..denies sponsoring Miyetti-Allah cattle breeders
By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA – Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, on Monday, threatened to drag a chieftain of the Northern Elders Forum, NEF, Mr. Paul Unongo to court for alleging that he is a financier of the association of cattle breeders, Miyetti-Allah.
The erstwhile Vice President, in a letter that was signed by his lawyer, Mr. Mahmud Magaji,SAN, asked Unongo to immediately retract the allegation which he said was ” blatant and malicious falsehood”, or face legal action within seven days.
Atiku insisted that the said retraction must be published in all the national dailies in Nigeria.
Specifically, the ex-VP who made particular reference to a publication he said was on page 3 of the Punch of January 6, 2018 (Vol. 7413), asked Unongo to within 30 days of receiving the letter, pay him N200billion as damages.
Unongo was reported by the media to have claimed that he had interacted with Atiku and knew that he (Atiku) was the most powerful person financing Miyetti Allah, a claim the ex-VP had since denied.
Meanwhile, part of the letter Atiku wrote through his lawyer, a copy of which was sighted by Vanguard last night, read: “You made this assertion even when you knew that in fact and in truth you never had any such discussion with our client.
“The above allegations aside from being frivolous, callous, baseless and unwarranted are utter falsehood and unjustified.
“Your mischief has gravely defamed our client and painted him in very bad light as a sponsor and instigator of violence across the country, a character you know he does not possess.
“Having given much of his life to the service of his country in various capacities, rising to the enviable position of Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria from 1999-2007, our client has continued to function as an elder statesman and stakeholder in the nation’s polity whose core interests lie in the general welfare and unity of the Nigerian populace devoid of ethnic/religious divides.
“As you very well know those unwarranted allegations calling our client the financier of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, an organization you made out as the perpetrators of the heinous and wanton destruction of lives and property in Benue State in the recent past, is nothing but complete falsehood. Nothing can, indeed, be farther from the truth.
“Take notice that our client takes strong exception to these allegations and considers same as an act of character assassination.
“Hence our instruction to: Demand of you and we so demand that you retract your mischievous allegations and tender an unconditional apology to our client, such apology should be published in all the national dailies, not later than seven (7) days from the receipt of this letter, inclusive of the date of receipt; and
“Pay to our client by way of damages the sum of N200billion not later than 30 days from the receipt of this letter, inclusive of the date of receipt.
“Take further notice that should fail, refuse and or neglect to abide by our simple demands, we would have no choice than to subject you to the regours of litigation and this we shall do without any further reference to you”.