Hadiza Bala Usman, the managing director of the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, has filed a suit at Federal High Court Abuja seeking for justice against the alleged false publications in an online media, and claiming N1 billion for damages, The Guardian reports.
Usman, who was in court on Friday, April 28, 2017 for the suit filed against Prince Henry Nwazuruahu Shield and thebreakingtimes.com for defamation of character.
But it turns out that Breaking Times did not publish the story in question, which was published on many online platforms except Breaking Times.
The Trent spoke with an editor of the online newspaper who says that the development is worrisome for many reasons.
“We never published such a story and our editorial board is preparing a statement to address this embarrassment from Ms. Usman,” he said on condition of anonymity because he is not authorised to speak on the matter. “We are considering suing her for defamation as her erroneous action has caused our paper damages in the public eye.”
Usman picked exception to the report published on 22nd March 2017 titled: “How El-Rufai and Hadiza Usman bribed APC Chieftains with $25,000 each to make him Vice President”.
Usman, who confirmed the suit to The Guardian yesterday said: “The story is false and a total fabrication geared towards tarnishing my hard earned reputation. I have today filed a suit at Federal High Court Abuja seeking for justice against these perpetrators of falsehood,” she said.
Enjoining the media to be discouraged from running banner headlines with unverifiable information, she said new media and the digital space has brought prosperity to humanity but also brought along unhinged speed in the dissemination of lies and grief.
“While I believe that the new media has inherent capacity to fact check and unmask fallacies peddled by unconscionable people, it does not have the capacity to undo the damages and hurt inflicted on victims,” the NPA boss said.
“Only the Judiciary can mitigate and right that through its judgments, when approached by helpless victims. Justice is what I seek through my action in court today.
“I have overlooked many spurious claims against my person in the media in the past. I have been diligent and circumspect in my public life dealings.
“I have laboured to show integrity, transparency and accountability in all my ventures. I will not do differently in my present position as Managing Director of the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA).
“And, I will not bow to blackmail either,” she said.