A former member of the House of Representatives, Prince Ned Nwoko has written to Saharareporters to retract its “defamatory statement” against his person or face court action.
In a letter addressed to Sahara Reporters by Nwoko’s solicitor, Rolls Law Firm, demanded for a retraction of the libelous publication in the online news platform and also asked Sahara Reporters to publish an apology in two national dailies backed with a payment of N10bn as damages for the publication of the said libel.
The letter dated 20th December 2021 and signed by Mr. Onyeka Nwokolo (Esq.) reads, “we are solicitors to Hon. Prince (Dr.) Ned Munir Nwoko (herein referred to as “Our Client”) and on whose behalf and instruction we write you this letter, our client’s attention has been drawn by several people including members of his family, friends, business associate and co-politicians amongst other well-meaning Nigerians to serials of your false publications in your news media where you maliciously with intent to bring our client to contempt and ridicule him in the eyes of the public published false, untrue and concocted stories about him.
“In one of such publications dated 14th August 2020 and captioned, “How Ned Nwoko Humiliated Monarch, Asked Police To Dig Up Palace”, you maliciously and falsely stated that Ned Nwoko, a former federal lawmaker from Delta State, “Ordered the arrest of Prince Chukwunonso Nwoko, monarch of the town, and subsequently asked the police to ransack his palace”.
Your said false publication claimed that our client was induced to take the above stated action because, “the monarch and some residents of Idumuje-Ugboko had opposed Nwoko’s attempt to forcefully acquire additional 90 hectares of land from an area earmarked for all indigenes of the community”.
Your references to our client as an unconscionable land grabber who has intimidated and cowed an entire community in order to takeover people’s lands gravely profiles him as a bully, marauder, buccaneer, pirate, Viking, and a bandit. The implication and innuendos from the false allegations are that our client abuses the privileges of God’s favours and endowment on him to oppress and extort others not equally endowed. It casts him as devious, manipulative, dishonest and fraudulent person of questionable character in the eyes of respectable people in the society.
This is in stark contrast to the reality and reputation of our client as a former lawmaker, a philanthropist, accessible, easy-going and stickler for rule of law. Our client was, hitherto, widely renowned in Delta State, Nigeria and worldwide for ventilating his convictions both in politics and business by due process of the law through established conflict resolution framework and judicial process.
Our client deliberately ignored the unprovoked slur and distraction your false publications sought to inflict on his reputation and focus on the more serious projects he has at hand. It is ironical that our client’s pacifist, disposition would appear to have reinforced your recklessness in directing more attacks against his person, business, reputation and integrity.
Few days ago, our client’s attention was to drawn to yet another false, wicked, malicious and defamatory publication dated 15th December, 2021 by you and published in several News and Social media captioned, “EX-HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES MEMBER, NED NWOKO ACCUSED OF SCAMMING AFRICAN LEADERS WITH ‘WHITE ELEPHANT PROJECTS’”, wherein you published to the world and repeated the above cited falsehood about our client intimidating an entire community and grabbing their lands by coercion.
You went further to add new and false claims about the Paris Club Refunds and the Malaria Eradication Project being undertaken by the Ned Nwoko Foundation. Our clients’ involvement with the Paris Club Refund in Nigeria has been an open subject and public knowledge. It has been subjected to judicial scrutiny, private company review and audit by the Nigeria Governors’ Forum and forensic investigation three (3) times by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
In 2016, at a time no money had been paid to our client the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami in response to a claim by a whistleblower NGO, that our client has been paid about $6bUSD with the respect to the Paris Club Refund issued a stern instruction to the EFCC to conduct detailed investigation against our client. He was invited and volumes of documents and files taken away.
The EFCC Investigation Report affirmed our clients’ role in the Paris Club Refunds. Two successive review investigations were further carried out by the EFCC with the same outcome. Our client was subsequently paid part of his entitlements.
Our client unequivocally denies all the allegations you made against him in the said publications, and other publications by you on same subject which the constraint of space cannot be contained herein, all of which were intended to drag his integrity to the mud.
On the contrary:
The said Prince Chukwunonso Nwoko was fingered in the investigation and prosecution of a case of violence and destruction of properties in Idumuje-Ugboko sometime in May 2017.
A prosecution witness identified him and some others as working in concert and masterminded the mindless terror and destruction visited on Idumuje-Ugboko in 2017. A cursory investigation or verification would have revealed this fact to you;
b. with respect to acquisition of land, our client followed laid down processes in the acquisition of lands in Idumuje-Ugboko and anywhere else in Nigeria. Again, this fact could easily have been established had you spared any consideration to tell a balance story.
Your malicious publication were deliberately orchestrated to inflict indelible scares on the reputation of our client as easily verifiable facts were advertently ignored by you to foster your quest to destroy as illustrated hereof.
