Alleged Defamation: Atiku Threatens Legal Action against Buhari’s Aide, Onochie


•  Demands N500m compensation

Alex Enumah in Abuja

The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 presidential election, Atiku Abubakar, has threatened to file charges against the Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Social Media, Lauretta Onochie, over a recent publication wherein the presidential aide alleged in her Tweeter handle that Atiku is on the watchlist of security operatives in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Onochie, in the said publication of May 7, 2019, which has been published by many newspapers and online media platforms, also accused Atiku of shopping for terrorists in the Middle East.

Atiku is currently challenging the victory of President Buhari in the February 23 presidential poll at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, holding in Abuja.

He insisted that going by results obtained from the Central Server of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), he won the presidential poll by a lawful majority.

However, INEC has continued to deny the deployment of its central server in the conduct of the 2019 general election.

But Atiku, in a letter dated May 14, 2019 and written on his behalf by his lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN),  described Onochie’s statement as not only vile and denigrating but a calculated attempt to disparage the person of Atiku in the eyes of right-thinking members of the public.

Onochie had on May 7, 2019 in her tweeter handled alleged: “Atiku on UAE watchlist – security sources. Security operatives in the United Arab Emirates are keeping a close tab on a former Nigerian Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, who has been in Middle East nation for several weeks now. What is he doing there? Me: shopping for terrorists?”

But in his reaction, the PDP candidate insisted that there is no iota of truth in the said publication.

According to him, the publication is beginning to affect public perception of his person, adding that, the publication since it was made has caused him national and international backlash and embarrassment as well as incalculable damages.

“To say that our client is shopping for terrorists is not only dishonest and reckless but is calculated and politically designed to instigate security agents against him not only in the UAE but across the world,” Ozekhome said.

He subsequently demanded Buhari’s aide to publish and tender a written retraction and apology for the said libelous publication in six national newspapers, one international newspaper and all social media platforms wherein the said publication was made.

In addition, Ozekhome on behalf of Atiku is demanding that Onochie pay Atiku the sum of N500 million as minimal damages to assuage Atiku’s already battered image wholly caused by her said defamatory publication.