The National Institute of Marketing of Nigeria (NIMN) has brought a N300 million lawsuit against Marketing Edge Publications Limited.

In a counter-claim against a lawsuit originally filed by Marketing Edge and its Publisher John Ajayi against the institute and its President, Mr. Idorenyen Enang, the Institute is asking the court to award N300 million to it as general damages for alleged defamation by the duo.

According to court papers filed by a leading law firm on Defamation Law, EMMANUEL UMOREN & CO., NIMN is seeking “General Damages in the sum of N300,000,000.00 (Three Hundred Million) for the damages done to the reputation of the Counterclaimant.”

Aside from seeking interest at the rate of 10 % on the judgment sum from date of judgment till judgment is fully liquidated, the counter-claimant also sought “An Order directing the Defendant to the Counterclaim to retract all its libelous publications on its website, Instagram, Facebook and other social media handles against it.”

The Institute also asked the court to grant it the following reliefs:
1. “An Order directing the Defendant to the Counterclaim to publish in at least 5 National Dailies including Thisday Newspapers, The Sun Newspaper, Vanguard Newspapers, The Nation Newspapers and Daily Trust Newspapers forthwith, an apology to the Counterclaimant, The President and members of the Council of the Institute, and all registered members of NIMN.

2. “A Perpetual Injunction restraining the Defendant to the Counterclaim, its CEO and alter ego Mr. John Ajayi fnimn, their agents, assigns or any other person acting for and on its behalf from further defamatory publications against the 1st Defendant/Counterclaimant, its President, Council members and registered members of NIMN.”

Setting its case against the claimant, NIMN stated that sometime in November 2023, the duo published an online article with the alleged defamatory title which read: “NIMN panics over membership decline, plans phoney programmes to hood wink public.” It stated that the report was published on the Claimant’s website “and other social media channels.”

NIMN wrote that “the above stated headline portrays the Counterclaimant as a fraudulent regulatory Institute running fraudulent programmes to deceive and defraud members of the public.” The Institute argued instead that it is a creation of the Federal Government of Nigeria with its mandate set out in the National Institute of Marketing Act of Nigeria, 2003, Act No. 25.

Outlining its mandates as set out in the enabling law, NIMN stated that it “has not carried out any activities for it to be so portrayed to the members of the public as a deceitful and fraudulent Institute.”

It stated that the Claimant and its publisher “thereafter threw all cautions to the wind and went to town with several malicious and defamatory publications against the Defendant Counterclaimant and the President of NIMN Mr. Idorenyen Enang with damning headlines to totally destroy their characters and started cyber bullying them.”

The Institute stated that aside from another report titled “Idy Enang: Who will tame the bull in the China’s Shop?” the Claimant “in a bid to totally destroy its image” again posted another report titled “NIMN IN THE GRIP OF UNDERTAKERS”.

It stated that the report “portray the Counterclaimant (NIMN) to be in the hands of thieves and that its resources, properties and funds are being stolen by its Administrators.

“That there is no iota of truth in the allegations of the Defendant to the Counterclaimant as the allegations are malicious, reckless and inconsiderate of the integrity of the Institute and its administrators.

“The Counterclaimant states that it is an Institute that has well over 1,000 Registered Members, several affiliates in several countries in the World and these publications have put a major dent to its reputation and that of all members of the National Institute of Marketing of Nigeria.”

Relations between the Institute and the Claimant soured when Marketing Edge published “rating-based claims” around November 4, 2023 stating that it “has unveiled Nigeria’s Top 10 Digital Marketing professionals for the year 2023, owing to their outstanding resilience, dedication and innovation in a year marked by tough and challenging economic conditions …”

NIMN had written to query the entity on the rating-based claims, arguing that, the agency not being registered by the Institute, is precluded from practicing, assessing and testing by “rating based claims” marketing professionals. It added that 17 of the 20 persons selected by the Claimant-agency as the 20 best Marketers in Nigeria “were not registered to practice Marketing in Nigeria in breach of the clear provisions of the Act.”

NIMN also wrote a petition to the Nigeria Police Force “to invite the Police to investigate the flagrant breach of the provisions of the Act by the Claimant and its purported 17 awardees that are not members of the Institute.”

No date has been fixed for hearing of the matter.

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