By available records, the claim that the late king’s signature on the letter approving the allocation of the land was forged has been investigated and authenticated by experts. Those who peddled the false allegation were charged for false information.
The LGA Chairman affirmed that he conferred with the late king and confirmed that he signed the letter before they proceeded with formalizing the allocation.
The Adviser to the Delta State Governor on Peace and Reconciliation, one Chief Uzor confirmed the late king’s signature.
A cursory investigation by you would also have revealed to you as follows:
That Prince Chukwunonso Nwoko has never been proclaimed the king of Idumuje-Ugboko by the elder (senior) members of the Nwoko Royal Family.
That Prince Chukwunonso Nwoko was not recommended to the Anioma North Traditional Rulers Committee.
That the Anioma North Traditional Rulers’ Committee recommended Crown Prince Solomon Eziokwubundu Nwoko as the Obi(king) Idumuje-Ugboko
That the Chairman Anioma Traditional Rulers’ Forum HRM Asagba (Prof.) Chike Edozien recommended Crown Prince Solomon Eziokwubundu Nwoko to the Delta State Government for presentation of Staff of Office as the Obi (king) of Idumuje-Ugboko by the Governor.
Court judgments are public documents that are readily available at registry of every court in Nigeria. There is also the Freedom of Information Act which empowers sincere media organization seeking to publish the truth to secure any public information they require. There have been several court judgments arising from the Paris Club Refunds involving our client. If you had sought information, we would have gladly supplied you the details to enable you issue an objective publication.
Had you taken the steps in paragraph (e) above, you would have found out that the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) entered into a Terms of Settlement signed by their Chairman and the Director General, Asishana B. Okauru, with Ned Nwolo acknowledging;
That Ned Nwolo worked for them and is entitled to be paid.
That they (NGF) shall issue a Letter of No Objection to payment to Ned Nwoko and the associated company Linas International Limited.
That in furtherance of the court Judgment, the NGF issued the Letter of No Objection to as stated above to the Federal Ministry Of Finance.
That from the records that there is no clam of $418mUSD by the NGF against Ned Nwolo or any of his associated companies
That there are several court orders In favor of Ned Nwoko with respect to the subject matter.
That the University project is gradually evolving as conceived.
You would have discovered a treasure trove of factual information contrary to the malicious and deliberate falsehood you have been publishing.
Based on the foregoing it is obvious that you deliberately and recklessly misrepresented the status of Prince Chukwunonso Nwoko to add vitriol and sensationalize your false publication to gain prominent and wide readership in order to sully our client’s reputation and standing in society.
Our client is a well-respected person in Idumuje-Ugboko, Aniocha North Local Government Area, Delta State, and everywhere both within and outside the shores of this country. He was a member of the Federal House of Representatives, a senatorial aspirant, a multiple Honorary doctorate awardee, an astute politician, an international lawyer, a business mogul, and a Philanthropist.
He is a social crusader who has the interest of his people at heart and always attract the developmental project to his people. Our client is renowned worldwide for leading the crusade and fight to eradicate malaria. And as such he has a substantial social media presence and following.
The publications you made were read by the public within and outside Nigeria and it has cost our client his reputation as well- meaning Nigerians are beginning to look at our client with contempt and disdain and he is being ridiculed and openly embarrassed as a land grabber and extortionist.
His involvement in proposed businesses and several other activities are met with sudden cold shoulder and silent rebuff since after your false and malicious publication. They believed your false story and think our client is a dishonest person.
Your repetition of these falsehoods and garnishing the same with new additions on each occasion betrays a deliberate baiting of our client to a reaction and response.
We therefore formally make the following demands fro you;
a, That you publish in two national newspapers as well as in your online News Media statement retracting the Libelous Publications of 14th August 2020 and 15th December 2021 respectively with an unreserved apology.
That the sum of #10,000,000,000 (Ten Billion Naira) only be paid to our clients’ compensation for the malicious, false and disparaging publications.
This letter should also be taken as a pre-action notice to you peradventure you choose not heed to our Client’s demands”.
The Untold Story Of Degeneration Of Osun APC Crisis By Aladelola Adisa
The crisis rocking the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the State of Osun might not have festered to date if fairness, unity and collective purpose wasn’t jettisoned by the current administration in the State, investigations have revealed.
Due to controversies surrounding the emergence and eventual assumption of office of Governor Oyetola, efforts were not spared to unite members of the APC political family in Osun.
Findings revealed that rather than the Governor and his loyalists strengthening and rejuvenating the party for the consolidation of progressive legacies in the state, it began an unprecedented politics of segregation and exclusivity against members of the party that brought him to power in 2018.
