A few weeks after the Transport Minister threatened to sue the former Minister of Aviation for defamation of character, the tide has now turned to face him.
A few weeks after the Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi threatened to sue former Aviation Minister and an avowed critic of the present regime, Femi Fani-Kayode (FFK), for defamation of character, FFK has also countersued Amaechi.
Amaechi had, through his lawyer, Prince Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), written to Fani-Kayode and Lere Olayinka, Governor Ayodele Fayose's media aide, giving them a seven-day ultimatum to publicly apologise to him over their remarks on the recovered $43 million in one of the flats at the Osborne Towers in Ikoyi, Lagos.
In the letter, Fani-Kayode was asked to pay the sum of N500 million 'as compensation for the malicious and defamatory claim' while Olayinka was asked to apologize in five national dailies and pay the sum of N750 million 'as compensation for the malicious and defamatory claim' on his Twitter handle.
However, FFK has also sued Amaechi following statements accredited to him during an interview on Channels TV on April 27, 2017.
Fani-Kayode's grouse with Amaechi was that the former Rivers State Governor had mentioned in the interview that he ran away with the sum of N2 billion meant for the repair of the Port Harcourt Airport in 2007 when he was the Minister of Aviation.
In a letter from his lawyers on Monday, May 1, 2017, Fani-Kayode has also demanded an apology on the same Channels TV and two other national dailies as well as N5 billion as damages.
Part of the letter reads:
“For malicious and malevolent reasons, you however elected to misrepresent our Client in the public glare, by deliberating infusing false, dishonest and untrue comments about him into the minds of right thinking members of the society.
More worrisome is the fact that you were conscious of this falsehood, in consequence of which you systematically and intentionally failed to admit yourself to caution, but resolved to pollute the media stream for an unsuspecting person to drink of this fabrication, which was actuated by bad faith, reprisal, and dishonorable intentions.
Without mincing words, you have disparaged our Client by your remarks, in the eyes of right-thinking members of the society; and these remarks have been found to be false and slanderous of him. Our brief is to intimate you of this grievances character breach on the person of our Client and his hard earned reputation.
Our Client has not only suffered the loss of good will but has now been subjected to opprobrium by his fans, followers and business associates.
Being conscious of his rights, both in law and equity, our Client is minded to afford you an opportunity to undo the evil you have done, by retracting the said insalubrious remarks on the same Channels TV and apologizing to him, both on Channels TV and two other National Dailies.
You are also advised to enter into negotiations with us for the sum of Five Billion Naira, being a token amount for penitence, as opposed to the magnitude of infraction caused to our Client’s nobility.
It is imperative to bear in mind that you have 14 days from receipt of this letter to comply with the highlighted mitigating measures, the failure of which will leave our Client with no preferred alternative than to seek redress in Court, the said redress which shall also include a claim that you are unfit to continue to hold the office of Minister of Transportation, because your defamatory and slanderous remarks were borne out of an inept appreciation of basic workings and operations of the Aviation Sector.”
Fani-Kayode believes Amaechi maligned his image and dented his reputation by making the comments and insisting on repeating same even after the moderator cautioned him on the use of words on the program.
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