Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The publisher of an Abuja based communication outfit, PRNigeria, Mallam Yushau Shuaib has slammed a N500 million libel suit against a freelance journalist, Mr Terrence Kuanum, over alleged libellous publications made against him.
The amount the freelance journalist with an Abuja based television station, according to the plaintiff, represent general and exemplary damages for alleged defamation of his character through publications in several online media on February 1, 2020.
In the libel suit filed at the registry of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court, Abuja by his counsel, Mr Yunus AbdulSalam, the plaintiff is praying the court for an order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendant by himself or his agents from further writing, printing or causing to be printed or circulated any similar libellous materials against him.
He further applied for an order of the court compelling the defendant to tender public apology in at least two national dailies with wide circulation in Nigeria and to retract the alleged libellous and offending publications against him.
The plaintiff in the suit complained that the defendant published libellous publications against him by calling him an empathizer and spy proxy for the dreaded Boko Haram terrorist group as well as Islamic State West African Province (ISWAP).
In the writ of summons with reference number CV/1705/2020 dated June 3, 2020, and issued against the defendant, plaintiff claimed that the libellous words against his reputation and public image were contained in an article entitled: “A Rejoinder to An Impenitent Boko Haram Empathizer, Yushau Shuaib Spleen in Memo to President Buhari on Service Chiefs” published by the Authority newspapers online.
He further complained that he was libeled by the defendant in another publication with caption: “A Rejoinder to Shuaib’s Memo to President Buhari on Service Chiefs” published by the Cable newspapers online.
In his statement of claim, the plaintiff who claimed to be a graduate of Mass Communication from Bayero University, Kano and Master’s Degree holder in Public Relations from the University of Westminster, London, said that he had bagged several national and international awards including presidential NYSC honour and automatic employments at State and Federal civil service in the course of his duties.
The plaintiff claimed that on January 28, 2020, he wrote a widely published article entitled: “Memo to President Buhari on Service Chiefs” published by The Punch, Premium Times, SaharaReporters and Daily Post newspapers.
In the said article Shuaib claimed that he had argued for the present Service Chiefs to be let go when the ovation is still audible and after giving the best of their skills to the nation and to allow a smooth progression in service through promotion of other competent military officers.
He added that his position was anchored on the necessity of enabling a new cadre of officers to come through in the national security architecture if the war on terror must be won.
However, plaintiff claimed that to his surprise, few days after, he came across several online publications where he found the offending articles targeted at him by Terrence.
He said that the publications damaged his professional reputation and caused him considerable distress, embarrassment and also exposed him to hatred, odium, contempt, scorn and isolation by colleagues and associates.
Plaintiff said that his name was directly mentioned and described as terrorist empathizer and terrorist spy proxy, adding that the information in the defendants’ publications was false, malicious and defamation with the sole aim of maligning and destroying his hard-earned reputation, goodwill and good standing in the Nigerian media community.
Besides, the plaintiff averred that he has suffered irreparable personal and economic injury in his business because the defendant maliciously referred to him as “Shuaib is only a quack reporter.”
The plaintiff asked the court to grant him all his reliefs and against the defendant as he pleaded several documents including the printout of the offending publications to be relied upon during the hearing of the case.
Meanwhile, no date has yet been fixed for hearing of the matter.