Woman gets N10 million award for defamation

appeal-courtCiting malicious and false publications against her, Justice Morenike Olasumbo Obadina of a Lagos High Court, Igbosere has awarded N10 million to a Lagos based stockbroker, Mrs. Cecilia Ofufemi Ajayi as damages.

The court in a judgment held that the publication made to the police was not a fair comment and that it was done in bad faith with the aim of using the police to enforce a commercial transaction.

Access Bank had in a publication accused Mrs. Cecilia Ajayi of fraudulently and criminally converted bank funds.

The bank also caused the police to publish a gazette declaring her wanted for the offence of conspiracy, forgery and obtaining the sum of N1, 500, 000,000 under false pretences in Lagos.

Subsequently, her professional association, Chartered Institute of Stock Brokers, demanded explanation from her on the publications as one of the most wanted person by the Nigerian Police.

But Justice Obadina in the judgment held that Mrs. Ajayi was entitled to damages as her reputation was ruined by the publication that she was one of the most wanted criminals by the Nigeria Police.

For her to be dubbed a criminal, a fraudster, and a dubious person is damaging of her standing and reputation and she is entitled to damages

In dismissing Access Bank’s defence of fair comment and justification given by Access Bank, the court stated: “For her to be dubbed a criminal, a fraudster, and a dubious person is damaging of her standing and reputation and she is entitled to damages.

“In all circumstances of this case, I award to the counter claimant N10 million general damages for false and malicious publication written and caused to be published as a letter to the Police and consequent actions taken by the Police in publishing Special Bulletin No. CR/3150/29/04/09 posted all over Nigeria concerning the defendant/counterclaimant”. The court held.

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