Elrufai Sues PDP, Metuh, Thisday for Defamation; Demands N1.5bn as Damages
A former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, has filed a N1.5bn libel suit before an Abuja High Court in Gudu, against the Peoples Democratic Party and its National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Olisa Metuh.
According to el-Rufai, Metuh had in an allegedly defamatory statement which was issued on behalf of the PDP, linked him and the All Progressives Congress to Boko Haram insurgency. el-Rufai also mentioned that Metuh had stated in another publication, that he (el-Rufai) collected N5bn as consultancy fee from the suspended governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Lamido Sanusi.
Metuh was said to have made the claims in separate publications in the March 17 and 23 editions of This Day Newspaper.
El-Rufai, who is also the Deputy National Secretary of APC, in his suit filed on April 2, 2014, joined the newspaper as the third defendant.
The suit was tagged CV/1424/14.
The former minister claimed that the publications had done him irreparable injury and damage to his hard-earned reputation.
He quoted one of the publication as saying, “Specifically PDP cited the instance of an APC chieftain, ostensibly the former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Nasir el-Rufai, who collected N5bn for consultancy fees provided to the central bank and another N1.5bn diverted to APC to enable it open offices across the federation”.
The former minister also quoted the publication of March 23 as being “boldly captioned as, ‘In a daring move, PDP says Buhari, el-Rufai, know more about B’Haram’”.
He claimed that the publications were “in furtherance of the defendants’ campaign of calumny” against him.
His statement of claim read in part,”The plaintiff avers that the publication has done irreparable injury and damage to his hard-earned reputation by portraying him as a corrupt, money laundering, reckless, lawless, greedy and unscrupulous public figure who illegally collected N5bn as consultancy fees.”
He is specifically seeking an order awarding N1bn as general damages against Metuh and PDP.
He is seeking another order awarding additional N500m as general damages jointly and severally against all the three defendants, including This Day newspaper.
He is seeking the award for “the injury, embarrassment and distress suffered by the plaintiff in respect of the loss of reputation and goodwill as a result of the malicious, unwarranted and defamatory utterance against the person of the plaintiff.”
He is also seeking an order declaring that he was “deservingly entitled to a written apology from the defendants, published with the same prominence as the offending publications”.
He also wants the court to give an order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants from further defaming him.
The defendants are by the plaintiff’s writ of summon, “commanded” to within eight days of being served with the writ, enter appearance in the suit.
The matter has been adjourned till June 5 for mention before Justice Abubakar Talba.
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