A Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja on Monday granted an interim order restraining the Africa Independent Television, AIT, from broadcasting a documentary on Bola Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos State.
Justice Iyabo Akinkugbe said: “The defendant is hereby restrained from further airing, publishing or disseminating broadcasting the documentary “Lion of Bourdilion”, pending the determination of the interlocutory application.”
The matter was adjourned till March 20th.
Mr. Tinubu, a national leader of the All Progressives Congress had brought an ex-parte motion before the court seeking an order of interim injunction restraining AIT whether by itself, agents, privies and or other persons from producing or continuing to broadcast, airing, or continuing to reproduce a documentary against him.
The motion also sought to restrain the TV station from continuing the broadcast of the documentary pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice dated 5th March, 2015.
The documentary titled, Unmasking the Real Tinubu, started airing on the station on March 1 by 11 p.m., showcasing various properties and companies across Lagos purportedly owned by Mr. Tinubu, described as “Nigeria’s biggest landlord.”
The documentary also claimed that Mr. Tinubu was “charged with narcotics” in 1993 in the United States.
Hours after it debuted on AIT, Mr. Tinubu wrote to Daar Communications, the owners of the TV station, threatening to sue if they did not stop the documentary which he deemed defamatory “in all respects.”
Mr. Tinubu also gave the company’s management 24 hours to apologize and retract the publication and demanded N20 billion as damages.
AIT ignored the former governor and continued to broadcast the documentary, and issued a statement describing his threats as “laughable.”
On March 5, Mr. Tinubu, through his lawyers Wole Olanipekun and Tunji Abayomi, instituted a N150 billion suit against the station alleging that the documentary was libellous and aimed at tarnishing his image.
In his motion before the court, Mr. Tinubu stated that damages would not adequately compensate him and prayed that the rest of the suit be extinguished if the ex-parte order was not granted.
The motion further noted that there was real, imminent and urgent threat and danger of continuing to decimate the person and integrity of Mr. Tinubu by AIT by continuing to air the “offensive” broadcast if the ex-parte motion was not granted.
At Monday’s proceedings, Mr. Olanipekun’s attempt to move the interlocutory application was objected by Mike Ozekhome, counsel to AIT, who argued that he had not responded to the application.
Mr. Ozekhome said he was only served the application last Thursday and needed time to respond “in the interest of fair hearing.”
The AIT counsel requested for a short adjournment to file the reply and the judge granted his request.
Following the development, Mr. Olanipekun made an oral application asking the court to grant an interim order restraining AIT from airing the documentary, a move which Mr. Ozekhome also objected to.
However, the judge upheld the applicant’s application.