The National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, on Friday withdrew the N150bn libel suit he filed against DAAR Communications Plc, the owner of African Independent Television.Tinubu filed the suit last March in protest against a documentary titled ‘Lion of Bourdillon’ aired repeatedly on AIT in the build-up to the 2015 general elections.
The former Lagos State governor had, through his lawyer, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), claimed that the documentary was targeted at lessening him in the estimation of the public, to the effect that he corruptly enriched himself while in public office.
Justice Iyabode Akinkugbe, who presided over the case, had on April 1, last year, granted Tinubu an interlocutory injunction barring AIT from further airing ‘Lion of Bourdillon’ pending the determination of the suit.
The defendant, through its lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), had, however, maintained that it did not defame Tinubu, claiming that all the content of ‘Lion of Bourdillon’ was not false and had been in the public domain before they started airing the documentary.
In addition, DAAR Communications filed a counter-claim demanding N200bn as “aggravated, punitive and exemplary damages” from Tinubu, for what it termed damage to its corporate image.
But at the resumed hearing of the case on Friday, both lawyers informed the judge that their clients had settled the case out of court and prayed the court to adopt the terms of settlement they filed as the judgment of the court in the case.
Ozekhome said, “We are before My Lord this morning to do what the court has always encouraged litigants to do.
“We have come here today that every war that is fought is finally resolved at the round table.
“Parties have decided to settle amicably to enable both parties to continue with the good relationship that they have always had before the devil struck.”
Confirming the position, Olanipekun aligned himself with Ozekhome and urged the court to adopt the said settlement terms dated January 29, 2016.
Consequently, Justice Akinkugbe, in a short ruling, adopted the settlement terms as the judgment in the suit.
The judge said DAAR Communications Plc would publicly and unequivocally retract the said documentary “three times, once daily.”
She asked the defendant to tender an unreserved apology to Tinubu, “three times, one daily.”
She ordered them to withdraw their claims and counter-claims respectively and held that they would respectively bear the cost spent by them on the suit.
The terms of settlement was backed with a letter of apology, in which DAAR Communications begged Tinubu and described him as an “outstanding political leader of unblemished character and integrity” and prayed that he would live long “to make more enormous contributions to the advancement of our nation, Nigeria.”
The letter read in part, “DAAR Communications Plc acknowledges that Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is an outstanding political leader of unblemished character and integrity, as well as a leading public figure and opinion-moulder, who has made and continuous make immense contributions to the progress and development of the nation in general and Lagos State in particular.
“DAAR Communications Plc admits that in airing the said documentary, it had no intention, whatsoever, to embarrass or diminish the high reputation of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu which it respects and attests to.”