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Published On: Tue, Jul 14th, 2020

AGF threatens lawsuit against Sahara Reporters over publication

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By Vivian Okejeme, Abuja

The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, has vowed to take legal action against Sahara Reporters on account of defamatory publications made against him.
Malami said, the consequence of the criminal defamation published by Sahara Reporters, has subjected him to considerable distress, psychological trauma, anxiety and greatly injured his character and reputation.
According to the AGF, the purported report is capable of lowering his estimation in in the eyes of right-thinking persons in the society.
Malami hinted that series of prejudicial articles/materials were published by Sahara Reporters Inc. which were adverse against him disparaged his reputation via its online internet platform and broadcast on the internet via the Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and other similar Social Media platforms where same could be viewed and assessed by the whole world and further shared and/or disseminated virally without restraint.
In a statement signed by the Media Aid to the office of the AGF, Dr Umar Jibrilu Gwandu, Malami noted particularly that on the 10th, 11th and 12th of July 2020, Sahara Reporters, in what appears like a coordinated attack, viciously wrote and maliciously published libelous and criminally defamatory articles against his personality.
The Minister said it is pertinent to note that the publications were untrue, fabrication or at best a figment of imagination of Sahara Reporters and are unsupported howsoever.
He said since the 10th of July 2020 when the defamatory articles was first published, he has been receiving several telephone calls and visits from well-meaning Nigerians, his friends, well-wishers and associates from all over the world including those he has dealt with/still dealing with in his Official Capacity as Nigeria’s Chief Law Officer, many of whom have expressed serious concerns over the publication.
Furtherance to the foregoing, Malami maintained that the publication of malicious libel and criminal defamation published against him by Sahara Reporters was with a view to disparage him in the eyes of right thinking persons.
He therefore, posited that the action contravenes Nigerian Criminal and Penal Laws and a gross violation of his Right to Dignity of Human Person as guaranteed under the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (As amended).
Consequently, Malami gave the medium a -7 day ultimatum to retract all the libelous and criminally defamatory publications against him, and issue a public apology to be published on the platform and on the front pages of three national newspapers for three consecutive days.
The statement dated, 13th July, also hinted that a Senior Lawyer has already been briefed to deal with the matter as may be appropriate, in the event of failure to retract the publication in question and offer the requested apology within the stipulated time.

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