A lawyerhas sued a lady over a tweet which he claims defames him, he has also requested for the sum of twenty million Naira in Damages.
6th Floor, No. 31 Marina, Lagos
Tel: 0803 718 4872
August 21, 2019
PRE-ACTION NOTICE WITH RESPECT TO DEFAMATORY WORDS PUBLISHED AGAINST MY PERSON ON YOUR TWITTER HANDLE (SONIA 8965603-9s ) AS REGARDS MY CHARACTER AND PROFESSIONAL REPUTATION.
The above captioned subject matter refers.
I am a Lagos based legal practitioner of 19 years post call.
I write you this letter of complaint/pre action notice in compliance with the High Court (Civil Procedure Rules) 2019.
It is very unfortunate that you would descend to going very personal and making very baseless, odious and unfounded allegations against a legal practitioner you have never met before. The background fact to this matter is that as at the date of this letter, I am in Onitsha Anambra State where I travelled to on the 20th day of August 2019. I have never heard of you nor spoken to you until today.
The events preceding this matter, I was unaware of until at about 11:24am (21/8/2019), when I got a call from one Pedro Ebuka Amadi a young man whom I know to be a budding musician and entertainer. He called to seek my legal advice with respect to a young girl of about 19 years whom he claimed to be housing in his apartment at Lamgbasa, Ajah because according to him, her mother threw her out and has been maltreating her for quite some time. He informed me that the young lady (whose name I later got to know was Christiana) is under pressure from her mother to return home and that Christiana’s mother had reported the matter to the Nigeria Police, Lamgbasa Division.
Pedro Ebuka Amadi also informed me that he has been reported to the Police by Christiana’s mother that he kidnapped Christiana. I asked if the young lady was there with him and he answered in the affirmative. From my telephone discussion with Christiana, she informed me that she was scared of going back to her mother as she was being maltreated and has been severally molested sexually by her male relatives in that house.
When Pedro and Christiana sought my advise on what next to do, I advised that they visit the Lamgbasa Police Station and narrate exactly what they told me on the telephone as I was out of Lagos. Christiana told me she would not go to the Police as her mothers’ intention was to bundle her back home and continue with the domestic violence.
I told them to give me some time to get the details of the Agency in Lagos State responsible for handling domestic violence issues and sexual offences as I did not have the Agency’s details offhand. Pedro then offered to text to me the name and number of the “female lawyer” who is acting for Christiana’s mother and had petitioned the matter to Langbasa Police Division. I called the said “Barrister Sonia on 0803 526 0650” at about 11: 26am (on 21/8/2019 and introduced myself to her as a “Colleague” and the subject of my call. It turned out that “lawyer” was you. You were extremely rude to me on the telephone and did not sound like a lawyer to me and I pointed this out.
You accused Pedro of being involved in ‘statutory rape” and threatened to publish the “sordid details online”. Irrespective of what might have transpired between Pedro and Christiana in the past, I informed you I was only narrating what I had just heard as a Counsel advised you to hang on as no lawyer worth his/her salt would go online to ventilate a Clients’ case as you might find yourself liable for defamation if the allegations were found to be untrue. You also dropped the name of the “Deputy Commissioner of Police, Lagos State’ whom you said was like a ‘father” to you in our discussion but I sensed it was all hot air and cut you off as I do not tolerate impudence from any quarters.
I thus searched diligently for the telephone numbers and address of the Lagos State Domestic Sexual and Violence Team and even sent them an email (copy attached) and followed up with a call to their office line-08137960048 where I narrated the story from Christiana and informed them I would ask her to visit their office in Ikeja immediately as I was not in Lagos. This can be verified from the Agency.
I then called Pedro Amadi and sent them the telephone numbers and office address of the Lagos State Domestic Sexual and Violence Team where they are to proceed and lodge a formal complaint immediately.
Believing I had discharged my duty as diligent Counsel ought to, I was surprised when a whatsapp message from 0708 338 4449 dropped into my phone with this message-” I have reported you to LPDC and I will keep at it until you are investigated”.
A screen shot of your handle SONIA OBI (SONIA 8965603-9s) was attached to the above message with a tweet to the LPDC with the following malicious and defamatory message published thus-
“@LPDCNigeria a lawyer whose face appears here is supporting the abducting and sexual harassment of a girl aged 16. I don’t know what law school he attended but he is aiding and abetting statutory rape. Please look into it. I have call recorded proof”.
You even had the guts to lift my photograph online (inclusive of my year of call to bar) and published the above defamatory words to the public. This trash is also on your facebook wall with your “fans” gleefully lapping it all up.
I have investigated this odious and defamatory publication and indeed my name is trending online with all sorts of unfortunate, one-sided and uninformed comments about me and my professional reputation. I have also continued to receive countless telephone call inquiries from my professional colleagues, some clients and well wishers seeking to know the veracity of what you published about me online. What you have succeeded in doing by your ill informed diatribe against me online is to lower my estimation and hard earned professional reputation in the eyes of my acquaintances, clients and members of the public. The ordinary meaning of what you have published is that I am a “quack” and a “fake lawyer” “having not known what law school I attended”.
Be advised that if you are in the habit of seeking cheap popularity by maligning and damaging the reputation of innocent, unsuspecting and hard working individuals online, be assured I am very determined to this time to put you out of business for good using the appropriate provisions of the law.
I dare you to publish our so called telephone discussion and I look forward to that day in Court where you would “prove to the satisfaction of all” that I am “supporting the abduction and sexual harassment of a girl aged 16”.
Unfortunately for you, ignorance of the law is no excuse as you might not be aware that our criminal laws frowns at the type of style (criminal defamation) you have adopted in your infantile attempt to hound me online:
“A defamation matter is defined in section 373 of the criminal code as a matter likely to injure the reputation of any person by exposing him to hatred, contempt or ridicule, or likely to damage any person in his profession or trade by injury to his reputation..”
You have clearly breached this provision of our laws. I thus demand:
That you take down within the next 12 hours that offensive, odious and defamatory post about me on line.
Immediately publish an apology to me on that same medium clarifying exactly what transpired in our telephone conversation.
A letter to the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee of the Nigerian bar Association withdrawing the defamatory and odious comments about my person.
The sum of N20,000,000.00 (Twenty Million naira only) as damages for defamation made payable to me within the next 24 hours.
TAKE NOTICE that if you do not or fail to revert in full compliance with the demands afore said at the expiration of this ultimatum, I shall proceed against you (without further recourse) as I deem fit within the ambit of the law.
Emeka Ezeobi Esq.
The Chairman, Nigerian Bar Association, Lagos Branch
Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee of the Nigerian bar Association, Abuja