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The Price of Words: Mercy Chinwo and Nathaniel Bassey Response to Online Defamation


Mercy Chinwo baby Charis, Nathaniel Bassey rumour

It is often said that Christians are forgiving, with a forgiving spirit; that is why the world treats them with no caution; and speaks evil about them with no repercussions!!

At Mercy Chinwo's first-ever live concert in Lagos Nigeria, held at Eko Hotel on the 29th of March 2024, her firstborn son baby Charis Blessed, cute as a button, was brought on stage to be dedicated to God. After this, The Blessed Family posted official pictures via Instagram, of their bundle of joy featuring Mercy Chinwo herself, and Pastor Blessed her husband. Shortly after, some of the most distasteful comments about his looks emerged. Blogs even went further to state that the newborn bore a striking resemblance with Mercy Chinwo's colleague and family friend Pastor Nathaniel Bassey.

This was propagated especially by five mischievous social media users Okoronkwo Ejike, Kingsley Ibeh, Terrence Ekot, DJ Spoiltkid and Samuel Agozie who accused him of paternal fraud.

Mr Ejike in his post stated,

“This Mercy Chinwo’s child she was hiding after giving birth, but the truth is that this baby looks exactly like singer Nathaniel Bassey. Nothing anybody wants to reason with me oh. This child is Nathaniel Bassey’s Baby. Maybe a secret away match occurred; otherwise, how can we make empirical sense of this.”

Mr Terrence Ekot, on the platform “X”, in another post stated:

“Take a look at the stunning resemblance of Mercy Chinwo’s son and Nathaniel Bassey. Though the duo has been working together on several projects, what do you have to say?”

This was quite a scandalous comment and serious allegation, considering the millions of individuals who look up to them and uphold them as right-standing individuals, godly and moral - also bringing to question the artists’ character, and tarnishing their reputations, which took a long time to build.

Nathaniel Bassey’s lawyers, Peter Abraham, Uche Matthew, Gbenga Agunloye, and Anthony Abia, therefore swung into action and filed a petition for the IGP to investigate and prosecute these individuals. They noted that these actions are criminal in nature and violate Sections 373 and 375 of the Criminal Code Act, as well as Section 24(1)(b) of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention) Act. Celebrities are entitled to protect their good name and reputation and therefore, those who maliciously alleged must prove what they asserted boldly on their blogs - how he fathered the child, when the conception took place, and why they made such a serious allegation.

Legal Practitioner Mr Abraham stated

“Our laws in Nigeria have covered and provided sanctions in cases where criminally intended statements, made against individuals or property (tangible or intangible), are capable of causing irreparable damage and injury to the character and reputation of that individual or property to which this case falls. Our client will be exploring all the options and remedies available to him under the law against the persons to whom our legal actions are directed.”

He said:

“The list of persons submitted to the authorities in our petition is not exhaustive, and our team is scanning through other posts to identify those that may be culpable to bring them to justice.”

Mr Ejike one of the accused has since tendered a public apology to gospel singers: Mercy Chinwo and Nathaniel Bassey, via his social media handle.

Mercy Chinwo Blessed, along with her husband, Pastor Blessed Uzochikwa, have also taken legal action against the five individuals for alleged criminal defamation. The criminal complaint was filed by the complainants' attorneys, Pelumi Olajengbesi of the Abuja-based media firm Law Corridor. According to the plaintiffs, the alleged actions of the defendants violated Sections 24 (1)(B) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention, etc.) Act 2015 and Section 391 of the Penal Code. The summon was issued by Chief Magistrate Emmanuel Iyanna of the Abuja magistrate court, directing the defendants to appear in person on Tuesday, April 23, 2024.

This is a reminder to people that our actions have consequences. It is easy to speak, especially on social media, but when called up one must have the ability to take responsibility for what they expressed verbally or otherwise.

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