Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, has on threatened to commence legal action against SaharaReporters News over a series of alleged criminal defamatory materials published against his person.
The minister, who accused the online news site of deliberately maligning him in three consecutive publications, has slammed ‘a seven-day ultimatum against the medium to retract all the libellous and criminally defamatory publications against him,’ or face the consequences.
According to the AGF, the publications of the online news site has caused great injury to his character and lowered his reputation in the eyes of the public.
In a statement made available to journalists through his media aide, Dr Umar Gwandu, the minister vowed to take legal action against SaharaReporters on account of defamatory publications made against him.
Malami said: ‘The consequence of the criminal defamation published by SaharaReporters, has subjected him to considerable distress, psychological trauma, anxiety and greatly injured his character and reputation, which is capable of lowering his estimation in the eyes of right-thinking persons in society.
‘He said series of prejudicial articles/materials were published by SaharaReporters Inc. which were adverse against him, disparaged his reputation via its online internet platform and broadcast on the
internet via Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and other similar Social Media platforms where the same could be viewed and assessed by the whole world and further shared and/or disseminated virally without restraint.’
He noted particularly that on July 10, 11 and 12, 2020, SaharaReporters, in what appears like a coordinated attack, viciously wrote and maliciously published libellous and criminally defamatory
articles against his person.
Malami stressed that the publications were untrue, fabricated or at best a figment of the imagination of SaharaReporters and are unsupported howsoever.
He said since July 10, 2020, when the defamatory articles were first published, he has been receiving several telephone calls and visits from well-meaning Nigerians, his friends, well-wishers as well as associates from all over the world including those he has dealt with/still dealing with in his Official Capacity as Nigeria’s Chief Law Officer, many of whom have expressed serious concerns over the publication.
He said on the premise of the foregoing and given that the publication of malicious libel and criminal defamation published against him by SaharaReporters was with a view to disparage him in the eyes of right-thinking persons, contrary to Nigerian Criminal and Penal Laws and a gross violation of our his Right to Dignity of Human Person as guaranteed under the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (As amended).
‘Malami gave the medium a -7 day ultimatum to retract all the libellous and criminally defamatory publications against him and issue a public apology to be published on the platform and on the front pages of three national newspapers for three consecutive days.
‘A senior lawyer has already been briefed to deal with the matter as may be appropriate, in the event of failure to retract the publication in question and offer the requested apology within the stipulated
time,’ the statement added.