Former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke, has written Aljazeera over the broadcast of a video report, which maliciously imputed that she stole government money and built a house at Asokoro, Abuja, worth $18million.
The video report also imputed that the former Minister furnished the said building, which Aljazeera authoritatively said houses a bullet-proof gym, with more than $2m.
But in a letter sent to Al-jazeera at its Doha headquarters, written by her counsel, Chike Amobi of Chike Amobi and Co., dated June 14, 2016, a copy of which was made available to The UNION in Lagos, the former Minister denied ownership of the said property.
She said a simple diligent search would have established actual owner of the said property wrongly ascribed to her by Aljazeera.
She gave the media firm 7-days to broadcast retraction of the said malicious publication, and also forward a video of same to her counsel, failure of which litigation would be opened for Aljazeera to prove its assertions.
According to her counsel, the letter will be the only pre-litigation notice to Aljazeera.
The letter reads:
The Chief Executive Officer
P. O. Box 23127
Dear Sir or Madam:
REQUEST FOR IMMEDIATE RETRACTION OF FALSE AND DEFAMATORY BROADCAST ABOUT OUR CLIENT.
Our Client: Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, CON
We are counsel to Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, CON, the immediate past Honorable Minister of Petroleum Resources of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, at whose express instructions we are sending this correspondence to you.
Our attention has been drawn to a recent broadcast by your station in which you maliciously and intentionally attributed ownership of an $18 million house in the Asokoro District of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Nigeria to our client. As you are well aware, that publication is false and we believe you either had actual knowledge of the falsity thereof, or in exercise of reasonable prudence would have discovered it to be false. Truth is, our client neither owns nor claims any ownership interest in the said property. Neither did she steal any money to facilitate its purchase. Furthermore, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the governmental agency statutorily charged with the duty of investigating and prosecuting financial crimes, has never attributed ownership of this property to our client. In fact, a cursory examination of readily available public records from the appropriate Nigerian authorities would have revealed to you the true owners of the property. Consequently, we believe that your intentional failure to conduct a simple investigation to verify the veracity of your statements was a deliberately contrived ploy to improve your fledgling television ratings by mischievously publishing false and misleading information about our client as a means of achieving sensational news broadcasts. This conduct, as you probably intended, has caused and continues to cause great and irreparable damage to our client’s reputation, a conduct you know is repugnant to well established tenets of decent and professional journalism.
Consequently, request is hereby made that you either publish or cause to published an immediate retraction of this false and libelous publication about our client. We further request that the said retraction be published within seven (7) days of your receipt of this correspondence in the same manner and medium in which the false information was broadcast. You are hereby requested to forward an electronic copy of the said retraction to my attention using my email address.
Please be advised that this shall be our only pre-litigation communication with you as we do not intend to engage in any unnecessary pre-litigation banter with your office. If we do not receive your complete and unequivocal retraction of this false broadcast within the indicated period, we will have no alternative but to conclude that the publication was deliberately calculated by you to tarnish and damage our client’s reputation. In that event, we will seek redress.
We hope you will govern your conduct accordingly to obviate the necessity of judicial intervention.
CHIKE AMOBI & CO
Dr. Chike Amobi