Alleged Defamation: ‘Retract your statement or be ready to pay N1bn’ – Emefiele to Akpabio

Leah TwakiFebruary 22, 20245 min

Emefiele has vowed to sue the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, for alleged defamation and demanded an apology in written form and published in the media.

Senate President, Godswill Akpabio

The immediate-past Central Bank of Nigeria Governor (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, has vowed to sue the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, for alleged defamation.

The Senate president had at Senator Barinada Mpigi’s thanksgiving service in Koroma, Tai Local Government Area, Rivers State on February 18, stated that President Bola Tinubu’s administration did not know the crime to charge Emefiele with adding that the President inherited an economic mess from the former CBN governor.

However, in a letter through his lawyer, Mathew Burkaa (SAN), addressed to Akpabio, Emefiele demanded an apology in written form and published in the media or be slammed with a N1bn lawsuit.

In the letter dated February 19 and a copy which was sighted by our correspondent on Wednesday, Emefiele claimed that the interpretation of the senate president’s comment meant that he is a serial offender whose action is responsible for all the hardship experienced by Nigerians.

The letter partly read, “We are solicitors to Dr. Godwin Ifeanyi Emefiele, the former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (hereinafter referred to as “Our Client”), on whose brief and instruction, we write this letter. The above statement, whether taken in their ordinary, figurative, or literal meaning portrayed our Client as:

“The cause of the entire hardship in Nigeria today is as a result of the policies of the previous administration. A serial offender whose action is responsible for all the hardship experienced by Nigerians today.

“A person who has committed offences that are so numerous that the government is confused as to which of the offences to prefer a charge against him.”

Emefiele noted that the comments of the senate president undermined the integrity of the court and its independence, adding that it was detrimental to his ongoing trial.

“Your statement, with the greatest respect, clearly undermines the honour and integrity of the Court and its independence and indeed has the propensity of prejudicing the case against Our Client. Having submitted to the jurisdiction of the Court, it is only fair and proper that the Court should be allowed to determine the issues submitted to it without unnecessary pressure from any other arm of Government.”

The former CBN governor also noted as a minister in the last administration, attributing the parlous economic situation to him was appalling adding that without the approval of the President and/or the Federal Executive Council which Akpabio was a member, he could have done nothing on his own.

Emefiele said, “Secondly Sir, as a Senior member of the Bar, a former Governor of a State, A Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and a former Minister under the immediate past Administration, Your statement attributing the present economic woes of the country solely on Our Client is most appalling and exposes the inaccuracies in Your assertions, especially, as you were a major player in the immediate Past Administration and worked closely with Our Client and indeed witnessed the innovations he introduced in the banking sector and its impact on the economy whilst in office, as well as the role he played despite all odds in salvaging Nigeria in the P & ID Saga and the positive result it brought for Nigeria.

“You are also aware that no single policy was carried out by Our Client without the approval, directive, or authorization of the President and/or the Federal Executive Council of which you were a key and powerful member.”

He called on the senate president to immediately retract his statement which had gone viral or risk being sued.

Emefiele said, “It is pursuant to the above and without delving into the matter presently pending in Court that Our Client has instructed that we write to Your good offices and demand the immediate retraction of Your statement which has gone viral and is considered defamatory of Our Client

“These baseless and false allegations defame the character of Our Client and have also caused him great pains and embarrassment as it has lowered his esteem before the right-thinking members of the Society in addition to the obvious odium and opprobrium from the unsuspecting members of the Society as a result of the falsity contained in that statement.

“We, therefore have Our Client’s further instruction to demand from you an unreserved apology in writing, published and circulated by the same medium with which you have defamed his character, and the sum of N1,000,000,000 as reasonable compensation for the willful and unjustifiable denigration of his hard-earned reputation. If you fail, refuse, or neglect to comply with this legitimate demand, Our Client will be at liberty to seek the appropriate redress available to him under the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

Leah Twaki

A Chemistry graduate, excels as a social media manager, digital journalist, and content creator with an interdisciplinary skills blend of science and communication.

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