Nigerian singer and songwriter, Ikuforijimi Olaitan Abdulrahman, better known as Oxlade, has been ordered by the Lagos High Court to pay N5 million in damages to a woman who appeared in a leaked explicit sex tape on Snapchat.
The video, which surfaced online in February 2022, sparked public outrage and forced Oxlade to issue an apology to both his fans and the woman in the video.
In his judgment on January 24, 2023, Justice Oresanya described Oxlade’s actions as “despicable, horrendous, distasteful and classless”.
The woman in the video, John Blessing, filed a suit seeking N20 million in damages, claiming that Oxlade’s recording and leaking of the explicit footage violated her rights to dignity, privacy, and freedom from discrimination as guaranteed under the Nigerian Constitution and the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights.
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During the trial, both parties opted for an amicable resolution through a consent judgment. However, Justice Oresanya took the opportunity to rebuke Oxlade for his actions and warned him against similar behavior in the future.
“The action and attitude of the Respondent (Oxlade), who is said to be a celebrity, is despicable, horrendous, distasteful and classless,” the judge stated.
“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.”
Justice Oresanya also criticized Oxlade for his disrespectful attitude towards the judicial process and accused his lawyer of aiding him in desecrating the justice system.
“The attitude of the Respondent towards the proceeding leaves much to be desired,” the judge noted.
“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.”
According to the judge, the N5 million in damages agreed upon in the consent judgment was far lower than what would have been awarded had the trial continued.
“It is also disturbing to note as part of the tardiness of the Respondent and his counsel that this terms of settlement was filed in Court after the Honourable Court had concluded the hearing of the matter and on the verge of delivering its Judgment on the merit fixed for 16th January, 2023 in which the Court would have awarded exemplary and aggravated damages far greater than the agreed settlement sum of N5,000,000.00 (Five Million Naira) against the Respondent for the alleged cruel violation of the privacy of the Claimant via the online/internet publication of an explicit sex tape involving the Claimant and the Respondent on 9th February, 2022.”
As per the terms of the consent judgment, Oxlade is required to pay the N5 million in damages to Blessing in two installments.
Both parties, as well as their representatives, must maintain confidentiality regarding the suit and its outcome. Any breaches of this confidentiality agreement will result in damages for the affected party.