A Lagos-based land speculator, Moji Yakubu, has sued PREMIUM TIMES for alleged libel following the publication of an opinion article titled “Governor Ambode, Please Save Me From A Land Speculator” on June 16.
The piece, written by Mobolaji Okusaga, a Lagos-based PR practitioner, raised issues bordering on default in refund of N15 million and receiving or obtaining money by false pretences relating to two plots of land in Lagos.
In suit number LD/ADR/175/15, filed before a Lagos High Court, Mrs. Yakubu is asking the court to stop PREMIUM TIMES from further publishing articles about her or her company, Monan Properties Development Limited.
Joined in the N100million suit as co-defendants are Mr. Okusaga and PREMIUM TIMES Editor-In-Chief, Dapo Olorunyomi.
The plaintiff is asking the court to restrain “the Defendants, whether by themselves, servants, agents, or otherwise from further publishing or causing to be published the same or any similar matter concerning the Claimants”.
In the piece in contention, Mr. Okusaga had drawn the attention of the Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, to how Mrs. Yakubu collected N15 million (Fifteen Million Naira) from him in June 2014 for two plots of land in the proposed Monan Garden Estate, Magodo GRA, iin Lagos,
but failed to deliver after series of promises.
Mr. Okusaga therefore appealed to Governor Ambode to prevail on Mrs. Yakubu, her company or her collaborators to refund him.
According to him, Mrs Yakubu hinged her failure to meet the agreement on delay by the Lagos State Government and officials of the State Land Registry to conclude survey and other formalities on the land documents.
Mr. Okusaga said against this background, he decided to pull out of the transaction, and demand refund.
He said all efforts to get his money back after a year has so far failed, with Mrs. Yakubu becoming more and more evasive.
According to her suit, Mrs. Yakubu did not deny collecting money from Mr. Okusaga for plots of land she hasn’t delivered for over a year, but merely claimed his PREMIUM TIMES opinion piece was capable of affecting her business.
PREMIUM TIMES’ policy of giving equal opportunity for people to express themselves is deemed a moral obligation, which the paper holds dearly for the support of fairness and justice.
Managing Editor Musikilu Mojeed said the paper has already passed the case to the company’s legal adviser, Jiti Ogunye, who will respond appropriately.