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Proof Of Defamation In Nigeria An Appraisal

Proof Of Defamation In Nigeria An Appraisal


The work is aimed at examining the proof of defamation in Nigeria and to put on place or proffer a solution where necessary. It is always contentious on when and where defamation has taken place, hence prove of defamation becomes paramount in such circumstance. This work goes further to interpret the position of the law on relation to mass media on Nigeria and other common law countries. Having regards to the above therefor, it is intended on this work first to. Analyses tort of defamation by stating the principles, Assess the relevance in shaping what individuals profess and communicate and the medium used, and since much of what is published, broadcasted and televised are undoubtedly of great value and do stimulate at lot of interest amongst people, emphasis will also be laid on publication f defamation and the media of communication as well. Defences available to the tort feasor charged with defamation and sanction will be examined. This work if finally organized on chapters from chapter one to chapter five, analyzing the proof of defamation in Nigeria, its remedies and its conclusion.




       A man is judged and attended to by his character and esteem. The tort of defamation is injurious publication[1]. The purpose of the law of defamation is to protect the good reputation of a person from being damaged by another person. The tort which protect the reputation of a person are libel and stander. Malicious falsehood otherwise known as injurious falsehood protects the reputation of property, especially commercial property. The basis of the tort of defamation is that every person has a disut to the protection of his good name and reputation and the good opinion and estimation the public hold him[2]

       If one possess a damnable character, the tendency is that the society will as well condemn him, but if a person has spotless character the society will look at him as a good person. Shakespeare was right when he said that “a man’s greatest treasure is a spotless reputation….[3]

       In the case of Bakere V Ibrahim[4], The court held that “the law of it wisdom insists that words which are capable of learning a stain on the reputation of another should not on the absence of lawful excuse be altered or published of a Pearson” for example it is defamatory to say of a Bishop of the Catholic Church that he sleeps with women when that is not tone. Another example of defamatory statement is to state or say that a medical practitioner has a “fake” degree and that he exploited the public[5], that a public official was corrupt or had been arrested on suspicion of corrupt practices, that a legal practitioner had defrauded his client[6] that a university lecturer had committed adultery with a female student[7], that a final teacher was a “bad women”. It is the position of the law that if what is is said or published e.g The Bishop is unit the and it is proved as such, the publisher will be liable having stained, maligned the character and reputation of the Bishop. Firstly on relatory to his person, and secondly on relation to his position as a Elergy.

       It is equally trite to note that a decease person cannot be defamed in law, the right of each man during his life time to the unpaired possession of his reputation is recognized on the Latin maxim Actio Personalis murtur Cum persona. Meaning no person action survives a deceased litigation. This position of the law should not be extended on case of property or non-personal action, it will not apply. The suit will survive the deceased and endure for the benefit of his estate Oladunju J.C.A. on the same issue stated that the maxim is in the light of modern in trend limited to only actions for defamation, seduction, (loss of consortium) claims for damage for adultery and for infidelity[8]. This on Mbadimju V Ezuka[9], in this case the plaintiff died. Her daughter brought an application to be substituted for her lat mother to enable her continue the action. But she was apposed by the learned. Counsel force defendant on the ground that misname was a personal wrong (tort) and therefore did not service the deceased.

       Over during the judgment Ike A20 J held that although nuisance which was on same class as trespass was a tort, it was nevertheless not a personal action but one that endured for the benefit or against the estate of the deceased person as the case may be and survived the minority. It goes without saying that action on trespass, possession, declaration of title to land are not personal action but this notion should not be over stretched.


   The research is simply the proof of defamation on Nigeria, an appraisal. The meaning, nature, scope of the defamation will be examined and an phases will be laid on the laws regulation defamation.

       Another area on which this research seek to address as the meaning of defamation. The work also cover at area as to the sources of defamation law on Nigeria.

       The work also seek to high light the proof of defamation on Nigeria and element of defamation it types and jurisdiction between the types of defamation.


