Showing posts with label politics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label politics. Show all posts

Monday, July 15, 2019

Atiku’s Video Evidence Empty Says INEC

Atiku’s Video Evidence Empty Says INEC

Atiku’s video evidence empty says INEC
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Monday described the 48 Compact Discs evidence tendered by the People Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate, Atitku Abubakar as lacking in probative value.

It was reported that four of the video clips played at the Presidential Election Tribunal court hall includes “Count down of Osun Decides’’, a production of Channels Television with Seun Akinboloye as host.

In the above production dated Feb.8, Mr Mike Igini, Resident Electoral Commissioner for Akwa Ibom had talked about the readiness of the electoral body to transmit the Feb.23 general election electronically.

The second video was a clip of the postponement of the general election by INEC Chairman, Prof. Yakubu Mahmud.

It was further reported that the third video was a clip of AFEX Nigeria training of INEC Ad-hoc staff on electronic result transmission.

Similarly, the briefing by the Nigerian Army authority on the status of President Muhammadu Buhari’s alleged certificate saga completed the four materials shown in court.

Chief Chris Uche, SAN, Counsel for the petitioners had led Mr Segun Showunmi, Spokesman for the Atiku Abubakar Campaign Organisation to tender the materials before the five-man panel of justices.

During his cross-examination by Mr Yunus Usman, SAN, Counsel for INEC, Showunmi agreed that the Resident Electoral Commissioner for Akwa Ibom was not a spokesman for the commission.

Usman also made the witness to confirm that the chairman of the electoral body only expressed the hope of the commission to transmit results of the general election electronically, but that it was actually done.

Usman was of the view that the video clips front-loaded by the witness had nothing to do with the Feb.23 general election.

Showunmi, attested to Usman’s question by saying that the four clips were events that preceded the election.

The other clip was on the president’s certificate controversy as the army confirmed that the Buhari had West African Examination Certificate with credits in English Language, History, Geography and a pass in English Literature.

Meanwhile, Dr Alex Izinyon, SAN, Counsel for Buhari had tendered a video clip dated Feb.6 where chairman of the commission hinged the possible transmission of the election electronically to the signing of a new Electoral Act.

It was also said that drama however ensued as the petitioners’ legal team refused to allow their system to be used to play the CD.

In the circumstance, Izinyon filed an oral application for adjournment to allow his team bring their system and screen to continue with the cross examination of the witness.

Justice Mohammed Garba, went ahead to adjourn the proceedings until July 16 for continuation.

Earlier, the petitioners presented three of their witnesses, totaling about 40 of them out of the 400 that were listed to testify so far.

On their parts, Babagana Kukawa, Hon.Abana Pogu, Suleman Mohammed, Local Government Area Collation Agents for PDP had alleged over voting, vote buying, and violence disruption of the election in their various states.

When they were crossed examined, the witnesses were unable to back up their allegations with documentary evidence.

The counsel to INEC had reminded them that their signature on Forms EC8C (Results transmitted to the local government areas) were approval of the exeercise at polling units and wards level across their states. (NAN)
SDGs Unachievable Without Gender Equality – UN

SDGs Unachievable Without Gender Equality – UN

UN Deputy Secretary-General, Ms Amina Mohammed, has reaffirmed the importance of gender equality in attaining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Speaking at the UN headquarters in New York on Monday, Mohammed stated that the world would miss the goals without women empowerment and equal opportunities for them in decision making.

The UN deputy chief spoke at an informal plenary meeting of the UN General Assembly on `Gender Equality and Women’s Leadership for a Sustainable World’.

“From military ranks to peace tables, and of course in the United Nations itself, more women decision makers means more inclusive solutions that will benefit everyone.
“From driving increased spending on health, education, social protection to enacting laws against discrimination, women leaders certainly have a strong track record as agents of change,” she said.

Mohammed said although gender equality awareness was growing, global progress on it was still far too slow.

No Gender Equality, No Sustainable Development Goals Says The United Nation

She cited recent reports, which indicate that no country was on track to fully achieving Goal 5 of the SDGs on gender equality by 2030.

