‘Defamation, breach of contract’: Bamidele Atoyebi takes legal action against FIJ, Dukiya Investments

In a shocking turn of events, Mr. Bamidele Atoyebi, a prominent businessman and philanthropist, has initiated legal proceedings against an online media outlet, FIJ, along with owners of Dukiya Investments Ologolo Lekki, Lagos, Messrs Lukman Shobowale and Bayo Lawal, for defamation and breach of contract.

The lawsuit marked LD/7277ADR2024 Bamidele Lateef Atoyebi v Lukman Shobowale &2Ors filed at the Lagos State High Court, follows a damaging article by FIJ falsely accusing Atoyebi of deploying Nigerian Army personnel to harass Shobowale and Lawal.

This was disclosed in a statement made available to Blueprint at the weekend.

Part of the statement reads, “Expressing his dismay at the timing of the accusations amid the nation’s Armed Forces Remembrance Day, Atoyebi denied the allegations and is now seeking redress through the legal system.

“Atoyebi is seeking a declaration from the court that FIJ’s publication is defamatory, urging an order for the defendants to collectively pay a substantial sum of 900 million Naira in damages. Additionally, he demands a court order compelling the defendants to publish apology letters in seven major dailies, rectifying the harm caused by the libelous publication.

“Atoyebi in a chat with newsmen, further alleges cyber bullying and blackmail, requesting the court to compel each defendant to pay him 300 million Naira, totaling 900 million Naira. The businessman claims these actions have caused significant harm to his reputation and well-being.

The lawsuit, a copy of which our correspondent obtained, reveals a disturbing breach of trust and contract, asserting that Atoyebi paid for two plots of land worth over 20 million Naira more than a year ago. Despite the payment, the land remains unallocated, and Atoyebi has not received a refund. Additionally, a 22.5 million Naira thrift remains unremitted, adding to the litany of alleged transgressions.

In a dramatic twist, Atoyebi further accuses Shobowale and Lawal of increasing the land rates after witnessing its escalated value and subsequently selling the property to another party. A breach of trust is emphasized, alleging that money was falsely obtained under false claims.

A comprehensive set of evidence has been meticulously prepared, supporting Atoyebi’s claims, and will be presented during the court proceedings. The unfolding legal battle promises to shed light on a complex web of accusations involving defamation, breach of contract, and alleged financial improprieties.