The controversial rift between COSON chairman, Tony Okoroji and veteran singer Onyeka Onwenu attained a new peak today as Onwenu was mandated by a Lagos a High court to publicly apologize to the COSON boss and pay five million Naira in damages.
A Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja today Thursday, June 30, 2016 ordered Onyeka Onwenu to pay the sum of five million naira as damages for defamation of character to Chief Tony Okoroji, former President of PMAN and Chairman, Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON).
Delivering judgment in Suit No: ID/935/12 filed in 2012, Hon Justice I. O. Akinkugbe (Mrs.) also ordered Ms. Onwenu to tender an unreserved public apology to Chief Okoroji to be published in Vanguard Newspapers and http://www.vanguardngr.com , the website of Vanguard Newspapers.
The war between Okoroji and Onyeka can be traced back to 2011 when Okoroji went to court to challenge the publication of an article in the
Vanguard newspaper edition of October 14, 2011 which he considered a deliberate attempt to malign or defame him.
According to the COSON chair, the article claiming he diverted N3m donated by the Cross Rivers State Government towards the final burial of Christy Essien Igbokwe, is ‘unjustified, unwarranted, malicious, wicked, reckless and libellous.’
The case was thrown out by a Lagos State High Court. At the time, the presiding judge, Justice I.O. Kasali opined: ‘For words to be defamatory of a party, the said words must have lowered that party in the estimation of right-thinking members of the public and there must be evidence of this from a person whose views of that person have been so adversely affected’.