JUDIGEMENT

Libel: MFM Wins As Court Awards N500m Damages Against Maureen Badejo, Orders Retraction, Apology

Righteousness exalts a nation, so says the Bible. It was therefore, not a matter of concern when the General Overseer of Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministry, Dr. Daniel Olukoya, came under heavy unfounded criticism from none other than a hitherto unknown vlogger, Maureen Badejo, who chose the thriving life of a distinguished preacher to practice ‘falsehood’.

Ms Badejo’s unprovoked and premeditated accusations against Pastor Olukoya held the world spellbound with many wondering what would have prompted such unreasonable lines of thoughts. Among Badejo’s barage of attacks against God’s servants included that he was a cultist, rapist and a killer. None of these were portrayed with evidence, and so to put a stop to such inhuman declarations, the prayerful preacher took her to court for libel, and made a N10 billion claim. The case kicked off on September 7, 2020.

It is worthy of note that in his years of successful ministration, Olukoya has not for one day been involved in any form of scandal, whether fake otherwise. It was therefore a question of what, why or who was behind the behaviour of Maureen Badejo.

Below are some of the weighty accusations she spread against Dr Olukoya, his family and MFMM:

That Dr Daniel Olukoya defrauded the US government by selling his books in the US without paying the due tax on the books

That Elijah Toluwani Olukoya (Dr Olukya’s son) has a whooping sum of 6 Billion Naira in Heritage Bank in Nigeria

That a particular pastor from MFM UK paid the sum of 150,000 pounds into the personal account of Dr Daniel Olukoya and then went to Nigeria to meet the GO so he could help him cover up his fraud.

That Dr Daniel Olukoya as well as all the MFM UK Trustees are thieves because they are all deeply involved and participated in the alleged fraud that is being investigated by the Charity Commission.

That a particular sum of 4 Million Pounds was stolen in MFM and this is also known to Dr Olukoya who she alleged that he is fully involved in all the frauds being perpetrated by MFM Church.

That Dr Daniel Olukoya evicted a particular lady from an apartment he rented for her because the said lady refused the sexual advances of the Man of God

That Mrs Shade Olukoya (Dr Olukoya’s wife) is on the church payroll and she is earning salary in the sum of 35,000 pounds from MFM. (Note that as a pastor, she is entitled to a salary, but she has never taken a penny from MFM UK.)

That Dr Daniel Olukoya has abandoned his family members, refusing to take care of them. (Well, this is not hard to disprove as members of Dr Olukoya’s family from both sides are still alive to bear witness to the contrary).

That Dr Olukoya as the General Overseer of MFM covered up the alleged sexual infidelity of one Pastor Dupeola Ajayi. This the story: when the GO got wind of the allegation, he immediately summoned the pastor to Lagos, Nigeria and made him to face series of disciplinary measures which were not limited to immediate recall, immediate suspension from ministering, deliverance at the Prayer City for two months, rehabilitation programme under the supervision of one of the Assistants, Pastor Ladejola. However, the said pastor decided to resign instead of submitting himself fully to all these disciplinary and rehabilitation measures.

That one of MFM pastor in Austria was also involved in financial recklessness. Whereas, the said allegation was duly investigated by the Police and the alleged pastor given a clean bill of health

That MFM pastors were falsifying documents to stay in the UK by ‘arrangee’ (fake) marriage and that Dr Olukoya knows about these without doing anything to correct it.

AND THE LAW TAKES ITS COURSE…

And because none of the above accusations are true by any standard, the High Court of Justice, sitting in Abeokuta, Ogun State, on February 9, 2021, five months after it was lodged, delivered its judgment in the Ten Billion Naira libel claim against the Vlogger, who was based in UK.

The Incorporated Trustees of Mountain of Fire & Miracles Ministries and its General Overseer, Dr. D. K. Olukoya as the 1st and 2nd Claimants respectively commenced the case on September 7, 2020 to claim sundry relief against Maureen Badejo, for continuous and sustained libel published by her through free-to-air broadcasts in the social media, particularly Facebook, You-Tube and Instagram.

Court records reveal that Maureen was served all documents and hearing notices in the case by DHL courier service, but chose to stay away from the proceedings and continued relentlessly in her damaging broadcasts.

In his judgment delivered on the day, the trial Judge, the Hon. Justice Abiodun A. Akinyemi, while describing Maureen Badejo’s ruthless campaign against the Claimants as the worst case of reckless defamation and evil use of the internet and social media, awarded the sum of N250 million to each of the Claimants (making a total of N500 million) as aggravated and exemplary damages for libel.

The Court also ordered the Defendant (Maureen) to:

  1. immediately pull down and erase each of the offending online publications/posts concerning the Claimants from the internet.
  2. Tender a written apology and retraction of the offending publications and posts in a form and content acceptable to the Claimants and published prominently in her Facebook, You-Tube and Instagram accounts and in at least three nationally circulating newspapers in Nigeria and two international magazines including Time International, FORTHWITH
  3. Perpetual Injunction restraining the Defendant (Maureen) by herself, her agents, servants, privies or other persons howsoever called or described from further making, publishing and/or disseminating defamatory stories and statements about the Claimants or any one of them.

