Atiku Slams Buhari’s Aide, Lauretta Onochie, With N2.5 Billion Libel Suit

Atiku Slams Buhari’s Aide, Lauretta Onochie, With N2.5 Billion Libel Suit

By Wires Editor | The Trent on July 1, 2019
Muhammadu Buhari and Atiku Abubakar attend an APC campaign rally in 2014
Former vice-President Atiku Abubakar speaks during the People's Democratic Party (PDP)'s national convention in Port Harcourt, Rivers State on October 6, 2018. | Pius Utomi Ekpei/AFP/Getty Images

Atiku Abubakar, a former Vice-President, has carried out his threat to sue President Muhammadu Buhari’s Special Assistant on Social Media, Lauretta Onochie, for her alleged libellous tweet via her Twitter handle on May 7, 2019.

The post allegedly suggested that Atiku was on the watch list of security operatives in the United Arab Emirates and had travelled to shop for terrorists in the Middle East.

Atiku, through his lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), filed a N2.5 billion suit against Onochie before the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory in Abuja on June 26, 2019.

“To say that the claimant is shopping for terrorists knowing same to be untrue and without any foundation 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,” he stated in his statement of claim accompanying the suit.”

The Libelous Tweet

Atiku Abubakar, a former vice president and presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the 2019 general elections, has threatened to file a N2 billion suit against the special assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on social media, Lauretta Onochie, for damaging his character and reputation through the spread of “lies”.

In the alternative, Atiku asked Onochie to, among others, pay the sum of N500 million and tender a written apology.

In Atiku’s letter which was made available to journalist on Sunday, May 19, 2019, was addressed to Onochie and signed by his lawyer, Mike Ozekhome (SAN), the former vice president expressed disgust with Onochie’s post on Twitter in which she claimed that that is Atiku on United Arab Emirates’s watch-list.

Onochie posted the tweet on May 7, 2019.

The former Vice President denied having been on any watchlist and challenged Onochie to prove her allegation.

The presidential candidate asked Onochie to publish a retraction in six national newspapers and one international daily as well as on social media.

Ozekhome’s letter reads: “We have our client’s instructions to demand and we hereby demand from you the following: That you publish and tender a written retraction and apology for the said libellous publication in six national dailies circulating in Nigeria and one international daily as well as on all social media platforms wherein the said publication was made.

“That you pay to our client through the firm, the sum of N500,000,000 only, representing minimal damages to assuage his already battered image wholly caused by your said defamatory publication.

“Take notice that if you fail or refuse to accede to our modest demands within the next 48 hours from the date of this letter, we shall be compelled to activate the full weight of the legal machinery against you without any further recourse to you.

“We shall be, in such a suit, claiming against you the sum of N2 billion, representing exemplary aggravated and punitive damages.”

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