By Abdulwahab Abdulah
A ministerial nominee and spokesman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Monday filed a N500m defamation suit against Chief Olisa Metuh of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
According to Mohammed in his brief filed before the Lagos State High court, Ikeja, Metuh had defamed him in a press release, authored and circulated on September 20, 2015, where according to him was alleged that he (Mohammed) embezzled the funds meant for fencing of an airport in one of the APC-controlled states in the South-West.
Mohammed also claimed that Metuh alleged he (Mohammed) obtained money to supply ambulances to one APC-controlled state in the South-West, which he never did.
Though, the suit, filed Monday is yet to be assigned to any judge.
In the statement, Metuh was claimed to have wondered where the APC chieftain got the courage to speak on corruption when indeed he had mastered the art of corruption having been “a personal aide to one of the most corrupt politicians to ever bestride the political space of the country.”
Mohammed, who noted he was a one-time coordinator of the Bola Ahmed Tinubu Campaign Organisation, disclosed that the statement credited to Metuh was “carefully calculated to inflict damage on my reputation and to lessen me in the estimation of the public.”
According to him, Metuh in the statement had said, “…our final word for the APC spokesman on this, is that being ethically challenged, includes embezzling funds meant for fencing an airport in an APC-led South-West state.
“It also includes when one fraudulently refuses to supply ambulances after collecting monies from another APC South-West state.
“It is a comedy of roles when Alhaji Lai Mohammed speaks on corruption, a topic he practices and has well learnt, being a personal aide to one of the most corrupt politicians to ever bestride the political landscape of the country.”
Claiming monetary damaged, Mohammed claimed that Mehuh had injured his “character in a grave manner and caused him considerable reputational destruction and embarrassment.”
He added that Metuh admitted authorising the statement in a letter by his lawyer, Emeka Etiaba (SAN) dated September 25, 2015 to the claimant’s lawyer, Wahab Shittu, but denied that it was Mohammed that was being referred to.
Mohammed, however, quoted Etiaba to have also referred to an earlier statement where Mohammed also attacked Metuh by stating that “the allegations of corruption hanging on his (Metuh) neck, from within his own party, is a clear indication that he is mortally afraid that the wind will soon blow hard enough to expose the fowl’s rump…”
Mohammed, however, insisted that he made the said statement based on a petition to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission written against Metuh on July 15, 2015 by the PDP, Nkwelle-Ezunaka Ward 1, in the Oyi Local Government chapter of Anambra State.
To this end, Mohammed is seeking an order mandating Metuh to not only retract his statement but to also tender published apology to him in a widely read newspaper for seven consecutive days.
Apart he sought for an order of perpetual injunction restraining Metuh and his privies from further publishing or disseminating libelous materials against him.