Asked whether Maureen has been made aware of the Judgment, Counsel to the Claimants, Ime Nya Asanga Esq., responded that a certified true copy of the judgment and a certificate of the judgment with Form 35 endorsed thereon, had been served vide DHL courier on Maureen and that the proof of service indicates that she personally signed for them at 09:20 am of Thursday, 18th February, 2021

Barrister Asanga went on to explain that Ogun State High Court Form 35 titled NOTICE OF CONSEQUENCE OF DISOBEDIENCE TO ORDER OF COURT is an endorsement by the Registrar on the Certificate of Judgment, warning that unless the judgment debtor obeys the directions contained therein, he/she will be guilty of contempt of court and will be liable to be committed to prison. He warned that if, after 18th February 2021, the Defendant should make any other broadcast defamatory of the Claimants or any one of them, contempt proceedings, which are criminal in nature, will immediately be commenced against her.

It is expected that now that a judicial pronouncement has been made on her broadcasts as they affect MFM and Dr. Olukoya, the defendant would seek wise guidance or counsel herself to safety having now realised that social media grandstanding is a far cry from legal responsibility and justification of words spoken or published.

WHO IS DR DANIEL OLUKOYA

Pastor Daniel Kolawale Olukoya is different from the preacher next door. He is not a breakaway pastor. This is a man, who has, out of a dint of hard-work, qualify as one of the few preachers, popularly called men of God, who has remained undaunted, clean as a whistle and continued to live a scandal free life in the business of propagating the undiluted Word of God, and rendering service to humanity.

Dr. Olukoya was born in Akure, Ondo State, to a Police officer father and a trader mother. Apart from being a policeman, his father was also a pastor at the Christ Apostolic Church (CAC). This explains why he was raised with high Christian principles.

Dr. Olukoya’s journey to stardom and becoming society’s mirror, started quite early in life when he attended St. John’s CAC Primary School, Akure. There, he was recognised as an exceptionally intelligent child coming tops throughout his stay at the school. When his family moved to Lagos, he continued his education at Saint Jude’s Primary School, Ebute Metta, and of course, finished with excellent results. From there, he was admitted into the prestigious Methodist Boys’ High School (MBHS) on Broad Street, Lagos.

Two things shaped Pastor Olukoya’s outlook to life and future while at MBHS. The first was his acceptance of the Lordship of Jesus Christ, and becoming born again. A decision that he improved upon with time, coming out as the champion he is today. Again, it was here that he received a major motivational line that helped him to become he is today. He had an Indian teacher who told them in class; “Boys, if you want to escape poverty, READ YOUR BOOK!” Like a church bell, the lines reverberated in his subconscious, making him burn the midnight oil regularly, and studying from 9pm to 3am daily. It was not a surprise that he graduated as the best student of his set.

He gained admission into the University of Lagos (UNILAG) in 1976 to study Microbiology. No one was surprised when he again graduated with a first-class degree in 1980. Records have it that Olukoya set a record as the first person to have made a first-class in the department, and his G.P.A remained unmatched for about 30 years. Such a feat!

His brilliance catapulted him to greater heights as he won a scholarship soon after graduation to study Molecular Genetics at the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) level at the University of Reading, United Kingdom. He dusted the programme within three years and returned to Nigeria to join the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), Yaba, where his reputation as an exceptional Geneticist of African origin became established.

Olukoya emerged as an authority in the study of genetics, and has followed up his exploits with the publication of over 70 scientific papers in a short spell – yet another record in his anal of records. He also taught Genetics and was external examiner in a number of universities. Moreover, he has attended and presented papers at scientific conferences in almost all continents of the world. Even today, DKO continues to contribute to the field of genetics and biotechnology via the Daniel & Fola Biotechnology Foundation, a registered NGO established to empower Nigerian citizens with modern and contemporary laboratory skills in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology.

It is on record, and incontrovertibly too that throughout his years in school, Olukoya was committed to the service of the Lord Jesus Christ. His passion for Jesus and his spiritual fire increased tremendously during his doctorate degree in the United Kingdom. His kingdom outlook is said to be heavily influenced by the ways of life of the late founder of the CAC church, Apostle Joseph Ayodele Babalola.

Dr Olukoya has remained uncompromising in his doctrine, and has continually insisted that women wear skirts and head covers when attending services in any location among others. It is therefore, practically impossible that a man of his status could hurt a fly. He is a practical example of practice what you preach.

With renewed zeal, determination, steadfastness and great passion for God and the things of God, Olukoya has affected humanity in more ways that one. He has established the Mountain Top University (MTU) which continues to churn out well trained youths capable of holding their own in today’s society. He is the proprietor of the high flying Nigeria Premier League club side, MFM Football Club. The team already has one league to its credit among numerous other local and international honours. Time, with every respect, will not permit to talk about thousands of people, mostly youths whose lives the man of God has changed for the better through education, sports, vocational training, empowerment programmes among others.

His dexterity has grown the MFM to numerous branches worldwide. Olukoya should be praised and celebrated, not otherwise!

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