Defamation: Adeniyan demands apology, N500m from newspaper

A former Special Assistant to the immediate past Minister of State for Transportation, Prince Ebenezer Adeniyan, has demanded a sum of N500,000,000 and public apology from a national tabloid, Daily Independent, over defamation of character.

Adeniyan in a letter on Friday addressed to Independent Newspaper Limited and signed by his lawyer, Barr. Femi Emodari, was reacting to a viral publication by the media house, which described as “false, fabricated and irresponsible“

Adeniyan who doubles as the Publisher of the popular Ondo-based Trace Magazine, also noted that the story was planted to cause disaffection between him and the State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu.

The letter is titled: “Defamation of Character of Prince Ebenezer Adeniyan; Demand For Immediate Retraction, Public Apology And N500, 000, 000 In Damages”

It reads, “We are Solicitors to Prince Ebenezer Adeniyan, a renowned Journalist and former Special Assistant to the immediate past Hon. Minister of Transportation, and Publisher of the popular Ondo State-based Trace Magazine.”

“He is hereinafter referred to as “Our Client”, and it is upon his instruction that we are writing your Company on the above-captioned matter.
Our Client said he had been receiving a barrage of telephone calls from people within and outside the Country, referencing and demanding explanations in respect of a story planted and/or published in your “Independent” online newspaper of 13th September, 2023 with the caption: “Akeredolu: Your Denials Are Needless, Group Berates Ondo Deputy Governor”, wherein it was stated, inter alia, that “Did Aiyedatiwa not employ the services of one Akeredolu O.N; Ebenezer Adeniyan; Yemi Fasipe; Allen Sowore, Tolu Babaleye and Biyi Poroye to coordinate and execute media attacks against the governor?”
According to Our Client, the said story, as it relates to him, is completely false, fabricated and irresponsible.”

“It is a calculated attempt to defame his hard-earned character and ultimately cause disaffection between him and the Ondo State Governor as well as Nigerians home and abroad who hitherto hold him in high esteem as a reputable media practitioner.
Our Client stated that just about five months ago, he was privileged to publish a biography of Mr. Governor, titled “The COURAGE TO LEAD IN TYRING TIMES. AKETI”. The book was launched in a colorful style with the moral support and financial donation of the same Governor.”

“The event gathered highly respected personalities all across Nigeria. The Governor is Our Client’s benefactor.
Our Client built his media profile as a seasoned journalist on hard work and integrity for a period of over 23 years. He had served as local, state and national officer of the Nigerian Union of Journalist (NUJ). He had been bestowed with over 30 awards as testaments to his hard work and integrity. That solid reputation has brought him into prominence amongst, and contact, many individuals in the society, including politicians across all divides.”

However, he is not, and has never been, someone who would compromise his personal integrity and media ethics for any shekels of silver as you misrepresented him to the world. You would therefore understand why the above-quoted false, unfounded and satanic statement in your publication regarding Our Client is to defame his character, and the story has indeed defamed and painted him as a ‘traitor’ and unconscionable personality.”

It added, “Curiously, according to Our Client, you credited the libelous statement to a press release by a non-existent group, and represented same to have been signed by a name he has now found to be fictitious! That is the peak of irresponsible journalism. On the premise of the foregoing, we have the instruction of Our Client to demand the followings”

“A well-publicized retraction of the libelous story as far as it relates to Our Client, and public apology in the front pages of your newspaper and two other national dailies which must include either the Punch or the Nation, within seven days from the receipt of this letter; and”

“Five Hundred Million Naira (N500,000,000) damages to be paid to Our Client within 21 days from the receipt of this letter”

“Please take notice that unless you comply with the above demands of Our Client, we shall not hesitate to activate his further instruction to institute an action against you in a Court of law to seek the above and other imperative remedies against your Company over the reckless, baseless, false, fabricated, and world-wide circulated libelous publication about him.”

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