N750m Libel Suit: Veteran Actress, Onyeka Onwenu Defeats Okoroji

A suit filed by Tony Okoroji against veteran singer, Onyeka Onwenu, has been dismissed in court.

Justice I.O. Kasali of the Lagos State High Court sitting at the Tafawa Balewa Square ruled that Okoroji failed to show the evidence that the words, which he said were libelous, and claimed to have made by Onyeka, had negatively altered a third person’s perception of him

The COSON boss had instituted a N750m libel suit against Onyeka. He said the woman made a deliberate attempt to malign or defame him, and that the singer was responsible for an article published in the Vanguard Newspapers of October 14, 2011.

It was alleged that Okoroji diverted N3m donated by the Cross Rivers State Government towards the final burial of the late Nigerian musician, Essien Igbokwe, into his personal account.

In addition to the N750m, Okoroji had also asked for an order directing Onyeka to tender a full page “unreserved apology to be published in every edition of The Vanguard, The Guardian and www.vanguardngr for seven consecutive days.”

But the trial judge held that, “For words to be defamatory of a party, the said words must have lowered that party in the estimation of right-thinking members of the public and there must be evidence of this from a person whose views of that person have been so adversely affected.

“In the absence of any evidence of what CW2, CW3 and CW4 think about the claimant upon reading the publication, which has affected the good name, reputation and estimation in which the claimant stands in the society of their fellow citizens, it cannot therefore be said that the claimant has been defamed.

“After a careful consideration of all the materials before me, I have come to the conclusion that the claimant has not been able to establish that the e-mail alleged to have been sent to members of the of the committee by the defendant defamed him.”