The Governor of Akwa Ibom state, Mr Udom Emmanuel appears ready to sue one of the All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftains in Akwa Ibom state, and a 2019 House of Representatives aspirant for Ikono/Ini Federal constituency, Barr Imo Akpan, for alleged defamation of character.
The state chief executive gave this indication in a two-page letter written to Imo Akpan by his Lagos based Lawyers, Barristers Charles Mekwunye and Desire Erugoh, Principal Partner and Associate Counsel of Charles Mekwunye & Co, respectively.
The letter which is dated, “21st February, 2018” and titled; “Re: “Open Letter To The Board Chairman And Shareholders Of Julius Berger Plc By The Concerned Akwa Ibom Elders Forum”, and exclusively obtained by Radar newspaper, read; “We are Solicitors to the Executive Governor of Akwa Ibom State Mr. Udom Emmanuel, (hereinafter referred to as “our client”) on whose behalf and instruction we write as follows:
“Our client’s attention has been drawn to the false, malicious, repulsive, libelous and defamatory publication made by you in the Nation Newspaper of 4th December, 2017 in Vol. 12 No. 4147 as a full-page advertorial.
“We note with dismay that your libelous publication was made with the sole purpose of defaming, embarrassing and/or disparaging our client’s political image as an accomplished Chartered Accountant who has brought his hard earned experience into governance and within the very short space of his leadership, has transformed Akwa Ibom State for the better, in every and all parameters.
“It is quite alarming that you condescended so low in your reckless and disdainful fabrication and falsification of facts published in the Nation Newspaper, which false publication as you intended, has gone viral and have been republished in various news media and social/electronic media platforms with the sole intent of causing disaffection and odium to the person of His Excellency Mr. Udom Emmanuel, the Executive Governor of Akwa Ibom State and to tarnish his political and public image.
“We find it insidious and spiteful of you to falsely allege that our client has been dishonest in his dealings as the Executive Governor of Akwa Ibom State and has been meddling with the State’s resources in a gruesome manner, which allegation is unfounded, baseless, completely false and without justification.
“That these mendacious assertions were maliciously made by you in bad faith and is calculated as a ploy to defame and/or degrade our client’s reputation and goodwill in the eyes of Akwa Ibom indigenes and the general public.
“Be informed that your false, libelous and defamatory publication has caused severe damage to our client’s reputation, goodwill, character, political image and have greatly resulted in a wrong perception of our client as dishonest, corrupt, unreliable and untrustworthy.
“We therefore, on our client’s behalf, demand the following from you: (a) A full retraction of the false publication authored by you and published in the Nation Newspaper, and all other news media and various social/electronic media platforms with national readership including the Guardian, the Punch and the Vanguard within 14 days from the date of this letter;
“(b) An unreserved Letter of Apology showing adequate contrition and penitence published in the Newspapers mentioned in (a) above and on their various social/electronic media platforms;
“(c) Take down all the online publications including all social media publications of your said defamatory story;
“(d) The sum of N1,000,000,000.00 (One Billion Naira only) as pecuniary compensation for the grave injury on our client caused by your false, malicious and defamatory publication in the Nation Newspaper of 4th December, 2017 in Vol. 12 No. 4147.
“TAKE NOTICE that should you neglect and/or fail and/or refuse to meet our demands herein within 21 days from the date of this letter, we will have no other option but to perfect our client’s instructions by commencing legal action against you in a court of law without further resource to you. We hope you act wisely,” the letter asserted.
But, when Radar Newspaper contacted Mr Imo Akpan for reaction on the matter, he simply reinstated his position, saying that he stood firmly by his publication as contained in the said Nation Newspaper, expressing his readiness to meet Governor Udom Emmanuel with his evidence in the court of law.
“I have received the letter from the lawyers to His Excellency and I have forwarded same to my solicitors to do the needful.
“In the meantime, I stand by my claims as contained in the allegedly offending publication and I am certain that the facts and truth will be laid bare through an adjudication process in the interest of the general public particularly Akwa Ibom people,” Barr Imo E. Akpan stated.
It would be recalled that a group under the auspices of Concerned Akwa Ibom Elders Forum had written an open letter to the Board Chairman and Shareholders of Julius Berger Plc, titled; “How Much Does Akwa Ibom State Government Owe Julius Berger?” And the letter which was signed for the group by Barr Imoh Akpan, as Attorney-at-Law and Social Activist; and co-signed by Dr. Emaeyak Ukpong, as Businessman, Environmentalist, former Member, Federal House of Representatives & Former ASUU Chairman, University of Uyo; was published on Page 12 of The Nation Newspaper of Monday, December 4, 2017.