A former member of the House of Representatives, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, today slammed a N500 million libel suit on Diamond Bank Plc for maliciously identifying her as one of its chronic debtors.
Joined as co-defendants in the suit is Punch Newspapers Limited, which first published the list last Tuesday.
In an affidavit filed on her behalf at a Lagos court by Lagos lawyer Adetokunbo Mumuni, the former legislator, who represented the Ikorodu Federal Constituency in the House between 2003 and 2015, averred that she was bombarded with phone calls and text messages as early as 6a.m. on August 4 over a report in The Punch that Thriller Endeavours, which was said to be her company, owed Diamond Bank N122,912,031.06.
The suit claims that she is neither a subscriber to the Memorandum and Articles of Association of Thriller Endeavours, nor a Director of the company. Consequently, she said, the bank had engaged in deliberate mischief to include her name as a Director of Thriller Endeavours when she has nothing to do with the company.
She also claims that The Punch engaged in monumental mischief when it published her name in its pages as a person whose company was indebted to the bank.
Dabiri-Erewa further says in the suit that as a well-known politician, The Punch has subjected her to public opprobrium, ridicule, and embarrassment of monumental proportions. Following the publication, she said she mandated her lawyer to write to the newspaper for a retraction but that they refused to comply with that demand.
In addition to the N500m claim against the defendants as damages for injury to her reputation, Dabiri-Erewa is also claiming N3million as professional fees of her solicitors, and an order of the court directing the defendants to apologize to her separately and jointly in three national dailies, in addition to The Punch.