Former Imo State Governor, Dr Ikedi Ohakim has slammed an N5 billion libel suit against her former mistress, Lady Chinyere Lilian Amuchienwa for allegedly publishing defamatory and falsehood against him.
Already, the court has issued a summons commanding her appearance before it on February 18, 2021.
Court documents showed that the former governor is urging the court to declare that the defendant’s allegations published in the said PREMIUM TIMES interview and the viral audio she circulated are slanderous, libellous and defamatory.
He is further seeking an order of the court directing the Defendant to retract the PREMIUM TIMES allegations through another interview to PREMIUM TIMES; and retract the audio through making another audio she would circulate through social media, including particularly WhatsApp Messenger.
An order of the court directing the Defendant to write and deliver to the Plaintiff, an unreserved letter of apology.
The letter of apology shall be prominently and boldly published full-page in two Nigerian Newspapers of national circulation, namely: Vanguard Newspaper and Sun Newspaper; and two newspapers of local circulation in Imo State, namely: The Announcer Express and Trumpeter.
In the suit marked HOW/888/2020, filed before the Imo State High Court by his counsel, Aloy Ejimakor, Ohakim is also pressing for an order of perpetual injunction restraining the Defendant from further and forever uttering the said slanderous and libellous words about or concerning the Plaintiff.
Aside from the N5 billion AN ORDER of this Honorable Court directing the Defendant to pay to the Plaintiff the sum of N5,000,000,000.00 (Five Billion Naira only) being general and exemplary damages.
He has also secured an order of the court issued by Justice I. M. Njaka of the state high Court for substituted service to be effected on the defendant.
In an affidavit in support of the beginning process, the plaintiff who is one of the founding members of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Imo State, said he remained a PDP member until November 2006, when he became a member of the Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA), under which platform he contested, won and was sworn as the Executive Governor of Imo State on May 29, 2007.
He narrated how he met the defendant met in Arondizuogu, Imo State in November 2018, whereupon they became friends and later developed a close relationship that was based on trust.
That is the lead-up to the 2019 Imo Governorship Election, Plaintiff constituted a ‘Campaign Council’ for the purpose of leading the electioneering campaign for the said election in the 27 (twenty-seven) Local Government Areas of Imo State; and Plaintiff appointed Defendant as a member of said council, to particularly coordinate the electioneering campaign in Ideato North LGA of Imo State.
Part of the powers, privileges and responsibilities of members of the said Special Campaign Council was to receive monies from the Plaintiff and to also raise donations from third parties, all to be expended on items and purposes related to the electioneering campaign in their respective local government areas. All members of the campaign council were supposed to account for all money receipts and expenditures to the Plaintiff at the conclusion of the election.
According to him, at the conclusion of said election, all members of the campaign council, except the Defendant, rendered accounts of all monies received and spent to the Plaintiff and their various accounts were thereby closed.
Apart from disbursing some cash through Access-Diamond Bank, not amounting to more than Four Million Naira (N4,000,000) and monies for airline tickets and hotel expenses for Plaintiff’s two international travels, Defendant has so far refused to render a said account.
In addition to Defendant’s refusal to render the said account and make refunds thereof, Defendant turned hostile and resorted to various acts of slander, libel, defamation, intimidation, threats and even assault, which became unbearable to the point that Plaintiff petitioned the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) on January 20, 2020, and the IGP commenced investigation thereof. A copy of the said petition is hereby pleaded and made part hereof.
He lamented that Instead of relying on the instrumentality of said IGP investigation to tell her side of the story, the Defendant granted a libellous interview to PREMIUM TIMES newspaper, which interview was published on 18th August 2020, containing the following excerpted libels uttered against the Plaintiff by the Defendant:
‘Ms Amuchienwa, in her response to PREMIUM TIMES’ questions, admitted she was in a relationship with the former governor.
“I am an adult and I have entitled to date anybody I choose to,” she said.
Ms Amuchienwa, however, said the quarrel between her and Mr Ohakim was about some money she said the former governor took from her and was yet to pay back.
She also said Mr Ohakim visited her shop in Lagos and carted away the designer’s suitcase, bags, shoes, and other luxury goods, which he has allegedly refused to pay for.
Ms Amuchienwa, during her interview with PREMIUM TIMES, called Mr Ohakim a “scammer”.
“I kept asking (Ohakim) every day, ‘What do you do for a living?’ The day I knew he was a scammer was the day he made a voice note and mentioned that he took my $200,000.”
“Ikedi (Ohakim) brought land document and showed to me, he said the land belonged to him. The land is on the airport road in Lagos, he even took us there. He said he was waiting for payment from the buyer of the land and that when they pay him he would be able to pay (me my money).
“It was when this trouble started that we discovered the land didn’t belong to Ikedi Ohakim. It is this land he has been using to scam me.
“The witnesses who are aware that I gave him money have volunteered their statement to the police,” Ms Amuchienwa said.
PREMIUM TIMES asked Ms Amuchienwa if she did not consider that Mr Ohakim’s wife could have been at home when she went to meet Mr Ohakim’s orderly.
“Is he married? Why do you people want me to get to that point? Is Ikedi Ohakim
married?” she responded.
said Mr Ohakim gave her a “fake diamond ring” as an engagement ring’
Plaintiff avers that defendant’s utterances as published by PREMIUM TIMES
and as she uttered on her said viral audio were false, malicious and reckless, and they were read and heard worldwide, including particularly Nigeria where one of the persons who read the publication and received the audio is Ogochukwu Okpalaji, who has known the Plaintiff for several years, and he avers that the content of the audiotape portrayed the Plaintiff in the following light: a deceitful person, a pornographer and a person who is not credit-worthy; an untrustworthy person and who is morally depraved and as an irresponsible and corrupt person.
He further averred that the actions of the defendant portray him as a person who criminally obtains money from people by means of blackmail and false pretences.
The Plaintiff avers that the said libellous utterances by the Defendant were circulated and listened to by millions of people around the world, particularly in Nigeria where the Plaintiff has many friends, family, business associates, colleagues, admirers, mentees and well-wishers.
The Plaintiff avers that the publication and audio have seriously injured the Plaintiff’s character, credit, reputation and integrity. The Defendant has by her action, brought the Plaintiff to scandal, contempt, odium, public humiliation and embarrassment for which the Plaintiff is entitled to monetary damages, injunctive relief and apology.