Former majority leader of the Enugu State House of Assembly, Ikechukwu Ezeugwu, has dragged activist and lawyer, Mr. Chidi Odinkalu, before an Enugu State High Court over an alleged defamatory publication.
Ezeugwu, in suit No. E/360/2023, through his counsel, Ike Ozor, is praying the court for an order that the defendant cease the publication of the plaintiff’s photograph and phone number on Facebook, Twitter, and Google, describing the plaintiff as “Ikechukwu.” Ezeugwu is a leader and dishonorable member representing Udenu in the Enugu State House of Assembly. He is the “sponsor” of this criminal bill to pay four men and their wives N1.25 billion of the state’s money annually.
“It is defamatory of the plaintiff’s image and standing, lowers him and his family in the estimation of right-thinking men, and conveys an imputation on him that is disparaging or injurious to him in his office.
*An order that the publication of the plaintiff’s photograph and phone number by the defendant on Facebook, Twitter, and Google carries with it the undertone and potential of inciting Enugu people against the plaintiff, his properties, and family members.an order directing the defendant to forthwith delete the malicious publication from his Facebook, Twitter, and Google walls such that it will no longer prop up in the Google profile of the plaintiff.
“An order that the defendant publish in four national dailies a public apology to the plaintiff for defamatory publication
An order for N5 billion in damages against the defendant for defamation
Ezeugwu stated in his statement of claim that he had served as the Chairman of several key committees, including the Enugu State House Committee on Tenders Board and the South East Legislative Governance Reform Committee in Enugu State and the state Assembly, and initiated the legal action against the defendant for the malicious publication made on various social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, and Google.
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 plaintiff 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.