Dende petitions IGP, BON over libelous publication by Fisayo Soyombo

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A foremost businessman and philanthropist, Alhaji Ibrahim Dende Egungbohun , popularly called IBD Dende, has petitioned the Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria, BON and Arise Television on the
libelous publication by an undercover journalist, Fisayo Soyombo, saying that the allegations are designed for the purpose of causing inconvenience, danger, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred against him.

IBD Dende Egungbohun in a letter written to the Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun by his counsel, D.O Folalu of Law Fix Chambers said the publication where Alhaji Ibrahim Dende Egungbohun’s name were mentioned amount to character assassination with calculated view to achieve damaging effects against IBD Dende an his businesses within and outside Nigeria.

It could be recalled that an undercover journalist, Fisayo Soyombo, last week in his write-up titled “Undercover as a smuggler,” alleged that Egungbohun was a smuggler of Rice, turkey and guns.

The publication, which was published since Thursday, February 22, 2024, on
microblogging site, X (formerly known as Twitter) and tweeting under the handles of fijnigeria and efisayosoyombo with different contents, including a sixteen-
minute documentary titled “Undercover as a smuggler” was also broadcast on the Arise Television.

In the petition to the Inspector General of Police, Egungbohun said that “the publications and the documentary fabricated by Fisayo Soyombo in relation to our client, are false in their entirety and they excessively breached the decent fundamentals of public enlightenment which the freedom of press is constitutionally about.

“It is therefore our client’s position that the totality of the documentary where our client’s name is criminally featured and the followed-up publications amount to nothing, but character assassination with calculated view to achieve damaging effects against our client in his businesses within and outside Nigeria.

“It is also the position of our client that these orchestrated allegations are designed for the purpose of causing inconvenience, danger, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred and needless anxiety to our client contrary to section 24 of the cybercrimes (prohibition, prevention) Act, 2015.

The Petition said Alhaji Egungbohun “is a Customs Licensed Agent with his business ventures cutting across Hospitality, Agriculture, Quarry, Freight forwarding and transportation.

Alhaji Ibrahim Dende Egungbohun then requested the IGP to cause the publications to be investigated with utmost urgency and seriousness, “as they have implication not for the person of our client only but for the security architecture of our dear Country”.

Also, in the petition to the Arise TV, the counsel said the Television Station aired the libelous sixteen-minute long
documentary “focusing on our client, manifestly pre-occupied with criminal resentment and hatred neither warranted, necessary. proper nor justified against our client. international.

“Now, considering that our client is a shrewd and highly reputable businessman within and outside Nigeria, with his business ventures cutting across Hospitality, Freight Forwarding. Agriculture and
Quarry, we found the broadcast about his life and businesses
utterly absurd, disrespectful of media responsibility. ethically
abusive, malicious, and unbecoming of a media house of Arise TV stature.

“More disturbing is also the fact that your media house failed to verify the accuracy of the said documentary, as it relates to our client before accepting the same for broadcast hook, line, and sinker.

The petition said that “Arise TV is very wrong to have broadcast the documentary in
question, which maliciously targets the character and reputation of our client in al respects without sufficient fact-checking and verification of the sources.

“However for emphasis, the documentary falsely states among others “that our client, sometimes in 2022, was arrested by the security agents for gun running and but bribed his way out.”

“This documentary is
indefensibly false and malicious, yet your media house gave a platform to unverified and potentially defamatory content, especially when it comes to an individual’s reputation and integrity.

We wish also to remind you that under law, every defamatory broadcast or rebroadcast establishes a cause of action on behalf of our client. We therefore seriously warn you against any further or repeat broadcast of the defamatory documentary against our client.

In the meantime, to affirm the right of our client against your
defamatory publication broadcast, we demand that you confirm to us within 24 hours of receipt of this letter, an apology, and your retraction of the said broadcast/documentary by
responding to this letter.

Note also that we are claiming damages of Five Hundred Million Naira (N500, 000,000.00) from your Media house for the expressly
defamatory broadcast in issue.

Failure of which, we will
immediately initiate an action against your organisation.

While writing the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria, Alhaji Ibrahim Dende Egungbohun called for its urgent intervention to “investigate and sanction Arise TV/ Arise Media Group for its deliberate unethical and irresponsible broadcast of a libellous sixteen-minute long documentary. which maliciously targets the character and reputation of our client in all respects without sufficient fact-checking and verification of the sources.

“Notwithstanding that the said broadcast/documentary is manifestly falsehood, pre-occupied with criminal resentment and hatred neither warranted, necessary, proper nor justified against our client, Arise TV went ahead to transmit, circulate, and allow its anchors to maliciously
comment on the same to its national and international audience and community, insinuating that our client is a gun runner and notorious
criminal.

“It is in the light of above and the continued misrepresentation including character assassination of our client that we urge NBC to
invoke the necessary sanctions on Arise TV for the breaches enumerated above.

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