Lawyers threaten N500bn suit over report on INEC chair’s reappointment

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 Lawyers to a firm, Activate Technologies Limited,  on Monday, threatened to institute a N500 billion suit to protest against a report linking it to alleged corruption in the reappointment of Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, Chapman, Independent National Electrical Commission (INEC).
Mahmud Magaji, SAN, who is leading the firm’s legal team, gave the hint in a protest letter directed at the management of an online medium, Sahara Reporters, said to have published the report.
Magaji said the report was a fabricated falsehood intended to malign his client’s reputation and defame its character.
He gave the online medium 72 hours  to retract the publication and publish apologies in two national dailies.
The letter, dated Nov. 23 reads: “Our client has informed us that you published on your online platform, various spurious fabrication and malicious falsehoods; all in a veiled attempt to .malign its reputation, thereby defaming its character.
“The falsehoods that you maliciously authored against our client have thus prompted a viral social media circus and the attendant propagation of innuendoes, with particular reference to Sahara Reporters’ online post of the 18th day of November, 2020,” he said.
The lawyer quoted the report as saying:
“According to a top insider, Yakubu paid at least N3bn in bribes to have his tenure as INEC Chairman extended by another five years.
“He paid a princely sum of N2bn to a group led by Senate President Ahmed Lawal and another N1bn to another group.
“These huge funds were deployed and mobilised by a civil servant and director in INEC, who is described as wealthy and in charge of a strategic department.
“The director was also aided by a contractor to the commission, Mohammed Sani Musa, who is presently a serving senator from Niger State responsible for the printing of INEC ballot papers used for elections under a company (Activate Technologies)…..”
Magaji said the above statements were spurious and utterly false, and constitute defamatory remarks against his client calculated at maligning its blemish-free reputation.
“Consequent upon the above, you are hereby given 72 hours, inclusive of the date on this letter, to retract the above statements and tender an unreserved apology to our client.
“Such retraction and apology shall be explicitly published on two national dailies.
“Should you fail, refuse, and/or neglect to retract the said statements and tender an unreserved public apology in the manner prescribed herein, we shall have no choice than to subject you to the rigours of litigation; whereof we shall be claiming the sum of =N=500,000,000,000.00 (five hundred billion naira only); and this we shall do without any further reference to you,” he threatened.
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