A source who is close to the two camps told journalists that party members who wanted to ensure that the crisis did not degenerate, at its earlier stage, formed The Osun Progressives (TOP), a caucus of the party in a bid to right the wrongs of the factional party chairman, Gboyega Famodun and by extension, the Governor’s camp.
A top party chieftain in the state who prayed not to be named because of the height of the crisis said Governor Oyetola’s strong position not to associate with anyone who believed in his predecessor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola’s administration was the first in the series of strokes he used to further divide the party.
The party leader explained further: “Since the creation of Osun in August 27, 1991, Osun has been democratically governed with Osun West Senatorial District taking the first shot but ruling for just less than 24 months; Osun East Senatorial District ruling for eight years; Osun Central Senatorial District where Governor Oyetola hails from would have ruled for 15 and half years by the end of his tenure.
With three Governors: Chief Bisi Akande, four years; Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, seven and half years; and Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola who would have spent four years at the end of his first term by 2022 being from the same Ifelodun/Boripe/Odo-Otin Federal Constituency as Oyinlola.
“In 2018, the agitation for the Osun West Senatorial District to produce the next Governor was fierce and huge. It was so fierce that all party leaders, starting from the elders, Agba Osun caucus of APC, majority of the State Executive Council, and virtually all organs of the party were hell-bent on “WEST LOKAN AGENDA.
“In spite of this clamour, the then Chief of Staff, Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola, was produced as the APC candidate for the State Gubernatorial Election.
“That decision alone fragmented the party such that a section of the party decamped to the ADP, costing APC at least 49,000 votes in the 2018 election. Eventually, the election was declared Inconclusive and a Rerun was ordered, with Alhaji Oyetola eventually winning with a slim margin.
“Although, many factors were responsible for the declaration of the election being Inconclusive, among which was the decamping of aggrieved section of APC members to the ADP – costing APC over 49,000 votes, the unpopularity of the APC candidate as well as the general clamour for OSUN WEST DISTRICT to field the next Governor were the driving factors for APC’s unusually slim victory in the 2018 guber elections”.
Speaking further, and digging deeper into the unpopularity of the candidate, the source posited, “If we compare the results of Alhaji Isiaka Gboyega Oyetola in his home local governments and that of his closest rival, the PDP candidate in his home local governments, we will discover the huge difference of 21,525 votes in favour of the PDP candidate. This is significant, considering the fact that, PDP could only lead APC after the first ballot by only 353 votes.
“Instead of considering the above factors as the main factors responsible for the declaration of the election Inconclusive, Governor Oyetola, from the inception of his administration embarked on a campaign of calumny and politics of division within the party. Under the Oyetola administration, whoever is perceived to be associated with or harbour any interest in the legacy of immediate past administration or commitment to his predecessor is alienated from the party and government regardless of their contribution to the success of the party.”
Another albatross, the APC chieftain remarked hanging on the neck of Oyetola and his IleriOluwa camp, was the reversal of the major policies of the Aregbesola administration spitefully. They noted that since the start of his administration, the Governor had publicly shown his disdain for the Minister which Ogbeni was aware of but kept mum in the spirit of party cohesion and political maturity.
“For example, when the Muslim Community in Osun was planning to honour Ogbeni with the title of WAZIRI’L MUMINEEN of the State of Osun, the Governor and his team bluntly showed disdain for the event. Despite the fact that Governor Oyetola was the one that picked the date for the programme, he directed that major functionaries of his government should not attend the programme, while also travelling out of the country himself. The only Local Government Chairman who took active role in the programme, Hon Akeem Olaoye, then Chairman of Osogbo South LCDA was suspended from office for six months. Till today, the unbridled castigation of APC Party stalwarts by members of Oyetola’s administration is the order the day.”
He said while all these were going on, some concerned members of the party approached the Governor to have a rethink about his actions and inactions against APC stalwarts including the former Governor, but the Governor did not yield.
The APC leader noted, “The issues were brought to the attention of Baba Bisi Akande, the former Governor of Osun, for resolutions, though this effort did not produce a decisive resolution. Thereafter, in December 2020, Asiwaju intervened at a meeting held at the Ila Orangun residence of Baba Bisi Akande, with Baba Akande, Governor Oyetola and Ogbeni in attendance where resolutions were agreed. However, the resolutions taken at that meeting were jettisoned and the leaders have not since then raised a finger.
“When there was no solution in sight, genuine party leaders who love the party and majority of people who suffered before we could restore the progressive party back to power in Osun 12 years ago, came together to form The Osun Progressives (TOP), in order to reorganize the party for future elections.
“Immediately The Osun Progressives (TOP) was formed, the Government started castigating leaders of the group and its members. Though this attack has continued unabated, however on a daily basis, members of TOP have kept increasing.
