An Abuja High Court has granted restraining orders to the Edo State government and its officials from making further defamatory publications about Captain Idahosa Wells Okunbo, an Edo-born businessman and the owner of Ocean Marine Solutions Limited.
The restraining order against further defamatory publication was issued by Justice Suleiman Belgore.
Standing as defendants in the suit are the Attorney General of Edo State (1st defendant) and Crusoe Osagie, the Edo State special adviser on Media and Communications strategy (2nd defendant).
Crusoe Osagie was said to have signed the defamatory publications.
A statement issued by the Media adviser to Capt. Okunbo, Samuel Ajayi, said the restraining orders were given on Monday, August 10, 2020, in Abuja.
Ajayi, quoting the court orders said:
The court is “retraining the Edo state government, whether acting through the first defendant and or 2nd defendant, its agents, representatives, officers, servants, proxies, assigns, trustees or any other person, however, described acting directly or indirectly for the Edo State Government from publishing captioned “Okunbo, Oshiomhole making plans to disrupt Edo Governorship Elections, and/or any related defamatory publication by any means, whatsoever, including publications by print, electronics and social media platforms.’’
Captain Hosa, in a suit earlier filed by his legal counsel, Dr. Adedapo Olanipekun, sought an order to restrain the defendants, and others acting directly or indirectly for the Edo State Government from publishing a content captioned “Okunbo, Oshiomole making plans to disrupt Edo Governorship Elections, and or any related defamatory publication by any means whatever, including publications by/on print, electronics and social media platforms, including publications in the PUNCH and THISDAY newspapers”.
He also sought a declaration that the defendants’ publications of July 20, 2020, captioned, “Okunbo, Oshiomhole making plans to disrupt Edo Governorship Elections, “which appeared on pages 26 and 53 respectively of the PUNCH and THISDAY newspapers were false, fabricated, misleading, malicious, unfair and defamatory.
Captain Okunbo also sought an order compelling the defendants to wholly retract or withdraw the false, fabricated, misleading, malicious, unfair and defamatory publication of July 20, 2020, captioned, Okunbo, Oshiomhole making plans to disrupt Edo Governorship Elections, “which appeared on p[ages 26 and 53 respectively of the PUNCH and THISDAY newspapers from the PUNCH, THISDAY and any other platform/newspapers same was published.
Caption Hosa, through his legal counsel, is seeking the sum of Four Billion Naira for “aggravated and exemplary damages for the embarrassment, inconvenience, losses and damages done to the claimant’s person, character, and interests as a result of the defendants’ libellous publications of 20 July 2020; with the cost of legal representation/action assessed at Fifty Million Naira.’’