“Significant gender gaps and biases still remain. We see discriminatory laws, policies and regulations constraining women’s equal opportunities and outcomes.
“Barriers to women’s representation and leadership for many persist everywhere , from structure barriers to gender bias and discrimination and gender based violence and intimidation.
“If we are to achieve our ambitious sustainable development agenda, our world needs more women now, and more younger women even more so,” she added.

Earlier in her opening remarks, the host and President of the General Assembly, Ms Maria Espinosa, described gender equality as a magic formula to attain the SDGs.

Espinosa emphasised the need for more political will and “razor-sharp focus” practical solutions to gender discrimination and imbalance,

“Gender equality is the closest thing we have to a magic formula for  sustainable development, and it is certainly magic in terms of impact.
“But there is nothing magical about how to achieve gender equality. We know what to do to empower women and girls.
“It is there in the 2030 Agenda, it is there in the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action , which remains the gold standard for women’s empowerment.
“What we need is greater political will, a razor-sharp focus on the most transformative, practical solutions, and to widen their scale and impact,” she said. (NAN)
Nigeria will no longer condone xenophobic attacks on its citizens — Lawan

Nigeria will no longer condone xenophobic attacks on its citizens — Lawan

Nigeria will no longer condone xenophobic attacks on its citizens — Lawan

The President of the Senate Dr. Ahmad Lawan on Monday condemned the continuous killings of Nigerians in South Africa, warning that further attacks on Nigerians would no longer be condoned.

Lawan expressed concern that about 118 Nigerians had so far lost their lives in different attacks over the years, out of which 13 were by the South African Police.

A statement by his Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mohammed Isa said Lawan made this known when he hosted the South African High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Bobby Moroe.

Moroe and his delegation paid the visit to brief the Senate leadership on his government’s investigations to unravel the causes of the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and steps being taken to stop such.

The meeting, according to Lawan became pertinent considering the incessant attacks on Nigerians residing across cities in South Africa.

He said “We in the parliament must speak and prevent any further killings. These killings must stop.
“This is the era of social media where corpse of a victim may spark violence that may go beyond the control of government.
“The South African government must as a matter of urgency do whatever it takes to protect the lives and property of Nigerians living there, just as Nigerian government remain committed to the safety of South Africans residing here and their investments.
“I believe we have faced enough, we will no longer take it anymore. We want to write the names of Nigerians killed, and the South African parliament must act fast to put a stop to this menace.
“Over the years, 118 Nigerians have been killed, while 13 out of these were killed by South African Police.”
He also recalled the enormous contributions of Nigeria to South Africa during the apartheid rule.
“We must establish events leading into these killings, including the recent one of Mrs.Elizabeth Chukwu, who was killed in her hotel room,” he said.

While commending the High Commissioner for the updates, Lawan noted that, “the update on the cause of late Mrs. Chukwu’s death is heartwarming. It is a sign that something has been done in this regards.”

Earlier, Mr Moroe expressed regret over the killings of Nigerians in his country.

He extended the country’s condolences to the families of the victims.

He said that an inquest had been instituted to investigate all cases of xenophobic attacks in the country.

The inquest, he said would reveal the cause of the menace and find solutions across board.

He reiterated the commitment of South African government and its law enforcement agencies to get to the root of the matter while bringing to book perpetrators of the attacks.

“Our government will continue to be committed to the good relationship with Nigeria.
“Your sentiment has gone deep into our heart, and you will be happy that the same sentiment has been our concern in South Africa.
“On behalf of the government of South Africa, we express our sincere condolences to Nigerian government for this unfortunate incident”, he said.
Police Dismisses Claim Of Attack On Atiku’s Witnesses

Police Dismisses Claim Of Attack On Atiku’s Witnesses

Zamfara Police command has denied media reports of attack on witnesses of the Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar in the state.

Police Dismisses Claim Of Attack On Atiku’s Witnesses

Counsel to Atiku had told the Presidential Elections Petitions Tribunal at its last sitting that the witnesses were attacked on their way to Abuja from Zamfara.

However, the public relations officer of the command, SP Muhammad Shehu, said in a statement on Sunday, July 14, in Gusau that no such attack was recorded in the state. He described the claim as highly misleading.

Police Dismiss PDP's Claim That Gunmen Attacked Its Witnesses:

Shehu said: “The attention of the command has been drawn over newspapers stories published by some national dailies on Saturday 13 July, 2019." 