“Immediately the timetable for Ward Congress was released by the National Secretariat of the APC, the leadership of TOP announced to the whole world that they were ready for the Congress but the Governor’s group, said they were not ready for a Congress rather they settled for Consensus. While TOP went for real Congress, the Governor’s group went for a dubious ‘CONSENSUS’.
“The Governor used his position as a member of the Caretaker Extraordinary and Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) of the APC with the support of Senator Iyiola Omisore, to influence the Chairman of the Osun Convention Planning Committee, Hon. Elegbeleye to declare the Governor’s group consensus list as duly elected ward Executives; TOP then petitioned the National Secretariat in the form of an Appeal and eventually the Appeal Committee came, they were equally compromised by the Governor, using his influence as a member of CECPC. But one significant thing about the Appeal was during its sitting, known thugs from the Governor’s group came to disrupt the proceedings.
“However, seven leaders of TOP were arraigned before the Magistrate Court instead of arresting and prosecuting thugs. The case was eventually dismissed.
As the crisis continued, especially in relation to the party Congress, numerous party leaders have intervened without any clear resolution in sight.
“On January 8, 2022, the APC National Reconciliation Committee arrives Osun, met with Governor Oyetola’s APC factions, who urged the National Reconciliation Committee to disregard the petitions forwarded to it by TOP.”
While expressing optimism for an end in sight to the crisis, the party chieftain called for a genuine, equitable and fair reconciliation as the chieftain posited, “if with a united party in 2018, the current Governor barely won the election, how will the party perform with a divided house as we approach the coming Guber election”.
FCT Minister, Muhammad Bello Recovers From COVID-19
Minister of the Federal Capital Territory FCT, Malam Muhammad Bello, has recovered from COVID-19.
He made this known in a Facebook post on Tuesday.
The minister had on December 31, 2021, announced that he tested positive for COVID-19.
While announcing his new status, the minister urged Nigerians to get vaccinated.
He said, “Best regards to all. Pleased to report that after taking my prescribed course of COVID-19 medication, I feel very well and great. The doctors have confirmed that I am now free of the virus and it is okay for me to resume all official activities.
“I wish to convey my sincere appreciation to all those who showed great concern for my health status, through various channels of communication.
“I also wish to commend the FCTA Medical team for their commitment and dedication to duty. All COVID-19 patients in the FCT are truly thankful to you.
“Let me use this opportunity to further reiterate that COVID-19 is very much around. I therefore once more, I appeal to residents to get themselves vaccinated. Doing so could save their lives.”
Court Adjourns Nnamdi Kanu’s Trial
The Federal High Court has adjourned the trial of the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu.
Crystal News reports that Nnamdi Kanu’s trial resumed today, Tuesday, January 18, 2022, at the Federal High Court in Abuja.
Barely 24 hours to Kanu’s trial, the Buhari-led government issued fresh charges agains the IPOB leader.
However, Kanu declined to take his plea in the 15-count terrorism charges instituted against him by the Federal Government.
He accused the government of ambushing him with the fresh charges served on him late Monday.
Kanu, through his lead counsel, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), alleged that the government has breached the principle of fair hearing with the way and manner the new charge was brought to them.
At the resumed trial, Ozekhome complained that the fresh charge was the sixth in the series adding that his client cannot proceed to take a plea in the charges he has not studied to prepare for defence as required by law.
“My Lord, as I am talking now, Kanu does not know the charge yet. He is just interacting with me. He cannot be made to take a plea to charges he has not seen.
“The principle of fair hearing is just being violated by the Federal Government. The frail-looking Kanu standing in the dock there has not been allowed to access his family as directed by this honourable court,” he said.
In addition, Ozekhome claimed that the proof of evidence was not legible enough for their understanding of the fresh charges.
“I went to DSS to see him and I was almost stripped naked before I could see him.
“We pray that the arraignment is adjourned till tomorrow to enable his lawyers to study the new charge along with him in the interest of justice,” he added.
The request for adjournment was not opposed by Mr Shuaib Labaran who stood for the Federal Government, prompting Justice Binta Nyako to fix tomorrow for the arraignment.
The judge ordered that Kanu and his lawyers be allowed to have an interface in the courtroom before taking him to DSS custody.
Earlier, Kanu had, through his lawyer, complained of poor feeding, clothing, and denial to practice the religion of his choice.
Justice Nyako in response reminded him that the detention facility is not a five-star hotel but however ordered that Kanu be allowed to come to court tomorrow in new clothes.
The judge declined the request that a foreign lawyer, Mr Bruce Fein, be allowed into the courtroom to observe the trial adding that the request would be granted upon a written application and approval by the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court.
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