Oil Magnate, lawyer’s absence stall defamatory suit against Duport Midstream co-founder


The defamatory suit filed against Mr Oluwatosin Odusanya, a co-founder of an oil firm filed at a Lagos State High Court, on Wednesday, was stalled.

Reason adduced was the absence of the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (MD/CEO) of Duport Midstream Company Limited, Dr Akintoye Akindele, and his lawyer

Although the plaintiff and his lawyer were not in court, the defendant, Odusanya, and his lawyer, Oludayo Ayeni, attended the court sitting.

The matter, which was slated for case management conference before Justice Folake Oshin, however, could not proceed due to the absence of the duo.

In his oral application, Ayeni prayed the court to strike out the matter for lack of diligent prosecution.

Justice Oshin, who was not inclined to grant the request, adjourned the matter to June 5.

It would be recalled that Akindele, in the suit marked: LD/ADR/5012/2023, had sued Odusanya vide a writ of summons dated May 23, 2023 for allegations bordering on defamation.

Akindele, who is the claimant, alleged that Odusanya, deliberately misinformed one Mr Cheriff Abdallah, a director in Duport Midstream Company Limited, via a phone conversation that he (Akindele) misappropriated the sum of $25 million belonging to the company.

It is also the case of the claimant that the defendant admitted to the making of such statement at a Board of Directors meeting of the company held on January 11, 2023.

The claimant further states that the statement purportedly made by the defendant against him amounts to both slander and libel and, on this premise, claims several reliefs against the defendant, which include damages and injunctive reliefs.

However, in his witness statement, Odusanya, who is a board member and a director of Duport Midstream Company Limited, urged the court to dismiss Akindele’s claims with substantial cost.

According to him, the claims are frivolous, vexatious, malicious, unfounded, otiose, of no moment and an attempt at gold digging and reaping where the claimant did not sow.

He admitted having several phone conversations with Mr Cheriff Abdallah, a fellow board member in the company.

He, however, averred that the conversation centred on his concern about the way and manner Akindele is operating and managing the affairs of the company as an appointed MD/CEO, which he said was in sharp contrast with the terms of the shareholders’ agreement.

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