From Uche Nnorom, Makurdi
Governor Samuel Ortom has threatened to institute a N10billion suit against the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole for alleged defamation/libelous publication against his person as punitive, general, exemplary and aggravated damages.
In a letter to the APC chairman through his lawyers, S.E Irabor and associates dated August 6th 2018 which was made available to Peoples Daily, the Governor referred to various interviews and media briefings wherein Comrade Oshiomhole allegedly defamed, maligned and demeaned his personality.
One of such instances as contained in the letter read, “Recall that on Friday, July 27th, 2018, you did cause a sponsored press conference to be aired on multiple television and radio stations which was also widely circulated in the print and social media.
“In the said sponsored press conference which was entirely centered on the person of Governor Samuel Ortom, you made very astonishing, unsubstantiated and wide allegations against our client relating to the issue of allocation and payment of salaries, security votes expenditure and the insecurity in Benue State.
“It is the aggregate of your allegations that our client has confessed to sharing Benue State money with party leaders and that despite collection of bail out and Paris Club refund monies, “Gov. Ortom has not and is not paying salaries… the vicious circle of poverty in Benue State has been deepened under Gov. Ortom”.
“By deducible analysis, it is also your allegation that our client is responsible for the killings in Benue State specifically the unfortunate killing of 2 Catholic priests and their parishioners in Mbalom community which sad event occurred on the morning of 24th April, 2018.
“It is noteworthy that in the entire web of false accusations that you weaved against our client, you could not bring yourself to mention a single Benue person or any other person for that matter from whom you sourced your false narratives. For the records, the principles of law grounding liability for defamation and libel do not exculpate tale bearers from liability for the reason that the tales they bear are not original to them.
“There is also no gainsaying the fact that the false allegations you have leveled against our client are weighty and same would have demanded a greater degree of circumspection, sobriety and deep reflection from you before rushing to the public domain.
“For one who is purportedly schooled, it is taken for granted that you are fully abreast of the legal obligation cum implication that he who asserts has a corresponding burden to prove. Regrettably, in your case you spoke not to records but to base political sentiments.
“Therefore, the only inference to draw is that your unproven allegation was informed by a dangerously cultivated, albeit unwarranted malice against our client. In the circumstance, we have our client’s instruction to place before you the following demands:
“A letter of retraction/apology addressed to our client in respect of the false, defamatory and libelous statement made against him in the sponsored press conference herein complained of.
“That the said retraction/apology be simultaneously published in the Sunday edition of 10 National Dailies circulating within Benue State as well as a paid advertorial to the same effect on the prime time beats of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Channels Tv, TVC News, African Independent Television (AIT), Independent Television (ITV) Benin, Radio Nigeria, Radio Benue and Harvest FM, Makurdi.
“An undertaking not to indulge in any such false publication against our client in future.
“We have our client’s express instruction that the terms above be met within 7 days of receipt of this letter. It is the further instruction of our client that in the event of any failure, refusal or neglect to conform to the terms set out above, he would be left with no option than to commence appropriate legal proceedings against you in the law Court”, Ortom threatened.