The copyright society of Nigeria COSON on its facebook page - COSON WEEK published a story about the libel case between Juliana exponent, Tony Okoroji and One love crooner, Onyeka Onwenu both veteran musicians.
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AT THE COURT OF APPEAL, OKOROJI FLOORS ONYEKA ONWENU AGAIN!
Chairman, Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), Chief Tony Okoroji, who on June 30, 2016 won big in a landmark judgment in a defamation suit against well-known singer, Onyeka Onwenu has just floored Onyeka Onwenu again in another judgment at the Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos.
The three-man panel of the Court of Appeal in a judgment delivered on Friday, October 28, 2016 in Appeal No. CA/L/882/15 unanimously overturned the earlier judgment of Mrs. I.O. Kassali of the Lagos High Court delivered in Suit No ID/185/2012 in 2015.
It will be recalled that following the judgment of Justice Kassali, Chief Okoroji had expressed confidence that ultimately, he would get judgment against Onwenu in the N750 million libel suit he filed against Ms. Onwenu for publicly accusing him of ‘pocketing’ the sum of N3 million donated by the Cross River State Government towards the burial of the late Nigerian singer and actress, Christy Essien-Igbkwe. By this latest victory, Chief Okoroji has prevailed in each of the two libel actions he took to court against Ms. Onyeka Onwenu.
The former President of PMAN had said in his statement in 2015, “I went to court in the first instance because I have absolutely nothing to hide. It may take a while but I am certain that I will get judgment at the end of the day. That is why we have the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court to review judgments. I did not embark on this process with the expectation that it will end in one day. I am ready to take it to its logical conclusion”.
Continuing, Chief Okoroji, the author and columnist who is
one of Africa’s best known intellectual property experts said, “I know that integrity may not matter to many in Nigeria today in the atmosphere of free for all pursuit of money. Integrity however means everything to me. Those who are familiar with my experience with the Nigerian legal system will bear witness to the fact that I will not allow anyone, including Onyeka Onwenu, to recklessly or wickedly damage my name. If people no longer have faith in me, I cannot effectively do the work that I do or take the positions that I take. I will have nothing to leave for my children.
“When the matter in question was filed, I went to court several times waiting for Ms. Onwenu or anyone else to bring the slightest evidence that I fraudulently took one naira that does not belong to me. Not even one person showed up. Rather, she and her lawyers left the substance and danced from one legal technicality to another to avoid the consequences of her action”.
It will be recalled that Vanguard Newspaper which published the very vexatious statements of Ms. Onwenu against Chief Okoroji, on November 19, 2012, published an unreserved public apology to Okoroji and paid his legal costs. This was because after carefully investigating the matter, Vanguard found that the allegations made by Onwenu against Okoroji were without foundation.
According to Chief Okoroji, the steps he is taking to protect his name are not whimsical, ego driven or motivated by anger but because he is a great believer that a good name is worth more than gold and silver put together and when someone who is supposed to be close to you goes ahead to maliciously destroy your name, you owe it to your children not to leave a soiled name for them. Chief Okoroji says that he hopes that what he has done will give people the confidence that despite the challenges in the Nigerian judicial system, the rule of law still exists in Nigeria and ultimately, no one is above the law.
Chief Okoroji was represented at both the High Court and the Court of Appeal by Mr. Justin Ige of Creative Legal while Ms. Onwenu was represented in both courts by Mr. Fred Agbaje.