Atiku Threatens To Sue Northern Elders Forum Leader For Libel, Demands N200B
Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, on Monday, threatened to sue a leader of the Northern Elders Forum and former Minister, Paul Unongo, for accusing him of being a financier of Miyetti Allah, an association of cattle breeders.
In a letter by his lawyer, Mahmud Magaji (SAN), Abubakar is demanding that Unongo retracts “the blatant and malicious falsehood” against him within seven days.
He said Unongo publish the retraction in all national newspapers.
He is also asking for the payment of N200 billion as damages from Unongo within 30 days of receiving the letter.
The letter reads in part: “You made this assertion even when you knew that in fact and in truth you never had any such discussion with our client.
“The above allegations, aside from being frivolous, callous, baseless and unwarranted, are utter falsehood and unjustified.
“Your mischief has gravely defamed our client and painted him in very bad light as a sponsor and instigator of violence across the country, a character you know he does not possess.
“Having given much of his life to the service of his country in various capacities, rising to the enviable position of Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria from 1999-2007, our client has continued to function as an elder statesman and stakeholder in the nation’s polity whose core interests lie in the general welfare and unity of the Nigerian populace devoid of ethnic/religious divides.
“As you very well know, those unwarranted allegations, calling our client the financier of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, an organisation you made out as the perpetrators of the heinous and wanton destruction of lives and property in Benue State in the recent past, is nothing but complete falsehood. Nothing can, indeed, be farther from the truth.
“Take notice that our client takes strong exception to these allegations and considers same as an act of character assassination.
“Hence our instruction to:
“Demand of you and we so demand that you retract your mischievous allegations and tender an unconditional apology to our client, such apology should be published in all the national dailies, not later than seven days from the receipt of this letter, inclusive of the date of receipt; and
“Pay to our client, by way of damages, the sum of N200bn, not later than 30 days from the receipt of this letter, inclusive of the date of receipt.
“Take further notice that should fail, refuse and or neglect to abide by our simple demands, we would have no choice than to subject you to the rigours of litigation and this we shall do without any further reference to you.”
Unongo had in an interview with The PUNCH claimed that Abubakar is a major financier of the cattle rearers association.