“That some witnesses of the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar who were travelling from the state to Abuja have been attacked in the state. “According to the reports, the witnesses were traveling to Abuja from Zamfara to give witness at Presidential Aspirant Election Tribunal in Abuja. 

“They claimed to have been attacked by bandits in Zamfara state, a situation that forced them to scamper into the bush which forced the court to adjourn sitting. “As far as the state police command is concern, the claim is not true and has no basis; we wish to draw the attention of members of the public that the story is not true.

 “Based on the crime statistics available to the command, there was no attack by bandits either on villages or on any person or group of persons traveling on any highway in the state,’’ he said. He said since the commencement of peace and dialogue initiative with bandits in the state led by Commissioner of Police, Mr Usman Nagogo, attacks, kidnapping and other heinous crimes have reduced drastically to about 98%. 

“Over 100 kidnapped victims have been rescued from the bandits through the peace dialogue”, he added. Shehu therefore described the reports as misleading and attempt to undermine the current efforts of both the state government and the police to bring lasting peace in the state.

 “I am using this medium to appeal to media organizations to always verify their reports before publication,’’ the PPRO said. Meanwhile, Legit.ng previously reported that the PDP and its presidential candidate for the 2019 election had claimed that witnesses headed to Abuja from Zamfara for the election tribunal were attacked on their way.

The lead counsel for the party, Atiku and his running mate, Peter Obi, said the witnesses were attacked by some unknown gunmen.
(Legit)

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Power Will Remain In The North In 2023 – Paul Unongo

Power Will Remain In The North In 2023 – Paul Unongo


Former Chairman of Northern Elder’s Forum, NEF, Paul Unongo, has posited that power will remain in the north at the end of President Buhari's second tenure in 2023.

The Second Republic Minister stated that northerners contesting in the 2023 election was morally right because they have the population, and are also the ingredients to quicken the face and practice of democratization in Nigeria. He also said the northerners are not greedy and do not insist, but only believe that whatever happens is the will of Allah and that only Allah gives leadership.

On if it is morally right for northerners to contest in the 2023 election, Unongo said;

Yes, it will be morally right, that was why I told you that we are practicing budding and evolving democratic system and issues of primordial concern still exist.

“There was a president in the United States called Gorge Bush, his son became President of Unites State also and up to now, we have not finished with the Bushs, one of his sons was also a governor at the time, the brother was a president.

“This feeling that let’s choose people based on their competence, their eloquence of delivery, their capacity to convince us that they will represent and deliver on our peculiar interest should be the determining factors, not based on ethnicity, tribe and blood relationship. Eventually, Nigeria will grow to that, but for now, the North will give the leadership because they have an overwhelming population if they keep the unity of the North intact.

“I am from the Middle Belt and I fought the hegemony of the far North. We wanted to have our own Middle Belt region and we fought and went to the constitutional conference with the like of Patrick Dokatry, myself and the late Joseph Tarka, I was the secretary and we insisted that they should create the Middle Belt state and grant it independence, but Nigeria was too concerned about protecting what they will look at as estate and the Middle Belt never came, but Gowon came to power and many regions came from the Middle Belt, we had the Benue-Plateau state, we had Adamawa and Taraba as their own states….If you have satisfied the West, you have to satisfy the East and the North, the North is bigger than all the others put together.

“The challenge for the Northerners is that they have the ingredients to quicken the face and practice of democratization in Nigeria because northerners are not greedy and they don’t insist, they believe that whatever happens is the will of Allah and that only Allah gives leadership.”

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Ministerial List: Senate Dumps Resolution Mandating President To Attach Portfolios

Ministerial List: Senate Dumps Resolution Mandating President To Attach Portfolios

Ministerial list: Senate dumps resolution mandating President to attach portfolios
The Senate has described as unnecessary the resolution passed by the 8th Senate which mandated the President to attach portfolios to the ministerial nominees’ list.

 The Eight Senate under the leadership of Senator Bukola Saraki had passed a resolution asking the President to indicate the portfolios that would be assigned to the ministerial nominees.

 Members of the 8th Senate had argued that such an arrangement would enable the lawmakers to know the specific questions to ask the nominees.


