- A threat of N10 billion lawsuit has been issued to the national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, by Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue
- The move from the governor was prompted by some alleged attempts on Oshimhole's part to defame and rubbish his reputations with a series of allegations
- In a letter to the APC national chairman, Ortom demanded that Oshiomhole should retract his allegations and apologise for the same or face him in court
The governor of Benue state, Samuel Ortom, has threatened to institute a N10 billion suit against Adams Oshiomhole, the national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), for alleged defamation of his character and libel.
Vanguard reported that Ortom in a letter through his lawyers to the APC chairman referred to various interviews and media briefings in which Oshiomhole allegedly attempted to bring his name into disrepute and shame.
The letter read: “Recall that on Friday, July 27, you did cause a sponsored press conference to be aired on multiple television and radio stations which was also widely circulated in the print and social media.
“In the said sponsored press conference which was entirely centered on the person of Governor Samuel Ortom, you made very astonishing, unsubstantiated, wild and wide allegations against our client relating to the issue of allocation and payment of salaries, security votes expenditure and the insecurity in Benue state.
“It is the aggregate of your allegations that our client has confessed to sharing Benue State money with party leaders and that despite collection of bail out and Paris Club refund monies, Gov. Ortom has not and is not paying salaries… the vicious circle of poverty in Benue State has been deepened under Gov. Ortom.
“By deducible analysis, it is also your allegation that our client is responsible for the killings in Benue State specifically the unfortunate killing of 2 Catholic priests and their parishioners in Mbalom community which sad event occurred on the morning of 24th April, 2018.
“It is noteworthy that in the entire web of false accusations that you weaved against our client, you could not bring yourself to mention a single Benue person or any other person for that matter from whom you sourced your false narratives. For the records, the principles of law grounding liability for defamation and libel do not exculpate tale bearers from liability for the reason that the tales they bear are not original to them.
“There is also no gainsaying the fact that the false allegations you have leveled against our client are weighty and same would have demanded a greater degree of circumspection, sobriety and deep reflection from you before rushing to the public domain.
“For one who is purportedly schooled, it is taken for granted that you are fully abreast of the legal obligation and implication that he who asserts has a corresponding burden to prove. Regrettably, in your case you spoke not to records but to base political sentiments.
“Therefore, the only inference to draw is that your unproven allegation was informed by a dangerously cultivated, albeit unwarranted malice against our client. In the circumstance, we have our client’s instruction to place before you the following demands:
“A letter of retraction/apology addressed to our client in respect of the false, defamatory and libelous statement made against him in the sponsored press conference herein complained of.
“That the said retraction/apology be simultaneously published in the Sunday edition of 10 National Dailies circulating within Benue State as well as a paid advertorial to the same effect on the prime time beats of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Channels Tv, TVC News, African Independent Television (AIT), Independent Television (ITV) Benin, Radio Nigeria, Radio Benue and Harvest FM, Makurdi.
“An undertaking not to indulge in any such false publication against our client in future and the payment of N10,000,000,000. (Ten Billion Naira) only to our client as punitive, general, exemplary and aggravated damages. We have our client’s express instruction that the terms above be met within 7 days of receipt of this letter.
"It is the further instruction of our client that in the event of any failure, refusal or neglect to conform to the terms set out above, he would be left with no option than to commence appropriate legal proceedings against you in the law Court.”
Recall that NAIJ.com in an earlier report said that the newly elected speaker of the Benue House of Assembly, Titus Ugba, on Saturday, August 4, revealed that Ortom might be heading to court to clear his name of corruption allegations.
Ugba, who spoke with selected journalists at the 2018 edition of a meeting of the conference of 36 speakers of state Houses of Assembly, wondered why the allegations of corruption against Ortom began after the governor's defection from the APC.
He also raised alarm over the alleged withdrawal of security agents from the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps in the state saying attacks by bandits had continued unabated.
Reacting to a question from NAIJ.com on the allegation that Ortom mismanaged funds that came from the federal government, the speaker said Oshiomhole, the national chairman of the APC, lied.
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