Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has threatened legal action if a member of the Northern Elders Forum, Paul Unongo, who accused him of financing Miyetti Allah, does not retract the statement within seven days.
Added to Atiku’s condition for shelving legal redress was that the retraction be published in all national newspapers and N200 billion paid to him as damages within 30 days.
Unongo had reportedly told a national newspaper that he had a conversation with Atiku and knew the Waziri Adamawa was Miyetti Allah’s chief financier.
A splinter group of Miyetti Allah has been accused of orchestrating a massacre in Benue State between December 2017 and January 2018.
Atiku accused the former minister of character assassination.
Atiku, in a letter through his lawyer Mahmud Magaji SAN, said no such conversation occurred and Unongo had severely damaged his reputation through the “baseless” statement.
The letter read in part: “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 N 200bn, not later than 30 days from the receipt of this letter, inclusive of the date of receipt.
“Take further notice that should you 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.”
Source: The Herald