The N150 billion libel suit, filed against the Daar Communications Plc, owners of African Independent Television (AIT), by former Governor Bola Tinubu of Lagos State, has been adjourned till September 30, 2015.
Trial judge, Justice Iyabo Akinkugbe of the Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja adjourned the case on Tuesday for further direction on the court processes served by counsel to both parties in the suit.
The former governor had instituted the suit against the owners of the station for airing a documentary titled: “Lion of Bourdillon”, describing it as libelous aimed at sullying his reputation.
In a motion dated June 26, 2015, Mr Ademola Adesiyun, Tinubu’s counsel, had asked the court for extension of time in which to file a reply to AIT’s statement of defense and counterclaim.
On Tuesday, counsel to AIT, Mr Jeffery Kadiri, at the resumed hearing of the case informed the court that he had filed all the necessary pleadings in the case.
Also in the counter-claim, seven others witnesses and AIT Chairman emeritus, Chief Raymond Dokpesi including Namure Edoimioya, Chief Medan Tenke, Ajibola Adewusi, Olumide Idowu, Chief Stanley Odidi, Engr. Nwabueze and Dr Stanley Bassey, had all been listed to testify against Tinubu.
But each and every allegation of facts contained in the claimant’s amended statement of claim were all denied by AIT as Dokpesi also countered in his statement on oath that Tinubu’s claim was founded on a none existent ground because the said documentary was not titled “The Lion of Bourdilon”, but “Unmasking the Real Tinubu”.
Dokpesi further averred that the documentary, in his personal opinion, was not false or aired out of malice to the person of the claimant, adding that AIT, as a member of the Fourth Estate of the Realm, was empowered by Section 22 of the Constitution to at all times, hold those in government accountable and responsible to the people of Nigeria.
The AIT chairman, still, argued that the content of the documentary were facts which had been in the public domain for over two decades; saying they were reported independently before the broadcast and had remained unchallenged till date.