The national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Uche Secondus, has made good his threat to sue the minister of information and culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, for including his name on the list of those alleged to have looted public funds in the last administration.
Prince Secondus, who filed a defamation of character suit against the minister at a High Court in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, yesterday, also demanded N1.5 billion as damages.
Secondus also listed the federal government, through attorney general of the federation, as the second defendant in the suit.
LEADERSHIP Weekend recalls that the information minister had mentioned Secondus among those he claimed had looted the nation’s treasury, alleging that the PDP national chairman collected N200 million from the embattled former national security adviser, Col Sambo Dasuki (retd), who is facing trial over the reported misappropriation of $2.1billion meant for arms purchase to fight the Boko Haram insurgency during ghe Dr Goodluck Jonathan administration.
But faulting the claim, Secondus, who said he did not collect a kobo from the former NSA, had written to the minister through his lawyer, Emeka Etiaba, SAN, asking for an immediate removal of his name from the list, payment of N1.5 billion damages and a public apology within 48 hours.
The letter had warned Lai Mohammed that if he failed to meet the demands within two days, he would be charged to court of competent jurisdiction “to ventilate our client’s right under the law and shall further seek the protection of the court against you”.
According to a statement by Secondus’ media aide, Ike Abonyi, the suit was filed at the High Court in Port Harcourt yesterday.
The statement reads in part, “Having failed to meet the demand, Secondus on Friday April 6, 2018, made good his threat and filed a suit at the Port Harcourt, High Court, Rivers State, claiming, among other things, that the court award to him the sum of N1.5billion being damages for humiliation, castigation, vilification, attack on his person and integrity as a result of the publication.
“Secondus, in the suit no. PHC/1013/2018, is also claiming that Lai Mohammed’s publication is defamatory and is asking the court to direct him to retract the said publication and apologise in writing.”
The PPD also wants the court to compel the information minister to “publish the retraction and apology in all the social media, including but not limited to the following newspapers: the Nation, Thisday, The Sun, Guardian and Punch as well as in the following television channels, NTA and Channels Television, among others where the defamatory story was published.
“Secondus is also asking the court for a perpetual injunction restraining the defendant from further publishing defamatory materials against him.”
Joined in the suit are the federal government, through the attorney general of the federation, and Vintage Press Ltd, publishers of the Nation Newspapers.