their X handles @fisayosoyombo and @fijnigeria.

“A declaration that the claimant has been defamed by the 1st and 2nd defendants through the libelous publications made by the 1st and 2nd defendants on the 2nd defendant’s blog fij.ng in the article titled ‘Undercover as a Smuggler’ published on 21st February 2024.

“A declaration that the claimant has been defamed by the 1st, 2nd and 3rd defendants through the libelous publication/broadcasting made by the defendants on the 3rd defendant’s television programme ‘THE MORNING SHOW’ broadcasted on 24th February, 2024.

“An order of this court for retraction of the libelous statements and tendering of public apology by each of the defendants to the claimant, to be published by the 1st and 2nd defendants on their X handles; @fisayosoyombo and @fijnigeria and on the 2nd defendant’s blog fij.ng, and to be published/broadcasted by all the defendants in the 3rd defendant’s television programme ‘THE MORNING SHOW.’

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“An order of this court restraining the defendants from any further defamatory publications (including the use of innuendos) against the claimant on their X handles, website, TV programmes or any other means of publication.

“The sum of N5,000,000,000.00 (Five Billion Naira) as general damages. The sum of N10,000,000, 000.00 (Ten Million Naira) being the cost of instituting this Suit.”

In his statement of claim attached to the suit, Egungbohun, who hails from Ogun, said he is a socialite and also the owner of IBD International Hotel in Ogun.

According to him, his hard work, integrity, dedication and tenacity has given him business goodwill among well-meaning Nigerians and has enabled him to establish business and personal relationships with top Nigerian businessmen and politicians.

He averred that sometime in February 2024, Soyombo began a calumny of defamation against him through his X handle page; @fisayosoyombo.

He alleged that on Feb 21, Soyombo posted and shared on his X handle page a defamatory article titled: “Undercover as a Smuggler” and published on the FIJ’s blog wherein he was tagged a smuggler.

The claimant further alleged that the said article had a subcaption: “Popular Socialite Arrested For Gun Running, Ibrahim IBD Dende Regains Freedom.”

He said in the article, they alleged that, “The status of the founder of the hotel, Ibrahim Dende Egungbohun, more commonly known as IBD Dende’, as ILARO’S BIGGEST SMUGGLER, has been helped by his proximity to power, coupled with the influence he has amassed with his wealth.

“,..Beyond the LAUNDERED IMAGE of him in the media, however, the real Dende HAS BEEN ARRESTED FOR SMUGGLING MULTIPLE TIMES; but on each occasion, he emerged unscathed. He is that connected.

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“,..Dende used to import Turkey, but he subsequently SMUGGLED GUNS and his cover was blown… Dende also SMUGGLED CARS, his patronage transcending the political class.

“As he entrenched his interests in the SHADY TRADE through the years, he started to build a legion of foot soldiers to perfect the DIRTY WORK on his behalf.

“Some of those boys whom Jide knew personally were bringing in high-value automobiles STASHED WITH ARMS AND AMMUNITION ON DENDE’S BEHALF when they were apprehended in 2018.”

Egungbohun averred that the defamatory and character assassinating posts made against him by the defendants are permanent in nature.

According to him, permanence of the publication means that the claimant’s good name and reputation has been smeared for life by the libelous posts of the defendants.

He said he would rely on all electronic generated evidence mentioned in his statement of claim and would rely on and tender a Certificate of Compliance in line with the provision of the Evidence Act during trial.

The matter is yet to be assigned to a judge as at the time of filing the report.(NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
TOA/IS
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Edited by Ismail Abdulaziz

Ismail Abdulaziz

Deputy Editor in Chief,
Solutions Journalism, Website & Multimedia
Abuja.

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