Court denies Obanikoro’s request to gag Punch, Sahara Reporters, Premium Times

Musiliu Obanikoro

An Ikeja High Court on Friday denied the request of former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, for an order of injunction against online news publications, Sahara Reporters and Premium Times.

Also joined in the suit are Punch Newspapers and the publisher of Sahara Reporters Omoyele Sowore.

Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye, in her ruling, described Obanikoro’s application for injunction as lacking in merit.

She said “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.”

Obanikoro had on February 10, 2015 filed a suit against the defendants before the High Court after the defendants allegedly published an audio recording of him with other individuals purportedly plotting to rig the 2014 Ekiti gubernatorial elections.

On February 5, Obanikoro had filed an application for an interlocutory injunction restraining the defendants from publishing harmful materials against him pending the determination of the suit.

Obanikoro, in his application, had claimed that the defendants had published very damaging materials which made him suffer various political, personal and personal losses.

The former Lagos commissioner for home affairs and culture had also requested for an order of court compelling the defendants to retract all the damaging news publications via a letter of apology on their various news outlets.

Obanikoro was represented by Mr Chukwudi Enebeli while Punch Newspapers Limited was represented by Mrs O.H Nurudeen during Friday’s proceeding.

Sahara Reporters, Premium Times and Sowore have not made an appearance in court since the start of the suit.

Ipaye ordered that the suit will be adjourned pending the defendants filing their replies to Obanikoro’s application.