Raymond Dokpesi, founder of DAAR Communications, has tendered an apology to Bola Tinubu, national leader of the All Progressive Congress (APC) over ‘Lion of Bourdillon’, a documentary aired on African Independent Television (AIT) in the buildup to the 2015 election.
Tinubu had filed a N150 billion libel suit against DAAR Communications, alleging that the documentary was libelous and aimed at tarnishing his image. In turn, DAAR Communications filed a counter-suit of N200 billion as aggravated, punitive and exemplary damages against Tinubu.
Dokpesi had claimed that the documentary was not false and that its contents were facts that had been in the public domain for more than two decades. He said AIT, as a member of the fourth estate of the realm, was empowered by section 22 of the constitution to, at all times, hold those in government accountable and responsible.
The matter, which was brought before Iyabo Akinkugbe of the Lagos high court sitting in Ikeja, was later referred to alternative dispute resolution (ADR) in December. At the resumed proceedings on Monday, Mike Ozekhome, counsel to Dokpesi, informed the court of his client’s wish to settle the matter out of court, and Wole Olanipekun, counsel to Tinubu, did not object.
The judge adopted the terms of settlement, which included a retraction of the broadcast on a daily basis over a period of a quarter year, and an apology letter signed by Dokpesi.
In compliance with the agreement, Dokpesi issued the letter, which content was made public Friday.
The letter, titled ‘Retraction and Apology by DAAR communications PLC to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu’, reads:
“Further to the terms of settlement in suit No: ID/196GCMW/2015 between Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and DAAR Communications Plc filed as a result of the broadcast of a documentary titled, ‘Lion of Bourdillion’ and which terms were adopted at the High Court of Lagos State on 5th February, 2016 as the judgement of the court, the defendant DAAR Communications Plc hereby retracts and apologises to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as follows:
“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.”