A Federal High Court in Lagos on Wednesday [Mar. 11] barred, further broadcast of defamatory documentaries on the vice-presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, by the Africa Independent Television (AIT). Justice James Tsoho, who made the order of interim injunction, also ordered the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) and any other broadcast station under the control of the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON), to stop airing similar documentary forthwith.
The judge made the order sequel to an the ex-parte application brought before him by Osinbajo through his lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), to the effect.
The professor of Law and Senior Advocate of Nigeria had complained to the court that the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), having adjudged him a threat, sponsored the certain documentaries to cause him disaffection in the eye of the public.
AIT and NTA had, for weeks running, aired a documentaries detailing the “atrocious” past of the APC presidential candidate, Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (rtd.). The stations also had a similar documentary on a national leader of the APC, Senator Bola Tinubu, chronicling his series of alleged financial misconduct. Osinbajo maintained that the said documentaries, which allegedly contained untrue information and injurious falsehoods, constitute a personal attack on his person.
He argued that the videos were being aired in violation of his fundamental human right to dignity of human person, right to privacy and family virtue and right to life and/or livelihood as protected by Sections 33, 34 and 37 of the 1999 Constitution. Osunbajo had therefore prayed Tsoho for an order of interim injunction restraining AIT, NTA and any other broadcast stations under the control of BON from further disseminating and broadcasting the damaging documentary.
According to him, “Unless the respondents are restrained in the manner requested in this application, damages will be grossly inadequate to compensate or redress the unquantifiable, unwarranted and malicious damage to the applicant’s right to dignity of human person, right to livelihood and privacy guaranteed and protected under Sections 33, 34 and 37 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
After listening to submission by Falana, Tsoho ordered that NTA and AIT and any other broadcast station under the control of BON should forthwith stop the broadcast of the ‘damaging’ documentary which the applicant complained of until the determination of the substantive suit.