It is not everyday celebrities in Nigeria sue for defamation. In fact, it is a rare occurence, espeically in Nigeria’s relatively infant fashion industry. Nevertheless, Joan Okorodudu owner of Nigeria’s Next Supermodel (NNSM) bucks the trend with a defamation lawsuit seeking ₦100Million for alleged defamation of her character/ reputation by former NNSM model Marcia Okhai Ahwuose, among many defendants.
On December 1st, 2009 Okhai Marcia published on Facebook a rather scathing note about Joan Okorodudu. Okhai tagged several media houses and individuals. In addition, she also published the same comments on several sites including here on LadybrilleNigeria. Facebook reaches over 350million users per month. On December 19th, 2009 Okorodudu responded through Vanguard Nigeria with a headline that read, “My sin is that I showed compassion to models — Joan Okorodudu.” That story on Vanguard was syndicated extensively. Nevertheless, it appears that was not enough to repair Ms. Okorodudu’s reputation. She filed the subsquent lawsuit shortly after.
Defamation Claim by Okorodudu
Okorodudu essentially alleges that statements written and published on Facebook defamed and caused injury to her reputation. In a nutshell, defamation is about causing injury to one’s reputation where allegations made are false. If defamation is written, then you have Libel. If it is oral defamation, then you have Slander.
Joan Elumelu Okorodudu (individual) and doing business as International Business Consortium Limited and Isis Models.
Marcia Okhai Ahwuose
Azuka Ogujuiba, Journalist, Leaders and Company publishers of Thisday Newspapers
Elizabeth Isior Elohor, Elite Models
Ifeoma Yolanda Jones (US based model)
Global Excellence Communication, publishers of Global Excellence Magazine
Dockland Communications (News of the People)
Romando Nigeria Limited (Celebrities Magazine)
What happens next?
- The parties can countersue/file a cross complaint against Ms. Okorodudu and her various business entities.
- All parties can work a settlement out
- The case can go all the way to trial especially if all parties insist there is no defamation because the alleged facts are true and can prove it.
Click here to read full story by reporter Niyi Tabiti.
~by Uduak Oduok