Chief Obinna Iyiegbu, popularly known as Obi Cubana, has slammed a N1 billion law suit against publishers of Lagos based newspapers “PM Express” at the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) over defamatory publication against him.
Obi Cubana in the suit dated and filed on April 27, 2022 by his lawyer, Mr. Afam Osigwe (SAN), 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.
In the suit marked: CV/1367/2022, Chief Iyiegbu stated that he had suffered severe losses since the defendants, in their publication of April 26, 2022 presented him as a drug baron whose bank accounts have been frozen by the orders of a Federal High Court in Lagos.
In the statement of claim, 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 that of 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).
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 supporting his suit of malice against the defendants he 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.
According to Cubana, the publication by PM Express was aimed at tarnishing his hard-earned reputation, built over the years so as to drive internet traffic to their website and social media platforms, gain public relevance and do maximum incalculable damage to claimant’s reputation, businesses, vocation and standing in the society.
The publication, he added, exposed him to hatred, contempt, ridicule and injury in his position, profession, endeavours and businesses.
Cubana therefore, prayed the court to make an order directing defendants, jointly and severally to pay him the sum of N1 billion as general damages for defamation of character, as well as damage to businesses, professional and financial credit.