30th March, 2017
The Sun Newspapers,
The Sun Publishing Limited,
2, Coscharis Street,
Off Happy Home Avenue,
Kirikiri Industrial Layout,
DEMAND FOR UNRESERVED APOLOGY, RETRACTION AND FIVE BILLION NAIRA COMPENSATION OVER DEFAMATION OF CHARACTER OF IBRAHIM MUSTAFA MAGU (OUR CLIENT)
We act as Solicitors to IBRAHIM MUSTAFA MAGU Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Idiagbon House, Wuse, Abuja (hereinafter called “Our Client”) on whose firm instructions we write you this letter.
We are fully briefed by our client that you published a front page story titled: “Magu under Fresh Probe over two Abuja Mansions” dated 25th March, 2017 which was widely circulated in Nigeria including through online publication wherein you willfully and maliciously made false, destructive, and defamatory statements concerning our client.
Part of the offensive publication written by Messrs Fred Itua, James Ojo and Lawrene Enyoghasu reads:
‘This is certainly not the best of times for the embattled Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC as powerful forces, within and outside of government, not disposed to his continued stay in office have intensified efforts to break down his defence lines…One of such moves, Saturday Sun learnt, is an ongoing discreet investigation into the true ownership of two mansions on different streets in highbrow Maitama area of Abuja. The buildings are allegedly linked to his wife. A highly placed source told Saturday Sun that the houses being investigated are located in Danube Street, Maitama and Missouri Street, off Colorado Close, Ministers Hill, also in Maitama. The two properties were said to have been bought last year.
Saturday Sun could not confirm the veracity of the claims being investigated. It was also not clear whether it was the Department of State Services, DSS that was carrying out the probe or a team of private investigators hired by forces opposed to Magu. It is however, an open secret that the DSS had launched series of clandestine investigations into Magu’s activities in a bid to provide the Senate, a security report on him.
The source who declined to provide further details about the probe was however, certain that the investigation may lead to Magu’s arrest, a claim that suggests an official footprint. “The fresh probe of Magu’s alleged hidden assets was largely responsible for the latest DSS letter to the Senate reaffirming its earlier indictment that the EFCC boss lacks integrity”, the source added. The EFCC boss has been having running battles with powerful forces opposed to his leadership of the foremost anti-graft agency, especially the DSS, which twice indicted him for failure to pass integrity test in two security reports. The Senate also had on two occasions rejected his nomination as the substantive Chairman of the Commission…”
The above statements which you actively and maliciously publicized to millions of individuals worldwide including through online publication of your national newspaper are utterly false and without merit, and they are defamation per se.
Please note that the said publication portrayed our client to the general public as:
(i) a man who must not be entrusted with responsibilities
(ii) a man of dubious character
(iv) lacking in integrity and ethical values
We state that, the said libelous imputations and statements against our client are unfounded in fact and are willfully malicious and contrived to inflict damage on the reputation, goodwill and credit of our client and expose him to opprobrium in the eyes of the public.
Please note that by your malicious publication against our client, you left no one in doubt about your deliberate, mischievous and overzealous intent and mission to unjustly scandalize our client.
Our client is fully convinced that the offensive publication was orchestrated deliberately to blackmail our client and portrayed him as grossly unfit to occupy either the office of Acting or Substantive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) or any other public office where integrity is required.
Please note that these imputations are not only erroneous but scandalous and libelous in every material particular.
In specific terms, our client does not own any such two Abuja Mansions either in Abuja or in any part of the country as erroneously portrayed and your correspondents had no scintilla of proof/evidence of ownership of such property at all.
Please further note that since the publication of the offensive statements against our client, many well-meaning people have inundated our client including close confidants with their expressions of shocks, dismay and displeasures. Yet, the minds of others have been poisoned against our Client having been misled with predetermined misinformation from you.
TAKE NOTICE that you:
1. Immediately cease and desist your unlawful defamation of our client’s name …….whether the statements are made by you or third party.
2. Issue a public apology or retraction within seven (7) days.
3. Provide our client with prompt written assurance within seven (7) days, that you will cease and desist from further defamation of our client’s character and reputation.
4. Pay the sum of N5,000,000.000.00 (Five Billion Naira) compensation to our client for the unquantifiable damage done to our client’s name, integrity and reputation.
TAKE FURTHER NOTICE that this letter constitutes a demand for immediate retraction in writing of these false libelous statements.
Please note that the retraction should be in the front page of your NEWSPAPER with such prominence that would constitute sufficient notice of rebuttal to the whole world.
This letter puts you on notice that should you refuse to comply with our client’s demands within Seven (7) days next, we would have no alternative than to perfect our client’s instructions by seeking all available legal remedies including monetary damages, injunctive reliefs, and an order that you pay necessary costs including solicitor’s fees for your defamation.
Wahab Shittu LL.B, B.L, LL.M, MPIA