By Paul Dada
DAAR Communications has apologised to the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, for an allegedly libelous documentary aired on African Independent Television in the build up to the 2015 presidential election.
This came after the parties in the suit opted for an out of court settlement of the libel suit.
Tinubu had instituted the N150 billion suit before a Lagos High Court, Ikeja against Daar Communications Plc, owners of AIT, for airing the documentary, titled “Lion of Bourdilion”
In the suit, Tinubu alleged that the documentary, which started airing on March 1, 2015, was libellous as it was aimed at tarnishing his image.
During proceedings, counsel to Daar Communications, Mike Ozekhome (SAN), informed the court of his client’s wish to embrace alternative dispute resolution.
“My Lord, we have come to court today to embrace Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). Every war that is fought is always settled amicably on a roundtable.
“Both parties have expressed their desire to settle amicably based on the terms of settlement which the My Honourable Lord has been furnished with.
“We reached the agreement to enable both parties to continue with the good relationship that they have always had. We have driven the devil away with a spiritual “Koboko”, Ozekhome told the court.
Counsel to Tinubu, Wole Olanipekun (SAN) also informed the court that his client was willing to settle out of court,
“I align myself with the submissions and sentiments of my learned friend. I can also confirm that the terms of settlement which was drawn up on the 29th of January has been accepted by both parties,”
“I also want to appreciate my Lord for her patience all through the duration of the suit. I also appreciate the Claimant who magnanimously agreed to settle out of court,” Olanipekun said.
Presiding judge, Justice Iyabo Akinkugbe, then adopted the terms of settlement even as she confirmed that they have been filed before the court.
The terms of agreement include a retraction of the broadcast by AIT, an apology by AIT, which should be aired three times, once daily on AIT, and that the claimant and the defendant shall bear their respective costs in the suit.
Meanwhile, the broadcast outfit has issued a public statement of apology to Tinubu. The statement goes thus:
“Daar Communications Plc, acknowledges that Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is an outstanding political leader of unblemished character and integrity, as well as a leading public figure and opinion moulder who has made and continues to make immense, colossal and gargantuan contributions to the progress and development of the nation in general and Lagos State in particular.
“Daar Communication Plc admits that in airing the said documentary, it had no intention whatsoever to embarrass or diminish the high reputation of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu which it respects and attests to.
“Daar Communications Plc hereby makes a public and unequivocal retraction of the said documentary titled ‘Lion of Bourdilon’, which was broadcast on its television station, AIT.
“Daar Communications Plc hereby tenders unreserved apology to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu for the broadcast of the documentary on its television station, AIT.
“Daar Communications Plc prays that Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu will live long to make more enormous contributions to the advancement of our nation, Nigeria, Lagos State and the world at large.”