Alleged defamation: My name is Boniface not Overheat – S’African activist tells court

A South African based activist, Boniface Okonkwo has denied allegations of defamation leveled against him by businessman, Emeka Offor.

Okonkwo, who has been in detention since January 3, testified in his defense before Anambra State High Court, Nnewi, refuting claims that he made derogatory statements about Offor on a WhatsApp platform they both belonged to. 

The prosecution counsel, Alex Ejesieme (SAN), requested Okonkwo to make calls from his phone, which had been in the court’s custody for over six months, to verify the phone number allegedly used to defame Offor.

In a surprising twist, when Okonkwo made the calls in the courtroom, the Truecaller app identified the caller as “Overheat Oraifite”.

The activist, however, maintained his stance, insisting that his name is Boniface Okonkwo and not Overheat, as suggested by the app and canvassed by prosecution.

Okonkwo’s denial comes after months of detention, sparking concerns about the circumstances surrounding his arrest and the allegations brought against him.

The case has garnered significant attention, with many following the developments closely.

The plaintiff had hinged his case on the allegation that Okonkwo made defamatory statements about him on the WhatsApp platform, damaging his reputation. 

However, Okonkwo’s testimony had raised questions about the credibility of the evidence presented.

The court’s decision to allow Okonkwo to make calls from his phone in the courtroom was seen as a crucial moment in the trial. 

The Truecaller app’s identification of the caller as “Overheat Oraifite” has added a new layer of complexity to the case.

Okonkwo’s legal team on the adjourned date of July 9 and 10, 2024 is expected to argue that the app’s identification is not conclusive evidence, and that their client’s denial of the allegations should be taken into account. 

The prosecution, on the other hand, will likely push for the court to consider the app’s identification as proof of Okonkwo’s involvement in the alleged defamation.

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