The member representing Akwa Ibom North-East Senatorial District, Bassey Akpan, had received satisfactory nods from his colleagues when he reminded the leadership of the 9th Senate about the resolution passed by their immediate predecessors on the issue.

 Akpan had argued that the best way to help the President put the right person in the right position was to know the specific ministry each nominee would handle when they appear for screening.

 He maintained that such arrangement would enable the lawmakers to assess the competence of the nominees.


 But speaking on behalf of the 9th Senate in an interview with our correspondent on Friday, the spokesperson, Senator Adedayo Adeyeye, said it was not mandatory for the President to attach portfolios to the ministerial nominees’ list.

 He argued that Presidents of advanced countries like the USA which subscribed to such practice still reserved the right to swap portfolios of their nominees before and after their inauguration.

Adeyeye argued that the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, a lawyer, performed well as minister of finance while the late Aminu Kano, a teacher, also did well as the minister of health.


He said, “It is not a constitutional prerequisite neither is it mandatory for the President to assign portfolios to the ministerial nominees.

“Also, Senate up till now has not made any law or any regulation that would insist on that.

“There is nothing, either in the Senate rules or in the Constitution that will compel the President to do that.”

Adeyeye admitted that attaching portfolios to ministerial nominees list would have assisted senators to ask specific questions but insisted that it was not necessary for the parliament to emphasise it.

He said, “Our major concern is to identify the leadership qualities in the nominees being presented to us for screening.’’
(Punch)
Lake Chad Basin Governors’ Forum Meet To Discuss Peace, Regional Stability

Lake Chad Basin Governors’ Forum Meet To Discuss Peace, Regional Stability

Lake Chad Basin Governors’ Forum meet to discuss peace, regional stability
Lake Chad Basin Governors’ Forum is to hold its second meeting in Niamey, Niger with a view to ensuring stability, peace, and sustainable development in the region affected by activities of Boko Haram.

It was reported that the meeting, which will hold from July 16 to July 18, is being organised by the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) with technical support from the African Union (AU), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the Crisis   Management Initiative (CMI).

At the inaugural meeting of the forum in Maiduguri on May 8 to 9, 2018, nine governors from Cameroon, Chad, Niger, and Nigeria convened with more than 150 stakeholders representing national institutions, multilateral and bilateral partners, as well as the civil society from the region.

Kashim Shettima, the then governor of Borno state hosted the inaugural meeting of the forum.

Next week’s meeting, is expected to provide the  governors and stakeholders the opportunity to re-strategise and to come up with fresh recommendations on how to implement the Territorial Action Plans (TAPs).
Stakeholders are also expected to discuss ways to shape policy towards forging a common approach to ensuring stability in the Lake Chad Basin region.

The meeting will also seek to prevent further crises in the region and make significant contribution to developing regional response to the challenges being experienced in the area as called for in the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2349 (2017).

Furthermore, the meeting in Niamey is expected to strengthen  joint  efforts and coordination  toward resolving the   crisis in the region through the promotion of cross-border dialogue, cooperation, and exchange as well as support ongoing national, regional, and multilateral efforts toward ensuring stability in the Lake Chad Basin.

The forum is also expected to consider the extent to which the recommendations it made at its inaugural have been implemented.

Some of the recommendation were to support the process of jointly developing a regional reintegration strategy with action plans at the state/region level ,  establish and ensure harmonization of National Action Plans for the reintegration of the Lake Chad.

Also, basin countries, including reliable judicial procedures with respect for human rights, build capacities of state institutions responsible for reintegration, engage the public in the reintegration process and prepare them through significant investments in dialogue and sensitization efforts, and prioritize the engagement of youth and women in reintegration efforts to ensure their active role in the reintegration process.

Friday, July 5, 2019

Presidential Poll Tribunal: Atiku Tenders Niger, Yobe Results, Says INEC Has Two Different Outcomes In LG

Presidential Poll Tribunal: Atiku Tenders Niger, Yobe Results, Says INEC Has Two Different Outcomes In LG

The Peoples Democratic Party and its presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, on Thursday opened the trial at the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal in Abuja by tendering the results of the polls in Niger and Yobe states.
Presidential Poll Tribunal: Atiku Tenders Niger, Yobe Results, Says INEC Has Two Different Outcomes In LG

Atiku and his party had petitioned the tribunal challenging the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari and his All Progressives Party at the February 23, 2019 election.

