Defamation: AGF Malami writes IGP, Omoyele Sowore, Sahara Reporters

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The Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) has written to the Inspector General of Police (IGP) over alleged malicious libel and criminal defamation against him by Omoyele Sowore/Sahara Reporters Inc.

Malami, in a statement through his Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, Dr Umar Gwandu said his lawyers Sunday I. Ameh (SAN) & Co wrote his letter of complaints to the Police boss.

Sowore is the publisher of an online Media outfit known as Sahara Reporters Inc., based in New York, USA but broadcasts news and other information on the internet via the Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and other similar Social Media Platforms where same could be viewed and assessed by the whole world and further shared and/or disseminated virally without restraint.

The statement said, “On the 10, 11 and 12 of July 2020, Sowore/Sahara Reporters, in what appears like a coordinated attack, viciously inter alia wrote and maliciously published, in sum, the libellous publications contained direct allegations and inuendos.

“Notwithstanding that the stories are untrue and false; Sowore/Sahara Reporters published the defamatory articles in issue mala fide, with the intention to ridicule him before the whole world.

Malami’s lawyers, S. I. Ameh and Co, in a petition to the IGP said, Malami has since the 10 of July 2020 when the alleged malicious criminal libel was first published, received and still receives several telephone calls and visits from well-meaning Nigerians, his friends, well-wishers and associates from all over the world including those he has dealt with/still dealing with in his Official Capacity as Nigeria’s Chief Law Officer, many of whom have expressed serious concerns as to his alleged conducts as reported by Sahara Reporters.

The petition said, “The criminal libel published against our Client by Sowore/Sahara Reporters was calculated to disparage our Client who is a responsible citizen, foremost Legal Practitioner, Senior Advocate of Nigeria and the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, in order to bring him into hatred, ridicule, odium and contempt before a large number of Nigerian citizens in their millions and others worldwide and to lower his estimation in the eyes of right-thinking persons.

“The Inspector-General may also note that, as it is their custom, Sowore/Sahara Reporters are in the habit of publishing libellous articles against innocent Nigerians- most of which have turned out to be false, and had published a similar libellous article against our Client in the past which led to the institution of a defamation suit against them”.

The lawyers said that the publication of malicious libel and criminal defamation published against Malami by Sowore/Sahara Reporters was with a view to disparage him in the eyes of right-thinking persons, contrary to Nigerian Criminal and Penal Laws and a gross violation of his Right to Dignity of Human Person as guaranteed under the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (As amended).

The lawyers then appealed to the IGP to use his good offices to investigate the criminal acts perpetrated by Sowore/Sahara Reporters as implicated in the Petition so that the Law can take its course against anyone found culpable.

Malami, in his letter, gave the publishers of Sahara Reporters. a 7-day ultimatum to retract all the libellous and criminally defamatory publications, and cause to be issued a public apology to be published on its platform and on the front page of three Newspapers with nationwide circulation for three consecutive days, “failing which we shall be left with no other option than to allow the Law to take its course against your organization.”

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