The President of Directors Guild of Nigeria (DGN), Andy Amenechi and his counterpart at the Association of Movie Producers (AMP), Zik Zulu Okafor have slammed the President of Association of Nigerian Core Producers (ANCOP), Alex Eyengho with a N150 million libel suit.
In the case before the High Court of Lagos (suit no. LD/ADR/440/13), counsel to the claimants, Anthony Odikpo is asking for N150 million as damages for libel.
According to Odikpo, the defendant, Eyengho, on or about August 19, 2013. “Malicious and with intent to destroy the character of the claimants”, published false words about his clients in a petition to the Police Special Fraud Unit, Milverton Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, where he categorically accused them of squandering the N50 million grant given to the industry by Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Chief Godswill Akpabio.
Odikpo went on to accuse Eyengho of assassinating the character of his clients.
“It is equally unfortunate that you ensured that this scurrilous publication went viral by sending it to all manner of internet blogs. These actions have caused our clients considerable distress as all manner of inquiries have been streaming in from across the globe. The reputations built by our clients through the years have been besmeared”.
The lawyer insisted that the totality of Eyengho’s publication in its ordinary and natural meaning inputs criminality to the persons on the claimants and has thus brought them to public scandal, hatred, odium and contempt.
And opening a window of settlements, Barrister Odikpo advised the defendant to issue a retraction of his spurious allegations within five days and to commence immediate negotiations with the claimants’ lawyers on payment of damages.
“Anything short of that, we shall meet in court and this case will go down in Nollywood’s history as one prosecuted with utmost efficiency and precision”, he concluded. Odikpo described his clients, Amenechi and Okafor as credible professionals with untainted integrity and movie practitioners who have given so much to Nollywood.
He further stated that they deserve to be revered rather than being maligned or subjected to infamy by people like the defendant, Alex Eyengho.
“Confirming they are taking legal action against ANCOP’s Alex Eyengho on Thursday, September 19, 2013, Andy Amenechi and Zik Zulu Okafor said it was their last resort to protect their names and reputation built over the years. But Alex Eyengho, who spoke with ENCOMIUM Weekly on Tuesday, September 17, 2013, denied being served any court summon.
“Unless they are trying me on the pages of newspapers, I have not been served.” And sounding rather unperturbed by the libel suit and N150 million claims, the ANCOP boss said he is waiting for them.
Alex Eyengho had petitioned Zik Zulu Okafor, Andy Amenechi, National Secretary of Actors Guild of Nigeria, Abubakar Yakub and star actress, Stephanie Okereke-Linus for allegedly squandering the N50 million Akwa Ibom State governor, Chief Godswill Akpabio donated to Nollywood. In fact, on Tuesday, September 3, 2013, all the suspects except Stephanie Linus were quizzed by the police over the matter.
And back from the Special Fraud Unit of the Nigeria Police where the case is being investigated, Andy Amenechi and Zik Zulu Okafor have now dragged Alex Eyengho to court claiming N150 million for damages.
EXPOSED, WHO GOT WHAT FROM AKPABIO’S N50 MILLION NOLLYWOOD GRANT
The last has not been heard about the N50 million Akwa Ibom State government, Chief Godswill Akpabio donated to Nollywood on behalf of President Goodluck Jonathan.
Following the conclusion of preliminary investigations by the Special Fraud Unit of the Nigeria Police on Milverton Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, the list of beneficiaries of the controversial funds has been released to ENCOMIUM Weekly.
According to our highly reliable police sources, all is now set to charge the suspects to court for criminal diversion of public funds until the parties settled internally on or before Thursday, October 10, 2013. We were also further informed that ANCOP, together with other 16 Nollywood guilds and associations may insist on charging the accused with the evidence the police have gathered so far.
Relatedly, the account of the Zik Zulu Okafor’s AMP has been allegedly frozen through a court order obtained by the police. The said UBA account still has about N21 million excluding AMP’s funds. From the list of disbursements we obtained below, individuals had so collected about N29 million on behalf of their guilds/associations. Curiously, all the cheques were in private accounts.
How they shared Gov. Akpabio’s N50 million largesse
Name guild amount
Okey Ogunjiofor TAVAR Awards N1 million
Fidelis Duker Abuja Film Festival N1 million
Stephen Ofezua ITPAN N1 million
Sani Mviazu Motion Pictures N1 million
(Northern film makers)
Greg Odutayo national Association
of Nigeria Theatre
(NANTAP) 1 million
Iyen Agbonifo Creative Designers 1 million
Andy Amechechi Guild of Nigeria,
– Directors Guild
of Nigeria (DGN) 2 million
Zik Zulu Okafor Association of Movie
Producers (AMP) 9.5 million
Mike Nliam AMP 3 million
Yinka Ogun Screen Writers Guild
Of Nigeria (SWGN) 1 million
Emma Isikaku UMPAN (Igbo Film
Makers/Marketers 1 million
Jide Kosoko ANTP 1 million
Paul Okoye Film Video Producers
Association of Nigeria
(FVPMAN) 2 million
Total 29 million
Balance 21 million
Grand total N50 million
– UCHE OLEHI
This story was first published in ENCOMIUM Weekly on Tuesday,October 1, 2013