A renowned constitutional lawyer, Prof. Ben Nwabueze (SAN), made what turned out to be a solidarity appearance at the tribunal on Thursday. Nwabueze arrived the courtroom in a wheelchair, and was wheeled out shortly thereafter.

In his remarks before taking his leave, the 87-year-old noted that the generality of Nigerians believed that the presidential election was rigged but yet to find who perpetrated the rigging.

He urged the tribunal “to rise above the self-imposed shackles” in order to “find out the truth about what happened during that election”.

The trial commenced, shortly after Nwabueze left with Dr. Livy Uzoukwu (SAN), resuming as the lead counsel for the petitioners.

Uzoukwu tendered Forms EC8A, EC8B and EC8C – the polling units, wards, and local government result sheets for Niger and Yobe states.

The Independent National Electoral Commission, along with the two other respondents, Buhari and the APC, objected to the tendering of the result sheets which were all certified by the electoral body.

The respondents, through their respective lawyers, also objected to the tendering of the receipt of certification issued on June 7, 2019 by INEC in respect of the Niger State result sheets.

While opposing the admissibility of the receipt, Buhari’s lead counsel, Mike Igbokwe (SAN), said, “If INEC objected to the admissibility, who am I not to object? It’s their document but they are objecting to it.”

In response to the comment which ignited laughter in the courtroom, INEC’s lawyer, Yunus Usman (SAN), who being the counsel for the 1st respondent, was the first to object to the document. He quickly rose to say “it’s not our document.”

The courtroom further burst into laughter.

The APC’s lawyer, Yakubu Maikyau (SAN), also objected to the tendering of the receipt.

But the respondents’ lawyers did not object to the tendering of the certification receipt issued by INEC on May 9, 2019 in respect of the result sheets of Yobe State.

In line with the agreement reached among the parties at the pre-hearing session which ended on Wednesday, the respondents all indicated their objection to the documents tendered by the petitioners but would only give their reasons at the final address stage.

Also, as part of the agreement, the tribunal admitted all the documents as exhibits, but subject to the consideration of the reasons for the objection to be given by the respondents at the end of trial.

A total of 3,464 result sheets from the 25 local government areas of Niger State and one receipt of certification of the result sheets were admitted as exhibits.

The documents, including the receipts were admitted as P1 to P3465.

As for Yobe State, a total of 1,731 result sheets from 17 local governments, and one receipt of certification were admitted as exhibits.

The exhibits were admitted as Exhibits PY1 to PY1732.

Two result sheets for a Yobe LG

In the course of tendering the result sheets for Nangere Local Government Area of Yobe State, Justice Garba observed that Form EC8C, the local government result sheet, which ought to be one turned to be two.

He asked the petitioners’ lawyer which one should be recorded as the tendered exhibit.

Responding, Uzoukwu said, “We got the two documents from INEC. So we are tendering the two.”

The tribunal went on to admit one of the Forms EC8C as Exhibit PYB 1101 and the other as Exhibit PYB 1101A.

Shortly after the Justice Mohammed Garba-led tribunal began sitting at about 9.40am, Nwabueze announced appearance as the lead counsel for the petitioners.

He was barely audible while announcing the names of other lawyers appearing with him.

He eventually had to hand over the role to Dr. Livy Uzoukwu (SAN), who had since the commencement of the case, been leading the petitioners’ team.

Subsequently, Yunus Usman (SAN) announced appearance as the lead counsel for the Independent National Electoral Commission; Mike Igbokwe (SAN) for President Muhammadu Buhari, and Yakubu Maikyau (SAN), for the APC.

After the bar closed the appearances announcement, Nwabueze expressed “gratitude” to the tribunal for granting his “first request”.

In what he described as his “short remark,” which he sought to be allowed to deliver, Nwabueze urged the tribunal to find the truth about the election which he said many Nigerians believed to be rigged.

He said finding the truth about the polls would help to liberate Nigerians from the scourge of electoral fraud.

He said notwithstanding his age and attendant health challenges, he attended the proceedings “to underscore the importance” of the case.

