The family of billionaire businessman and Executive Vice-Chairman of Chrome Group, Sir Emeka Offor, has chided a New-York based online newspaper, and others, over what it described as a deliberate targeted smear campaign against their son (Emeka Offor), possibly for economic gain and at the behest of certain unscrupulous elements.
The minority leader in the Anambra State House of Assembly, Hon. Onyebuchi Offor, reacted to recent publications by the online medium, alleging that Emeka Offor was broke and that former Senate President Ken Nnamani and two others were out to save him, from government’s sledge hammer.
The lawmaker, who spoke on behalf of the family in a statement on Thursday, said the publications were designed to defame Sir Emeka Offor, an illustrious son of Igboland.
The statement read: “I, Hon. Onyebuchi Offor, a representative of the highly respected Offor family in Ekwusigo LGA and by the grace of God, Minority Leader, Anambra State House of Assembly, bring you salutations from the Offor family.
“Our attention has been drawn to recent publications by Sahara Reporters which are evidently designed to defame Sir Emeka Offor, a most illustrious son of Igboland.
“Given the patent falsehood running the gamut of the said publications, we consider that Sahara Reporters has constituted itself the orchestrator and purveyor of a targeted smear campaign against Sir Emeka Offor, possibly for economic gain and at the behest of certain unscrupulous elements.
“There is no gainsaying the fact that Sir Emeka Offor is one of the most industrious and accomplished Nigerians of his generation. He has attracted and enjoyed God’s entrepreneurial and pecuniary blessings for over three decades. He has in turn consistently channeled those blessings toward the betterment of his fellow man (and woman and child) by remarkable acts of philanthropy. Notable among the plethora of honours and recognitions that he has received in that regard is the award by the Rotary Club International for his immense contributions towards humanity and the global war against polio.
“We wish to make clear that contrary to Sahara Reporters’ libelous assertions, the following is the true and unimpeachable position with regard to Sir Emeka Offor: Sir Emeka Offor is hale and hearty. Sir Emeka Offor is a happily married man with beautiful children whom he loves abundantly and who love him very much in return. Sir Emeka Offor’s multinational businesses continue to thrive and prosper by the grace of God.
“Similarly, his personal wealth continues to endure for the benefit of the multitudes who have benefited from his legendary largesse, munificence and altruism. Planning by the family for the burial of our late father, Pa Offor, continues apace. We find it disgusting that Sahara Reporters chose to disrespect the memory of Pa Offor by bringing him into their odious publications.
“Sir Emeka Offor’s contributions to the local community are innumerable; permit us to enlighten Sahara Reporters on a few: Sir Emeka Offor contributed over 50% to the building of Oraifite Civic Centre which stands as one of the best civic centres in the South-East of Nigeria.
“Sir Emeka Offor has run a remarkable university scholarship scheme for over twenty years with the provision of a car and automatic employment for beneficiaries graduating with first-class degrees. Thousands of Nigerians have been proud beneficiaries of this scheme to date.
“Sir Emeka Offor runs a widows’ cooperative society with over 3,000 members as of today. Under the auspices of this cooperative society, he sent a significant number of the widows to India for training on managing a cooperative society. They have subsequently been able to establish a microfinance bank and other thriving microenterprises.
“Sir Emeka Offor built and fully equipped one of the best Anglican churches in the South East of Nigeria, located in Oraifite.
“Sir Emeka Offor singlehandedly constructed a major community road (off Onitsha/Owerri road to Oraifite /Nnewiborder). This project was executed by renowned civil engineering and contracting firm, MCC.
“Sir Emeka Offor built Ekwusigo LGA Central Police Station.
“Sir Emeka Offor provided a free water scheme for the four quarters of Oraifite (Unodu, Ezumeri, Irefi and Ifite).
“Do we talk about the various skill acquisition programs undertaken by youths of Ekwusigo LGA under Sir EmekaOffor’s Youth Empowerment Scheme? Just last year, Sir EmekaOffor not only trained over one hundred youths in various skill acquisition programs but also empowered them financially to start their own businesses on completion of their training .
“Sir Emeka Offor is a serial job creator with over 3,000 Nigerians under his payroll, indirectly creating over 10,000 jobs in addition.
“Apart from within his conglomerate, Sir Emeka has helped innumerable people secure jobs in Nigeria and abroad. The breadwinners of many families are gainfully employed today through the efforts of this great member of the Offor family.
“Sir Emeka Offor’s star of charity shines far beyond his immediate community. Again, we wish to mention but a few of his national and international works of benevolence:
“Partnering with a U.S. based NGO, Sir Emeka Offor has through his eponymous Foundation donated books, reading materials and computers worth over $22 million to schools and communities in more than 18 countries in Africa including Nigeria.
“Sir Emeka Offor has established a glaucoma research centre at the Department of Ophthalmology, University of Mainz, Germany and in conjunction, established a Nigerian fellowship for cataract surgery and glaucoma management at the university.
“Sir Emeka Offor donated $2 million, which was matched with a grant of an additional $4 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, to support the Global Polio Eradication Initiative launched by the Rotary International, the World Health Organization, UNICEF and the U.S. Center for Disease Control.
“Sir Emeka Offor, through his Foundation, entered into a long-term agreement with The Carter Centre to eliminate river blindness (‘onchocerciasis’) in Nigeria. Pursuant thereto, Sir Emeka Offorprovided a $10 million grant to the Carter Center, the largest grant ever received by the Center, to facilitate the Center’s efforts in eliminating river blindness in Nigeria.
“In light of the above, we wish to ask Sahara Reporters some pertinent questions:
“What do you intend to achieve by the malicious publications? To increase the traffic to your website or to advertise your skills as character-assassination experts available for hire?
“Why have you never reached out to Sir Emeka Offor, in keeping with the ethics of journalism, directly or through his conglomerate’s media relations’ representatives, to get his own side of any of the stories you wished to peddle?
“How much have you been paid to deliberately and recklessly foment a campaign of calumny against Sir Emeka Offor, including but not limited to bringing emotional and psychological distress to his family and loved ones by exposing them to ridicule and odium?
“Sahara Reporters has published over seven sensationally libelous articles on Sir Emeka in the last thirty days. The lack of objectivity in your intentions is self-evident in your relentless and ungrounded focus on one individual. We continue to wonder who might be the sponsors to whom you have lent your connivance and instrumentality. We are aware that like any successful businessman, Sir EmekaOffor has competitors who would benefit from his being brought to disrepute.
“We want to assure Sahara Reporters however that we will not sit back and watch you continue your attempts at discrediting our brother. We intend, as a family, to take advantage of all legal and equitable remedies available to us in domestic and international law against Sahara Reporters IF WITHIN SEVEN (7) DAYS, you fail to tender an unreserved apology to Sir Emeka Offor and his family for your defamatory publications and character assassination. We also demand that Sahara Reporters cease and desist henceforth from making any other or further defamatory publications against Sir Emeka Offor or any member of the Offor family,” the statement read.