Hotelier, Dende petitions inspector general of police over alleged libellous publication

An hotelier, Ibrahim Egungbohun, popularly called Dende has petitioned the Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) and Arise Television over an alleged libellous publication by an undercover journalist, Fisayo Soyombo, who indicted him (Dende) in his report of been a former smuggler

Penpushing reports that Egungbohun in the petition through his lawyer, Ola Folalu of Law Fix chambers complained that Soyombo’s allegations in the report were aimed to cause hatred against him, as well as designed for the purpose of causing inconvenience, danger, criminal intimidation and enmity for him

The petition emphaised that the said publication indicting Egungbohun was a character assassination with calculated view to achieve damaging effects against him and his businesses within and outside Nigeria.

Penpushing further reports that Egungbohun in the petition noted that the publications and the documentary by the undercover reporter are false in their entirety and excessively breached the decent fundamentals of public enlightenment, which the freedom of the press is constitutionally about.

“It is therefore our client’s position that the totality of the documentary where our client’s name is criminally featured and the follow-up publications amount to nothing, but character assassination with a calculated view to achieve damaging effects against our client in his businesses within and outside Nigeria’, the counsel wrote

Penpushing also reports that the petition stated that the orchestrated allegations were designed to cause inconvenience and needless anxiety to the petitioner’s client, contrary to section 24 of the Cybercrimes (prohibition, prevention) Act, 2015.

The lawyer in the petition argued that his client is a Customs Licensed Agent with his business ventures cutting across hospitality, agriculture, quarry, freight forwarding and transportation, and therefore asked the Inspector General of Police to cause the publications to be investigated with utmost urgency and seriousness.

Penpushing reports that the petition noted that this became necessary because of the implication it might have on Egungbohun as well as the security architecture of country, stressing that the said broadcast/documentary is manifestly falsehood, preoccupied with criminal resentment and hatred neither warranted, necessary, proper nor justified against our client.

“Arise TV went ahead to transmit, circulate and allow its anchors to maliciously comment on same to its national and international audience and community, insinuating that our client is a gun runner and notorious’, the petition noted

Penpushing further reports that Egungbohun’s lawyer pointed out that considering his client’s status as a shrewd and highly reputable businessman within and outside Nigeria, he found the broadcast about his life and businesses utterly absurd, disrespectful of media responsibility, ethically abusive, malicious and unbecoming of a media house of Arise TV stature.

‘More disturbing is also the fact that your media house failed to verify the accuracy of the said documentary, as it relates to our client before accepting the same for broadcast hook, line and sinker’, it reads.

‘This documentary is indefensibly false and malicious, yet, your media house gave a platform to unverified and potentially defamatory content, especially when it comes to an individual’s reputation and integrity’, it added.

‘We wish to remind you that under law, every defamatory broadcast or rebroadcast establishes a cause of action on behalf of our client. We therefore seriously warn you against any further or repeat broadcast of the defamatory documentary against our client,” the petition stated.

“In the meantime, to affirm the right of our client against your defamatory publication/broadcast, we demand that you confirm to us, within 24 hours of receipt of this letter, an apology and your retraction of the said broadcast/documentary by responding to this letter. Note also that we are claiming damages of Five Hundred Million Naira (N500, 000,000.00) from your media house for the expressly defamatory broadcast in issue’, the counsel wrote

Penpushing also reports that the petitioner in same vein called for an urgent intervention by National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to investigate and sanction Arise TV/Arise Media Group for its deliberate, unethical and irresponsible broadcast of the sixteen-minute-long documentary.

The undercover journalist, it is recalled had, last week in his report, titled, ‘Undercover as a smuggler,’ alleged that the hotelier/businessman was a smuggler of rice, turkey and guns, with the publication made public on Thursday, February 27, 2024 on a microblogging site, X, and, while it was also been broadcast on Arise Television.

Penpushing reports that in same vein the publication was tweeted under the handles of @fijnigeria and @fisayosoyombo with different contents, including a sixteen-minute documentary, titled, ‘Undercover as a Smuggler.’

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