AIT Makes Counter Demand of N100 Billion Damages from Tinubu
African Independent Television (AIT) has responded to a legal threat from the All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain Bola Tinubu with a counter demand of its own for N100 Billion “representing aggravated, punitive and exemplary damages for the irreparable injury inflicted on AIT is also being demanded.”
In the letter by his lawyer, Mike Ozekhome, published on its website, AIT describes the demand of N20 Billion damages from Tinubu over a documentary titled “Unmasking The Real Tinubu” transmitted on African Independent Television, as ridiculous and laughable, arguing that “in transmitting the documentary, [AIT] was only carrying out its constitutional responsibility to uphold the fundamental objectives of the constitution.”
AIT further argues that the documentary merely stated that Bola Tinubu generally breached various portions of the Nigerian constitution.
The letter reads: “DAAR communications plc is therefore demanding a complete withdrawal of the letter under reference, which must be given wide publicity as that accorded the letter from the chambers of Tunji Abayomi.
“The media company demands an apology to be published in at least four leading national newspapers and four television stations, which must include NTA, Channels and AIT.”
The hour-long documentary, which was broadcast on Sunday,1 March 2015 at 11 p.m., “unmasked” various properties and companies across Lagos allegedly owned by Tinubu. The programme, which described Tinubu as “Nigeria’s biggest landlord,” also claimed that he was “charged for narcotics” in 1993 in the United States.
In a letter to the management of Daar Communications Limited, owners of AIT, dated 2 March 2015, Tinubu had reacted to the documentary by threatening to sue the organization if they fail to apologize and retract the publication within 24 hours. He was also demanding N20 Billion in damages.
Tinubu noted that since he was not running for political office, he found the publication about his life “utterly absurd, disrespectful of media responsibility, ethically abusive, malicious and unbecoming of a public institution raised into prominence by shareholders’ funds.
“More disturbing is your representation that the said documentary was ‘sponsored’ without disclosing the ‘sponsors’. You cannot under law, hide under media freedom or freedom of expression to maliciously injure a citizen’s reputation.”
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