The University of Baltimore, Maryland, US, and an American lecturer named Dr. Ivan Sascha Sheehan have been sued by American Veterans of Igbo Descent for publishing an article that classified the Indigenous People of Biafra as a terrorist group.
The lawsuit was recently filed at the US District Court for the District of Maryland by AVID, a group of Nigerians of Igbo descent who have served in various branches of the US military. AVID accuses Dr. Sheehan of publishing seven false statements about IPOB in the Washington Times on Monday, October 4, 2021.
IPOB leader Nnamdi Kanu’s Special Counsel, Aloy Ejimakor, provided a 16-page court document to Vanguard on Tuesday.
In it, the group demanded that defendants Dr. Sheehan and the University of Baltimore pay $2 million and $1.5 million for general and special damages, respectively.
The document partly read, “Plaintiff, American Veterans of Igbo Descent (“AVID”), through its undersigned attorney, and files this Amended Complaint for defamation seeking, among other reliefs, compensatory and punitive damages against Defendants, Ivan Sascha Sheehan and the University of Baltimore, Maryland.
“In support of this Amended Complaint, Plaintiff realleges all the allegations of Initial Complaint as if fully set forth herein and Plaintiff further states that the Initial Complaint was amended for misnomer (University of Maryland Baltimore) and that the amendment correctly named the Defendant (University of Baltimore.”
In the statement of facts, it said, “On or about Monday, October 4, 2021, Defendant Sheehan published in The Washington Times an “ANALYSIS/OPINION” defamatory article headlined “US ignores small African terrorist group IPOB at its peril.
“The article contained multiple defamatory falsehoods about IPOB published with ill will and with knowledge of their falsity or with reckless disregard of whether they were true or not. Defamatory falsehood number 1 asserted “An African terrorist organization [IPOB] is suing U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken….” IPOB is not a terrorist organization under U.S. law or any law of a foreign country other than Nigeria.
“IPOB’s designation as terrorist organization in Nigeria was made via a judicial edict with no hearing or due process. IPOB opposes violence. It supports an independent Biafran sovereignty by peaceful means. At present, the Federal Republic of Nigeria is engaged in an ongoing genocide of Biafrans.
“Terrorist organizations employ unlawful violence against civilians to advance political objectives. IPOB does not. Defamatory falsehood number 2 asserted, in context, that IPOB deserves listing as a foreign terrorist organization by the Secretary of State pursuant to section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act: “The violent secessionist group in question—the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB)—is yet to be designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the US Department of State.”
Therefore, the group demanded that the University of Baltimore and Dr. Sheehan, among other defendants, pay $2 million and $1.5 million in general and special damages, respectively.
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