   Growing inference from the statement of the research problem mentioned above, this work intends to answer the following question.

  1. What is defamation?
  2. What are the sources of defamation?
  3. Who can or cannot be sued for defamation?
  4. When is a statement defamation
  5. When does a statement is said to be published
  6. Is libel Actionable per see
  7. What are the distinction between libel and stander
  8. When is defamation side to be proof
  9. What is publication
  10. What are the nature of defences available to the defendant



Generally, this research is intended to develop a dear and better understanding of defamation. Specifically the work aim at achieving the following objectives through.

  1. Examining the meaning, nature and scope of defamation
  2. Bringing the general overview of the proof defamation in Nigeria
  3. Expatiating on the circumstances where as statement amount to defamation
  4. Studying instances where a statement is said to be published
  5. Moring the fact that a deceased or death person cannot be defamed on law
  6. Appraising the judicial remedies for defamation
  7. Examining the defences available on defamation


At the end of this research, it is the expectation of the writer that the work will expose and clarify some procedure on the Nigeria judicial system with respect to defamation. Thus, a clear juxtaposition of the defamation with a view to elucidating the current position of our law on same, will amplify a clear understanding of defamation under our legal system. In turn this will enhance the development of proof of defamation on Nigeria.


     For the purpose of this study, the research work covers the concept of defamation, sources, features, proofs and defences on defamation under the Nigeria flowing from these, it therefore means that this work will not consider the effect of defamation.


       In every worthwhile goal, there must be some set back which must be confronted and conquered for a successful realization of the project. This long essay is not an exception. Some of the challenges faced by the researcher include:

  1. Inadequate material: Some academic books and articles have been of a great help to this research work have been written for a long time. Consequently they cannot actually fit on or provide current. Information that will be useful to this work. So, some of at research materials cannot serve the contemporary demands of this work.

       In the similar vein, there is a problem of finding law reports that contains the relevant cases for the subject matter of this work. This is because of the fact that not all the school law libraries as well as all law firms that are equipped with most recent law report.

       Again, some of the information to be accessed from internet is not always comprehensive so as to provide the researcher with the holistic information on the subject area. Thus some internet materials are always skeletal thereby making this research work a hard venture.

  1. Time constraint: Time has always been a recurring obstacle to projects such as this, this time around, it assumed a bigger obstacle, for, while we were given the project work to write and complete on a very short period of time.

       Infact there was no enough time for the researcher to sit down and prepare this work due to the fact that, he was combing other class work and school activities with this project work thereby placing the burden of the workload on him on very limited time therefore rendering the work stressful and hectic.

  1. Lack of found: Infact, this is what I will call the “obstacle of obstacles”. This one factor could have made this work not to come out, for instance, with the increment of the school fees, especially some of us who are non-indigenizes, we had to do all manner of jobs just to raise money for the payment of the school fees, and also to assemble materials for this work. Some of as like me drawn our self without the help of anybody, it is also difficult to get money for school fees took more of money for projects.

       It was really difficult to raise money which ordinarily would have made this work to be more comprehensive and failed, for instance, some cities that I would have like to check and source out materials, I could not afford to do it, for lack of fund.

  1. Darkness: This is another obstacle, as most evenings, there are no lights, as it is called by the owners, (Never Expect power always) (NEPA) even when we go to school to effect the work like typing, photocopy, there is also no light, we had to do this work, at time on candles or lanterns.

[1] . Ugo V Okafor (1996) 3 NWLR Pat 438, P. 842 CA

[2]. Sketch Publishing Co LTd V Ajagbe Mokeferi Op Cit

[3]. Richard II a Tale from William Shakespare


[5] African Press Ltd V Ikejiam (1953) 14 WACA 386

[6] Lardner V the Sketch Publishing Co Ltd (1979) 3 L.R.N.276

[7] . Nthenda v Alade (1974) 4 E. C. S.L. R 109

[8] . Ifejak V Abiana

[9] (1994) 8 NWLR (Pt 364)P. 535

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