BY ADEDIWURA OKELEYE
Last week, a Lagos High Court in Ikeja ruled in favour of Copyright Society Of Nigeria (COSON) chairman, Tony Okoroji concerning a defamation lawsuit he filed against veteran singer and actress, Onyeka Onwenu.
The presiding judge, Hon. Justice Akinkugbe ordered Onyeka Onwenu to pay N5 million to Okoroji and issue a public apology to him in a national newspaper.
Onwenu has however declared that she will not pay any money to Okoroji or issue him an apology as she feels Justice Akinkugbe wasn’t fair in his judgement. She also stated that she is going to appeal against the ruling and take the case to the Supreme Court if it becomes necessary.
Here’s what she said, in a statement:
“The judgment given by Justice Akinkugbe is most unfair and cannot stand. Throughout the trial, the plaintiff’s lawyer kept referring to the fact that I was a member of the Peoples Democratic Party and my appointment to office as Director General of the PDP but that I was serving under an APC Government.”
“My lawyer raised an objection as we did not think that my party affiliations had anything to do with the case at hand. But the judge to our consternation allowed that line of questioning. I am waiting to receive a copy of the judgment, at which point I will have more to say. For now, I am certain that this judgment cannot and will not hold based on the fact that we were able to dismiss the allegations convincingly and unequivocally. We are appealing the judgement, of course.”
“Mr. Tony Okoroji says a lot of things but he does not mean them. I shall provide a full rebuttal of the campaign of calumny that he is putting out against me in the aftermath of this judgment and more shall be revealed.”
“I hold no personal grudge against him, my quarrels with him have always been on issues of probity and fair play. I have been very much there for Okoroji for so long and in many more ways than I care to remember.”
“I respect his intellect and I’ve said so on many fora, but I will not stand by and watch him attempt to destroy the very reputation that he has found and made use of personally and officially in the past. Some of us left the Performing Musicians Employers’ Association of Nigeria for him to run aground, in order to avoid his trouble. He is hoping we will do the same with regard to the Copyright Society of Nigeria. That wish will not be granted.”