Libel: Obi Cubana sues publisher for N1b
• Denies being a drug baron
Chief Obinna Iyiegbu, popularly known as Obi Cubana, has sued publishers of Lagos based newspapers “PM Express”, for N1b, over alleged defamatory publication against him.
The suit dated April 27 was filed same date at the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) by his lawyer, Mr Afam Osigwe (SAN).
In the suit, the celebrity is also seeking an order of perpetual injunction, restraining the defendants, either by themselves, agents, third party, media outfits etc. from publishing, advertising, promoting, distributing, circulating and serializing the news article, which is the subject matter of the suit on the internet, social media, Facebook and other social platforms, containing allegations and insinuations that he is involved in drug trafficking.
Chief Iyiegbu in the suit marked: CV/1367/2022 stated that he had suffered severe losses since the defendants, in their publication of April 26, presented him as a drug baron, whose bank accounts have been frozen by the orders of a Federal High Court in Lagos.
Other defendants in the suit are David Odey, Arinze Alinnor, Funsho Arogundade, Cyriacus Izulekwe and Taiwo Adelu, carrying on business in the name and style of DAFCT Communications.
In his statement of claims, Chief Iyiegbu accused the defendants of ‘’maliciously’’ using his photography in publishing a story in which the entire story as well as reported court order has absolutely nothing to do with him.”
According to the claimant, the defendants had on April 26, 2022 published on their website: www.pmexpressng.com a story with headline ‘’Court Orders Banks to Freeze Suspected Drug Barons’ Accounts’’ with his picture used as one of the two suspected drug barons, Basil Okafor Onochie and Okwuchukwu Edwin Izuxhukwu, whose accounts were reportedly ordered frozen by Justice Tijjani Ringim in the suit filed by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
The applicant stated that he is a very well-known figure, whose name and image (photo) cannot be mistaken for either Basil Okafor Onochie or Okwuchukwu Edwin Izuchukwu, the suspected drug barons, whose accounts were ordered to be frozen by the court.
Chief Iyiebu submitted that inherent in the action of the defendants are allegations and insinuations that he is a drug baron, whose accounts have been frozen by the court and that he is involved with or has committed a criminal act.
While stating that the defendants by their weighty publications cast grave aspersion on his honour, reputation and integrity, Chief Iyiegbu submitted that following the publication many persons, businesses, friends, associates, acquaintances as well as community members have shunned him and his company.
The publication, he added, exposed him to hatred, contempt, ridicule and injury in his position, profession, endeavours and businesses.
The defendants, he further stated, ‘’have by their publications shown they are engaged in an intentional smear campaign through defamatory publications.”