He said, “The February/March 2019 general elections have come and gone, but the generality of Nigerians believe that something was wrong with them, particularly the February presidential election.
“They suspect that the latter was manipulated or, in more familiar, language, rigged.
“What is not known is how or by whom the rigging was done.
“An election tribunal/court is now saddled with the task, an intractable task, of finding out the truth about what happened.
“The task before it is made intractable by what Justice Kishna Iyer of the Indian Supreme Court referred to as the ‘tyranny of procedure, the horror of the doctrine of precedent, with its stifling and deadening insistence on uniformity, and the boobytraps of pleadings’.
“The decided election cases show the election tribunal/court has succumbed all too readily to these containing factors, but Nigerians still expect it to rise above the self-imposed shackles in order to find out the truth about what happened during that election.
“The tribunal/court owes it as a duty to the country to do, so as the discovery of the truth will set us free from the scourge of electoral malpractices.”

It turned out to be a solidarity appearance as he sought and obtained the tribunal’s permission to leave the courtroom shortly after his remarks.

Earlier, the tribunal dismissed the respondents’ earlier request for the suspension of the trial on Thursday.

The respondents had called for suspension of the proceedings on the grounds of alleged late filing and serving of the petitioners’ schedule of documents on them shortly before sitting began on Thursday.

But ruling, the five-man bench led by Justice Mohammed Garba, dismissed the respondents’ request, saying that the agreements reached among the parties at the pre-hearing session concluded earlier on Wednesday, had stipulated that trial would commence on Thursday.

Justice Garba who delivered the ruling of the tribunal added that the agreement reached and adopted as the tribunal’s directive on Wednesday, did also not make the service of the schedule of documents a condition-precedent for the commencement of trial.

He added that the respondents could also not validly claimed to have been ambushed by the alleged late filing of the schedule since the documents listed in it had been referenced in the petition filed and served on the respondents months ago.

Some PDP chiefs, including the party’s vice-president candidate, Peter Obi, were present at the proceedings.

The Thursday’s proceedings closed at 6pm.

Further hearing was adjourned till Friday.

(Source: punchng.com)

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Senator Abbo Apologises, Begs For Forgiveness

Senator Abbo Apologises, Begs For Forgiveness




The senator representing Adamawa North Senatorial District, Senator Ishaku Abbo, has apologised to Nigerians, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and women in general, following a viral video in which he was seen physically assaulting a lady.

Also Read:- Police IG Orders Arrest Of Senator Abbo, His Orderly Over Assault On Sales Girl

 He made the apology at a press conference at the PDP headquarters in Abuja.



The Senator said:

It is with a deep sense of remorse and responsibility that I, Senator Ishaku Abbo (SIA) profoundly apologize to all Nigerians, the Senate, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), my family, friends as well as our mothers - the Nigerian women.
I personally apologize to Bibra and her family for my action towards her, which has brought immense discomfort in our body polity.
I have never been known or associated with such actions in the past. Regardless of what transpired prior to my expression of anger, I am sincerely sorry and plead that all men and women of good conscience should have the heart to forgive me. To err is human, to forgive is divine.
To the Church of God everywhere in the world, I am sorry. As an Ambassador of Christ, much is expected of me.
My family and religious upbringing do not give approval to such conduct and for this, as a leader, I seek forgiveness before God and all those who feel offended by my action.
Indeed, this episode has taught me a very great lesson both as a private citizen and a public officer, particularly as a senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria upon whom public confidence is bestowed.
Finally, I assure Nigerians, especially the people of Adamawa North of my good conduct at all times.

(Channels TV)

Monday, July 1, 2019

Atiku Abubakar Sues President Buhari’s Aide Lauretta Onnochie For N2.5bn

Atiku Abubakar Sues President Buhari’s Aide Lauretta Onnochie For N2.5bn

Atiku files N2.5bn libel suit against Buhari’s aide, Lauretta Onochie

Former Vice President and PDP Presidential candidate in the last general elections, Atiku Abubakar, has filed a lawsuit against the Special Assistant on Social Media to President Muhammadu Buhari, Lauretta Onochie, for her alleged libelous tweet via her twitter handle on May 7, 2019.

