Three months after demanding an apology from an Afenifere chieftain, Senator Femi Okurounmu, over alleged libelous publications against him, a former Ogun State governor, Olusegun Osoba, has dragged him before a state High Court sitting in Abeokuta, demanding N3bn damages.
Osoba, through his lawyer, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), on Friday, urged the court to compel Okurounmu to retract the said publications.
Okurounmu had granted an interview published by national dailies (PUNCH not included) and reportedly described Osoba as a “traitor and double-faced politician” who betrayed the acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, the late Chief MKO Abiola.
The writ claimed the chieftain of the Afenifere published the statement in Daily Independent and the Sun newspapers.
In the letter, dated July 23, 2019 and addressed to Okurounmu through Olanipekun, Osoba gave Okurounmu a 14-day ultimatum to apologise and comply with the “simple demands” or risk litigation.
According to the letter, the public apology should be published “on the front pages of seven (7) consecutive editions of both newspapers, starting from Monday, July 29, 2019.”
Three months after the letter, Osoba, in the writ of summons attached with a statement of claim, obtained by our correspondent on Sunday in Abeokuta, said Okurounmu had neither acknowledged the receipt of the letter nor shown remorse; hence, the litigation.
In the suit, marked AB/493/2019 and dated November 8, 2019, Osoba sought an order of the court directing the defendant to tender unreserved apology and render unequivocal retraction of the “malicious publications.”
The octogenarian also sought an order of perpetual injunction restraining his age mate from granting interviews or any libelous publications against him.
The All Progresisves Congress chieftain submitted that due to the publications, he had suffered “humiliation, vilification and unjust criticism from young and old within and outside Nigeria.”
“By reason of the foregoing, the defendant has smeared and damaged the claimant’s character, grievously injured his reputation, deflated his human currency and bruised his ego, leaving him in stress and distress.
“Unless restrained by the order of this honourable court, the defendant will continue to publish or cause to be published and disseminated the said publication or similar publications in form of interviews, both to journalists or others, against the claimant and/or his person,” the statement of claim partly reads.
No date has been fixed for the hearing of the matter.