Pastor Bakare Threatens Legal Action against AIT
A legal tussle may just be brewing between Pastor of the Latter Rain Assembly, Pastor Tunde Bakare and the Africa Independent Television, AIT, as the fiery Pastor has threatened to sue the TV station for what he described as a false report about his appearance at the office of the State Security Service on the sermon he delivered on Sunday.
Bakare said that the television station, at a discussion segment alleged that he was detained by the SSS for over 48 hours and that he told the security agency that he was misquoted by the press.
In a letter by his solicitors, Tope Adebayo and Flora Ogbuitepu, Bakare said the reports were false.
The letter reads in full:
In your news broadcast, you alleged that our client was “detained for 48 hours by the State Security Service before he was released on bail.” In the news broadcast you also, stated that during interrogation by the SSS, our client “denied making certain statements in his speech and stated that he was misquoted by the press”. The foregoing statements credited to our client were never made by him neither at the State Security Services office nor at any other place. By your statements, you have injured the reputation of our client by portraying him as a man who lacks the temerity and courage to stand by his words before constituted authority.
In the pursuit of your calculated attempt to further injure the reputation of our client, on the 24th July, 2012 on or about 10.00am one Kunle Adewale broadcasted or caused to be broadcasted on his live progamme “Focus Nigeria”, wherein the topic for discussion on the programme was the supposed “ARREST AND DETENTION OF PASTOR TUNDE BAKARE BY THE SSS”. The anchor, in the person of Kunle Adewale commented on the false report that our client was arrested and detained for 48 hours by the State Security Service. He posited on the live broadcast that our client is “mixing politics with the pulpit” and urged Nigerians to call into the live programme and comment on the conduct of our client.
The comment/broadcast of Kunle Adewale during the live broadcast, insinuates that our client is a disgruntled politician who is hiding under the disguise of religion to instigate a change of government. The comment/broadcast also suggests that our client’s “message of enlightenment” is an incitement on Nigerians to revolt against the present Government.
The broadcast has no shred of truth. It is malicious, offensive and intended to disparage our client and cause him embarrassment and public condemnation. It is also intended to make our client lose the confidence of well informed Nigerians as well as his church congregation who are undaunted in their solidarity to democracy in Nigeria and their worship to God respectively.
The aforestated publication has grossly lowered the reputation of our client in the estimation of right-thinking members of the Nigerian society and the world in general. It has exposed our client, founder of Latter Rain Assembly and Convener of Save Nigeria Group to public odium and ridicule. Our client has been inundated with calls and text messages by friends and associates who are perturbed by the broadcast. This broadcast has exposed our client to the worst condemnation ever made against any Pastor and Human Rights Activist.
Much as our constitution recognizes freedom of speech and opinion, the freedom is circumscribed to the extent that a person is entitled under our laws to the right to a good name and reputation. Needless to state that the law places high premium on the reputation of an individual and more so, reputation of a public figure whose success, in the pursuit of his divine enterprise, depends on the confidence of the citizenry. It is against this backdrop that the law seeks to protect and safeguard the reputation of an individual which, as in often cases, is hard-earned.
Our client finds it totally unacceptable that a man who convened the peaceful protest on the removal of subsidy in Lagos would be so cowardly as to deny making the said speech or attributing the content of his speech to the misquotations of the press. It corrodes the reputation of our client to suggest that a man of his status who chooses to walk the path of honesty would use the Lord’s name for political gains or lie against the press.
Consequent upon your broadcast, our client’s character and hard-won reputation has been battered coupled with the massive erosion of the confidence and wide acceptability he enjoys all over the world. Our client has instructed us to demand and we hereby demand the followings:
1. A retraction of the defamatory statement and an apology to be broadcasted in your daily news broadcast and the “Focus Nigeria” programme.
TAKE NOTICE that in the event that you fail, neglect or refuse to comply with the above demand within 48 hours (two days) of receipt of this letter, we will have no alternative but to explore the attendant instruction of our client to immediately commence legal action against you for defamation, without further recourse to you.
IT IS IN OUR MUTUAL INTEREST IF YOU ALLOW WISE COUNSEL TO PREVAIL.