In the suit filed on June 26th 2019 before the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) by his lawyer, Mike Ozekhome (SAN), Atiku claimed Onochie alleged in her post, that he was on the watch list of security operatives in the United Arab Emirates and had traveled to shop for terrorists in the Middle East.  In a supporting affidavit, Atiku denied the allegation contained in the said tweet and stated that the tweet was “politically orchestrated” “solely to cause maximum damage” to his “high reputation.”

“To say that the claimant is shopping for terrorists knowing same to be untrue and without any foundation is not only dishonest and reckless but is calculated and politically designed to instigate security agents against him not only in the UAE but across the world,” he stated in his statement of claim accompanying the suit.
In a statement of claim, Atiku said he had in a May 14, 2019 letter, demanded an apology, retraction, and payment of N500m compensation from Onochie “to assuage” the damage allegedly caused him by her social media post.

Atiku stated that even when he threatened to sue her should she fail to accede to the demand within 48 hours, Onochie was unbothere by his demand letter. He noted that rather than show “remorse by retracting her earlier publication”, she further, on May 20, made “another derogatory publication and also published same globally online in the social and other print media” against his person. The former Vice President said sometimes in May this year, he had embarked on a foreign trip to the UAE as he had done over the years, and while on the said trip, Onochie on May 7, 2019, wrote, through her twitter handle:

“Atiku on UAE watchlist- Security sources Security operatives in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are keeping a close tab on a former Nigerian Vice Pres Atiku Abubakar who has been in the Middle East nation for several weeks now What is he doing there? Me: Shopping for Terrorists?”he said
The claimant said “the defamatory publication” was also published by several newspapers nationwide and on several social media news.

He denied the allegations contained in the said publication which he described as “a figment of the imagination of the defendant”, but said it portrayed him “as an evil man, mentor of terrorists, someone who has links with terrorists, and a person who is interested in destabilizing the peace and unity of Nigeria.

“The publication also portrayed the claimant as a security threat and terrorist to right thinking members of the public and the society at large.

“The odious publication has clearly rubbished the claimant’s image and reputation. It has caused him national and international backlash and embarrassment and has done incalculable damage to him.

“He has thereby been subjected to the shame and infamy of being viewed by members of the public as not only corrupt but as a terrorist and sponsor of terrorism.” Atiku said

Atiku claimed that following the publication, he received numerous telephone calls, emails, visits, letters and private social media chats by his family members, friends, political and business associates, and international statesmen and women, confirming “the alarm and serious concerns generated by the defendant’s false publication.”

The claimant said he would tender the call logs showing the text messages, and calls received by him in the aftermath of Onochie’s post.

He described “the entire opprobrious and denigrating story” as “most misleading, baseless, false, malicious and totally bereft of any foundation howsoever”.

He noted that the “inference and grave conclusions” contained in the post were “politically orchestrated” and “invented by the defendant and others of her ilk, solely to cause maximum damage to the high reputation of the claimant, who is currently before the Election Petition Tribunal against her employer and boss, President Muhammadu Buhari, challenging the latter’s purported victory in the last presidential election.”

The claimant said contrary to the said “derogatory, disparaging, mendacious and unrestrained defamatory statement, as published in various print, electronic and online media platforms” he had “never been on the security watch list of the UAE, or any other country, for that matter.

“He has neither ever been denied entry into, interrogated, nor been declared wanted by the UAE Authorities, or any of its security agencies.  That Claimant was at the time of the said publication in the UAE and was never accosted by any security agencies over the said frivolous and baseless allegations.” he said
Atiku is praying for among others, a declaration that the publications made by Onochie via her social media accounts on May 7, and May 20, 2019, concerning and touching on his “are utterly false, baseless, unfounded and defamatory of the Claimant, and injurious to his reputation.”
He wants the court to direct Onochie to pay him N2,500,000,000,000 “representing general, aggravated, punitive and exemplary damages over the untold embarrassment, derision, public ridicule, odium, obloquy, marital disharmony, mental agony and psychological trauma which the defendant’s publications have caused the claimant.”
Atiku wants the court to compel the defendant to retract the publication and offer an apology to him “for the said offensive twitter and facebook publications on the same platforms, also to be published in three national newspapers with wide circulation within the country and also broadcast on AIT, Channels and NTA television stations.”