Ikeja High Court Justice Olalekan Oresanya awarded N5 million in damages to singer Ikuforijimi Olaitan Abdulrahman, aka Oxlade, for a leaked sex tape with a woman on the social media app Snapchat.
Justice Oresanya described the singer’s actions in secretly recording an explicit sex with a woman and then leaking it online as “despicable, horrifying, distasteful, and classless” in a judgement dated January 24th, 2023, and trending online.
The singer’s sex tape surfaced online in February 2022, without the knowledge or consent of the woman featured in the video.
The leaked video sparked public outrage, and forced Oxlade to tender an apology to his fans and to the woman in the video.
The woman, John Blessing had filed a suit before the court on March 15, 2022 seeking N20million damages and a declaration that the respondent (Oxlade’s) act of recording his explicit sexual acts without her knowledge and consent amounted to flagrant contravention of enabling laws and a gross violation of her fundamental rights to dignity, privacy and freedom from discrimination guaranteed under Sections 34 and 37 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended); and Articles 5 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (Ratification and Enforcement), Act, CAP A9, LFN, 2004.
The judge set for judgment after hearing counsel for the claimant, E. T. Idemudia and O. S. Mabekoje, and U. R. Michael for the respondent, when the parties agreed to opt for amicable resolution via a consent judgment.
In his decision, Justice Oresanya chastised the singer and warned him not to repeat the behavior in his future relationships with the opposite sex.
“The action and attitude of the Respondent (Oxlade), who is said to be a celebrity, is despicable, horrendous, distasteful and classless. The Respondent is admonished strongly to act with utmost circumspection in his relationship with fellow humans, especially the opposite sex. “what goes around comes around”. I need not say more,” the judge said.
In the course of trial, the judge berated Oxlade for treating the judicial process with disrespect and accused his lawyer of aiding him to desecrate the temple of justice.
“The attitude of the respondent towards the proceeding leaves much to be desired.
“The Respondent failed to appear in this court and the only reason given for the respondent’s absence by his former counsel was the celebrity status of the respondent which to my mind cannot be equated to that of many notable celebrity artistes in this country who have comported themselves well respectably both within and outside of this country.
“Counsel, as ministers in the temple of justice, should never encourage any party to a law suit or client in treating the temple of justice with disrespect and disdain no matter the status of the client in the society.
“Client comes and client goes, the legal profession and institution remains. It is also disturbing to note as part of the tardiness of the r espondent and his counsel that this terms of settlement was filed after the Honourable Court had concluded the hearing of the matter and on the verge of delivering its Judgment on the merit fixed for January 16, 2023.”
According to Justice Oresanya, the court would have awarded the respondent exemplary and aggravated damages far in excess of the agreed settlement sum of N5 million for the alleged “cruel violation of the claimant’s privacy via the online/internet publication of an explicit sex tape involving the claimant and the respondent on 9th February, 2022.”
The judge then entered the Terms of Settlement dated January 11, 2023 as the court’s judgment.
According to the consent judgment, Oxlade must pay the claimant N5 million in damages in two installments of N2 million and N3 million.
The court judge issued a perpetual injunction prohibiting the claimant from initiating any further legal process or any process relating to the facts and matters giving rise to the suit, as well as from instituting or discussing the issues constituted in the claim on any platform or before any third party.
Justice Oresanya reminded the parties, their privies, assigns, agents, successors, legal counsel, and personal representatives to keep all non-public information and materials pertaining to the suit and the Terms of Settlement confidential.
He ordered that failure to comply with the terms by either party entitles the affected party to damages, including any and all injuries incurred as a result of such disclosure.