The libel suit filed by a former minister of State for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro, against some media organisations, suffered a setback on Friday as court refused his application to restrain the media houses from further publications about him.
An Ikeja High Court refused Mr. Obanikoro’s request for an order of injunction against news publications – Premium Times, the Punch Newspapers, Sahara Reporters and its publisher, Omoyele Sowore.
Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye, in her ruling, described Mr. Obanikoro’s application as lacking in merit.
“There is nothing before the court that shows the applicant will suffer more harm if the injunction is not granted. It is an error to seek to restrain a publisher of an article on the grounds of libel if there is no proof before the court that such material is libellous.
“I am persuaded that this application has no merit and an injunction is not appropriate in the circumstance,” she said.
Mr. Obanikoro had on February 10, 2015 filed a suit after the defendants allegedly published an audio of how Mr. Obanikoro with others purportedly plotted to rig the 2014 Ekiti governorship polls.
On February 5, the former minister filed an application for an interlocutory injunction restraining the defendants from publishing “harmful materials” against him pending the determination of the suit.
Mr. Obanikoro, in his application, claimed that the defendants had published “very damaging material”, which made him suffer various “political and personal losses”.
The former senator had also requested an order of court compelling the defendants to retract all the “damaging news publications” via a letter of apology in their various media.
At Friday’s proceedings, Mr. Obanikoro was represented by a lawyer, Chukwudi Enebeli, while Punch Newspapers were represented by O.H. Nurudeen.
The judge adjourned the case pending when the defendants would file their replies to Mr. Obanikoro’s application.