Counsel to former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, has written Vanguard Newspapers over a publication on its online version of June 14, 2016 which contained a publication of a statement purportedly issued by the ex-minister.
The counsel, Dr. Chike Amobi, in a press statement made available to The UNION in Lagos, said the statement published by the online version of Vanguard, and purported to have been issued by the former minister, was maliciously fabricated and false.
According the Amobi, the false statement was sequel to another maliciously false broadcast by Aljazeera purporting that the former minister was owner of a property, which value Aljazeera put at $18million, and now subject to criminal investigation.
Stating in the press statement that the said public statement purported to have been issued by Mrs. Allison-Madueke, was the product of the imagination of the publishers, Amobi said “we wish to make it categorically clear that there is neither a scintilla nor a modicum of truth to the information being mischievously peddled by Aljazeera TV station. We also wish to state that none of these “reactions” to the Aljazeera broadcast, which are attributed to our client, actually originated from our client.
“Specifically, our client neither owns nor claims any ownership interest in the identified “$18 million house in Asokoro” with its reported “$2 million worth of furnishings” and “bullet proof gym”.
“Furthermore, our client did not “steal” any money to facilitate the procurement of the said property or for any other purpose whatsoever. On the contrary, as Honourable Minister of Petroleum Resources, our client did her utmost best to protect the interests of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“However, in their haste to achieve undeservedly high ratings from publishing sensational stories, the producers of the Aljazeera TV program mischievously neglected to conduct a cursory investigation of readily available property records which would have revealed the names and identities of the true owners of the property.
“Additionally, the purported reaction of our client to the obviously false story wherein she was quoted as saying that even “market women in Bodija market” also own jewelry is manifestly untrue. Anyone who knows or have spent any time with our client would readily attest to the fact that she neither thinks nor speaks in that manner.
“We therefore find it disturbingly worrisome that someone would take the time to publish these seemingly favorable statements and attribute them to our client without seeking and obtaining our client’s consent to, nor imprimatur, on the statements.
“While strongly condemning the irresponsible journalism of Aljazeera for broadcasting these verifiably false statements about our client, our client also wishes to distance herself from these “reactions” ascribed to her by the publishers Vanguard Newspapers which neither originated from her, nor from persons authorized to speak on her behalf. We urge you to kindly disregard these messages as acts of mischief makers.
“We hereby express our client’s profound gratitude for the overwhelming show of support and encouragement she continues to receive from the Nigerian public and request that you please continue to lift her up in your prayers especially during these very challenging times.
“She remains steadfast in her belief that after all the facts of her stewardship as a public servant are examined, it will become clear to all and sundry that her overriding intention during her period of service was to protect the best interest of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, a task she executed to the best of her ability”.