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Mr. Ikechukwu Ezeugwu who is the former majority leader of Enugu State House of Assembly, has dragged the former chairman of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Chidi Odinkalu before an Enugu State High Court over alleged defamatory publication.
Ezeugwu in suit No E/360/2023, through his counsel, Ike Ozor, is asking the court to award him N5 billion as damages against the alleged defamation.
The plaintiff is asking the court to enjoin the defendant from posting his photo and phone information on Google, Facebook, and Twitter.
Additionally, he is requesting a declaration that the defendant, a law professor, has defamed his reputation and standing, denigrated him and his family in the eyes of right-thinking persons, and brought harm to him in his position.
Ezeugwu claimed that the defendant described him in the said publications as, “Ikechukwu Ezeugwu is leader and dis-honorable member representing Udenu in Enugu State House of Assembly. He is the ‘sponsor’ of this criminal Bill to pay 4 men & their wives N1.25bn of the state’s money annually… Let’s give him #Oxygen. If u want his cell number, pls contact me https://t.co/OFXgFw47Er.’
The applicant is therefore seeking an order that the publication of his photograph and phone number by the defendant in the facebook, twitter and goggle, carries with it the undertone and potential of inciting Enugu people against the plaintiff, his properties and family members.
According to him, ‘The publication, which included Ezeugwu’s photograph and phone number, described him as the ‘sponsor’ of a purported ‘criminal Bill’ aimed at allocating a substantial sum of the state’s funds to four men and their wives annually.
‘The plaintiff vehemently argues that the defendant’s publication not only misrepresented the true content of the bill but also portrayed him in a negative light, branding the proposed legislation as “wrong, terrible, wicked, sinful, and depraved.’
Ezeugwu is further claiming that such a portrayal was defamatory and calculated to subject him to public odium, potentially inciting the people of Enugu against him, his family, and his properties.
Furthermore, he claimed that the defendant’s actions have replicated the tensions and turmoil experienced during the ENDsars movement.
He added that he would, during trial, provide evidence of the publication and subsequent replies from the defendant’s followers, which contained abusive and insightful statements targeting him.
Additionally, the applicant stated that the defendant’s social media accounts had been sanctioned by Twitter due to the malicious publication, leading to the blocking of the defendant’s account.