Court denies IBD Dende’s request to stop Soyombo, FIJ publications about him

Court denies IBD Dende’s request to stop Soyombo, FIJ publications about him

An FCT High Court has refused to stop journalist and founder of the Foundation for Investigative Journalism (FIJ) Fisayo Soyombo from writing about businessman Ibrahim Dende, better known as IBD Dende.

The businessman filed a defamation suit on May 3 after Soyombo portrayed him as a “smuggler and gunrunner” in an undercover investigation by the journalist titled ‘Undercover As A Smuggler’.

Arise Group was joined as co-defendant for airing the report.

At the resumed hearing on July 2, Justice Binta Mohammed listened to IBD Dende’s application for interlocutory injunction to restrain the defendants from further making “defamatory publications” against him.

He contended that the smuggling documentary video made by Soyombo showed nothing more than a “verbal altercation” with custom officers and it could not be concluded that it was about smuggled goods belonging to him.

IBD Dende stated that he is a licensed custom clearing and forwarding agent whose job duty is to provide assistance to get goods transported into and out of Nigeria.

In opposition to the businessman’s application for injunction, FIJ prayed the court to dismiss the application, arguing that it was unconstitutional in form and effect, as it sought prior restraint of the press and had a stifling effect on press freedom.

The counsels closed arguments and the court reserved ruling on the application for interlocutory injunction to a later date to be communicated to the parties.

PUNCH reports on Tuesday that a certified true copy of the court’s proceedings of May 21 showed that IBD Dende had previously approached the court to grant an ex parte order restraining Soyombo, FIJ and Arise Group from further defamatory publication before service of the court processes on them.

The court declined to hear the application and instead directed the claimant’s counsel to put the defendants on notice.

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