By Lukman Olabiyi 

Justice O.A Oresanya of the Lagos High Court has awarded N5 million damages against Nigerian singer and songwriter, Ikuforijimi Olaitan Abdulrahman, popularly known as Oxlade, over a leaked explicit sex tape with a woman on social media app, Snapchat.

A sex tape of the singer had surfaced online in February 2022, without the knowledge and consent of the woman involved in the video. The leaked video sparked public outrage, forcing Oxlade to issue an apology to his fans and to the woman in the video.

In a judgement dated January 24, 2023, Justice  Oresanya described the action of the singer in secretly recording an explicit sex with a woman and, thereafter, leaking it online as “despicable, horrendous, distasteful and classless.”

The affected woman, John Blessing had filed a suit before the court on March 15, 2022, seeking N20 million 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.

During the trial, the claimant’s counsel, E. T. Idemudia and O. S. Mabekoje with U. R. Michael for the respondent, the judge had set for judgment when parties agreed to opt for amicable resolution via a consent judgement.

However, in the court’s observation, Justice Oresanya lampooned the singer and cautioned him against such acts in his relationship with the opposite sex, going forward.

“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.

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Prior to that, Justice Oresanya also faulted Oxlade for treating the judicial process with disrespect and accused his lawyer of aiding him to desecrate the temple of justice.

The judge said: “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 erstwhile 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 lawsuit 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 respondent and his counsel that the 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.”

The judge, thereafter, entered the terms of settlement dated 11th January, 2023 as the judgment of the court. By the consent judgement, Oxlade is to pay damages to the tune of N5 million to the claimant in two instalments of N2 million and N3 million, respectively.

The judgement precludes her perpetually from initiating any further legal process or any process in respect of the facts and matters giving rise to the suit, and from instituting or discussing the issues constituted in the claim on any platform, and before any third party.

Both parties, as well as their privies, assigns, agents, successors, legal counsel, and personal representatives agreed to maintain confidentiality of all non-public information and materials pertaining to the suit, and the terms of settlement.  

Failure of either party to adhere to the terms shall entitle the affected party to damages for such breach, including any and all injuries incurred as a result of such disclosure.