Accountant Files N50m ‘Libel’ Suit Against Queens College PTA
An accountant, Adelani Afolabi, has filed a N50 million ‘libel’ suit against the chairman of the Queens College (QC) Parent-Teacher Association (PTA), Lagos, John Ofobike and 11 others.
Afolabi, a former treasurer of the PTA, filed the suit at the Lagos High Court in Igbosere, through his counsel Rotimi Igbayiola.
Joined as second to 12th defendants are: Vice Chairman, Yetunde Shittu; probe panel chairman, Tajudeen Oyekunle Amodu and PTA members including Victor Onukwe, Eyilayo Amodi, Catherine Temitope Nwadu and Martha Ezeh Nwafor.
Others are: Kingsley Okori, Oladejo Sarafadeen Abiodun, Okeke Chinyere Eucharia, Charles Amadi and the Incorporated Trustees of PTA, QC, Yaba.
According to his November 17 statement of claim, Afolabi, a former parent at QC, was PTA treasurer between 2013 and 2016.
He averred that he and members of the Exco in which he served were witch-hunted and defamed by a probe panel consisting of the third to 10th defendants.
He said: “I was invited by the probe panel but was not allowed to offer any meaningful explanation as to my roles as the treasurer between 2013-2016.”
“On July 9, 2017 at the Annual General Meeting of the PTA of Queen’s College, the report of the said probe panel was circulated among dignitaries and parents whereat I was personally defamed and described as fraudulent by the defendants.”
“After the said publication I forwarded a comprehensive report of the financial activities of tenure under review to the Chairman of the Fact finding Committee who is third defendants in this suit and asked him to publish a retraction.”
Afolabi said contrary to the committee’s allegation that there was no proper documentation of the activities of their tenure, proper records were kept.
According to him, the administration under which he served built and bequeathed to Queen’s College, a world-class hostel “which no individual, administration and/or government in history has ever built.”
He listed other feats by the administration including the construction of VIP toilets and purchase of three buses to ease transportation problems of the Queen’s College.
Aside a claim for N50m as damages for emotional distress and loss of professional goodwill allegedly caused by the defendants’ action, the claimant is seeking three other reliefs.
They include: “An order directing the defendants to jointly and severally write a letter of apology to the claimant in respect of the misleading publication.
“An directing the defendants to jointly and severally publish in two reputable-newspapers a public apology and retraction regarding the personality of the claimant.”
The defendants are yet to file their defence.
At the commencement of proceedings Wednesday, neither the defendants nor their counsel were present.
Igbayiola told Justice Ibironke Harrison that seven of the defendants appeared to be evading service.
He said: “We’ve been able to serve the first, second, third, ninth and 10th defendants. We have not been able to serve the others.”
He prayed the court to allow him make one more attempt to serve the defendants following which an application would be brought for substituted service.
Igbayiola said: “We intend to come under Order 7 of the Lagos State Civil Procedure Rules 2012 for an application for substituted service.”
Granting his prayer, Justice Harrison adjourned till March 28, for further directions.