IBD Dende petitions IGP, NBC, others over alleged character assassination by investigative journalist
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IBD Dende petitions IGP, NBC, others over alleged character assassination by investigative journalist

Feb. 26, 2024

IBD Dende petitions IGP, NBC, others over alleged character assassination by investigative journalist

Admin By Adewale Adewale
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Alhaji Ibrahim Dende Egungbohun, popularly called IBD Dende has petitioned the Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun; the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC and Arise Television on an alleged libelous publication by an undercover Journalist, Fisayo Soyombo.

The businessman said the allegations are designed for the purpose of causing inconvenience, danger, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred against him.

Egungbohun in a letter written to the IGP by his counsel, D.O Folalu of Law Fix Chambers said the publication amount to character assassination with calculated view to achieve damaging effects against IBD Dende and his businesses within and outside Nigeria.

In the letter to Arise TV, Dende demanded a confirmation of the letter within 24 hours of the receipt of the letter, an apology and retraction of the said broadcast/documentary by responding to the letter.

“Note also that we are claiming damages of Five Hundred Million Naira (N500, 000,000.00) from your Media house for the expressly defamatory broadcast in issue. Failure of which, we will immediately initiate an action against your organisation.”

It could be recalled that an undercover Journalist, Fisayo Soyombo, last week in his write up titled "Undercover as a smuggler" alleged that Egungbohun was a smuggler of Rice, turkey and guns.

In the petition, Egungbohun said, "The publications and the documentary fabricated by Fisayo Soyombo in relation to our client, are false in their entirety and they excessively breached the decent fundamentals of public enlightenment which the freedom of press is constitutionally about.

"It is therefore our client's position that the totality of the documentary where our client's name is criminally featured and the followed-up publications amount to nothing, but character assassination with calculated view to achieve damaging effects against our client in his businesses within and outside Nigeria.

"It is also the position of our client that these orchestrated allegations are designed for the purpose of causing inconvenience, danger, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred and needless anxiety to our client contrary to section 24 of the cybercrimes (prohibition, prevention) Act, 2015.

The Petition said Egungbohun "is a Customs Licensed Agent with his business ventures cutting across Hospitality, Agriculture, Quarry, Freight forwarding and transportation.

Dende, as popularly called, then requested the IGP to cause the publications to be investigated with utmost urgency and seriousness, "as they have implication not for the person of our client only but for the security architecture of our dear Country".

Also in the petition to the Arise TV, the counsel said the Television Station aired the libelous sixteen-minute long documentary "focusing on our client, manifestly pre-occupied with criminal resentment and hatred neither warranted, necessary, proper nor justified against our client international.

"Now, considering that our client is a shrewd and highly reputable businessman within and outside Nigeria, with his business ventures cutting across Hospitality, Freight Forwarding, Agriculture and Quarry, we found the broadcast about his life and businesses utterly absurd, disrespectful of media responsibility, ethically abusive, malicious and unbecoming of a media house of Arise TV stature.

"More disturbing is also the fact that your media house failed to verify the accuracy of the said documentary, as it relates to our client before accepting same for broadcast hook, line and sinker.

The petition said that, "Arise TV is very wrong to have broadcast the documentary in question, which maliciously targets the character and reputation of our client in all respects without sufficient fact-checking and verification of the sources.

"However for emphasis, the documentary falsely states among others "that our client, sometimes in 2022 was arrested by the security agents for gun running and but bribed his way out."

"This documentary is indefensibly false and malicious, yet, your media house gave a platform to unverified and potentially defamatory content, especially when it comes an individual's reputation and integrity.

In his letter to NBC, Egungbohun called for urgent intervention to "investigate and sanction Arise TV/ Arise Media Group for its deliberate unethical and irresponsible broadcast of a libellous sixteen-minute long documentary which maliciously targets the character and reputation of our client in all respects without sufficient fact-checking and verification of the sources.

"It is in the light of above and the continued misrepresentation including character assassination of our client that we urge NBC to invoke the necessary sanctions on Arise TV for the breaches enumerated above.”

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