One-time Minister of Aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, has been given seven days to pay N500 million and apologise for his Twitter post alleging linking Transport Minister Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi to the over N13 billion recently found by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Osborne Towers, Ikoyi Lagos.
Similarly, Lere Olayinka, Media Aide to Ekiti State Governor Ayodele Fayose, has been given a week to apologise and pay N750 million for his Twitter and Facebook posts alleging that Amaechi is the owner of the money and that the apartment from which it was recovered belongs to the former governor’s girlfriend.
The orders were contained in separate letters dated April 14, 2017 written to both men by counsel to Amaechi, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN).
The letter to Fani-Kayode says: “The story as uploaded by you is to your knowledge, blatantly false, malicious and aimed at impeaching the credit of our client, a two-time Speaker of Rivers State House of Assembly, two-time Governor of Rivers State and current Minister of the Federation.
“Our client neither owns the house where the cash was found nor the cash and your story and claim are unfounded. As a matter of fact, our client does not own any house in Lagos State, talk more of keeping cash in one and your story is preposterous.
“We observe that as a lawyer, you ought to know that anyone who desires to know who owns any property, especially in a world-class land documentation system like Lagos State, should avail himself of the facilities by conducting a diligent search in the land registry.
“You intentionally failed to do so as to achieve your malicious aim. For the umpteenth time, let it be known that out client, Rotimi Amaechi has no house anywhere in Lagos.
“We have our client’s mandate to state to you unequivocally that the said twitter publication constitutes libel, and is defamatory of him as the claim is aimed at impugning our client’s character and credits in the eyes of right thinking Nigerians and foreigners. As a matter of fact, the media has been awash with the news since you made your claim.
“In view of the foregoing and in the spirit of a second chance, we have our client’s instruction to give you an ultimatum of seven days from the receipt of this letter to issue an apology in five national dailies and on your twitter handle.
“Your apology, which should be heartfelt, must be a total withdrawal of your claim and its imputation must also contain an expression of deep regret for this unwarranted attack and contain a complete retraction of the false statement of yours.
“We also demand from you a sum of N500 million as compensation for the malicious and defamatory claim. Please note that the demand may increase with time if you fail to address the situation as expected. Failure to do any of these would be met with stiff legal actions which your defamatory act deserves.”
The letter to Olayinka reads in part: “Your baseless assertion that our client bought a flat for one Mo Abudu, whom you also claim to be his girlfriend raises the assertion that our client is adulterous and unfaithful to his marital vows. This is disparaging of our client’s nobility and puts into doubt his character as a good family man.
“Let it be known again that our client Rotimi Amaechi has no girlfriend whatsoever and your story has just been made to tarnish our client’s image and name which he has worked assiduously to build all his life…”
•Photo shows Transport Minister Amaechi.