Atiku threatens to sue northern elders leader for defamation



Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar has threatened to sue Paul Unongo, a leader of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF).

Unongo had accused Atiku financing Miyetti Allah, an association of cattle breeders.

In a letter addressed to Unongo, Mahmud Magaji, counsel to Atiku, said the accusation “has gravely defamed” his client.

He said the former vice-president has served in various capacities and his interests are the welfare of people and uniting the country.

Magaji said Unongo should publish an unconditional apology in all the national newspapers and pay N200 billion as damages.

“You made this assertion even when you knew that in fact and in truth you never had any such discussion with our client,” the letter read.

“The above allegations, aside from being frivolous, callous, baseless and unwarranted, are utter falsehood and unjustified.

“Your mischief has gravely defamed our client and painted him in very bad light as a sponsor and instigator of violence across the country, a character you know he does not possess.

“Having given much of his life to the service of his country in various capacities, rising to the enviable position of Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria from 1999-2007, our client has continued to function as an elder statesman and stakeholder in the nation’s polity whose core interests lie in the general welfare and unity of the Nigerian populace devoid of ethnic/religious divides.

“As you very well know, those unwarranted allegations, calling our client the financier of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, an organisation you made out as the perpetrators of the heinous and wanton destruction of lives and property in Benue State in the recent past, is nothing but complete falsehood.

“Nothing can, indeed, be farther from the truth. Take notice that our client takes strong exception to these allegations and considers same as an act of character assassination.

“Hence our instruction to: Demand of you and we so demand that you retract your mischievous allegations and tender an unconditional apology to our client, such apology should be published in all the national dailies, not later than seven days from the receipt of this letter, inclusive of the date of receipt; and

“Pay to our client, by way of damages, the sum of N200 billion, not later than 30 days from the receipt of this letter, inclusive of the date of receipt.

“Take further notice that should fail, refuse and or neglect to abide by our simple demands, we would have no choice than to subject you to the rigours of litigation and this we shall do without any further reference to you.”

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