Libel: Shehu Sani demands N5bn compensation from El-Rufai

[L-R] Senator representing Kaduna Central, Shehu Sani, | Governor Nasir El-Rufai

The Senator representing Kaduna Central in the Nigerian Senate, Shehu Sani, has slammed a five billion Naira counterclaim in a Kaduna State High Court against Governor Nasir El-Rufai for alleged libellous broadcast.

Mr  El-Rufai had in February sued Mr Sani demanding N500 million for alleged defamatory statement contained in a publication.

However, Mr Sani filed the Statement of Defence and Counter-Claim on April 20 as obtained by the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja on Monday.

Mr Sani, in his counterclaim, is seeking compensation for an alleged libellous broadcast maliciously made against him by the governor during a live broadcast transmitted through a radio station in Kaduna.

He also prayed for an order of perpetual injunction, restraining the plaintiff either by himself, agents, aides, privies or through any persons, from repeating the said “offensive and libellous broadcast or similar broadcast or publication’’.

The lawmaker further urged the court to make an order directing the governor to tender an unreserved apology in writing.

Mr Sani said the apology should be broadcast on seven consecutive days on the same channel that the governor made “the offensive broadcast, and published in conspicuous pages of four national newspapers.”

He noted that the broadcast against him, which was in Hausa language, had affected his reputation, his political career and pitched his constituents against him.

“Sometimes in November 2017, the plaintiff, speaking at a live broadcast, transmitted on radio, maliciously, unlawfully and without any justification whatsoever, uttered defamatory statements in the Hausa language.

“The offensive publication has continuously reduced the counterclaimant’s reputation, his political and social standing and popularity, which had taken years of hard work, excellence, diligence, sincerity, service to the people, forthrightness and courage to build.

“As a result of the malicious and offensive publication, the counter-claimant has suffered monumental humiliation and embarrassment and his reputation as a respectable Nigerian has been severely bruised and battered.

“The plaintiff knew and had every reason to know that the said broadcast unfairly and unjustly portrays the counter-claimant as a villain, madman of incurable insanity, among others.

“By reason of the foregoing, the counter-claimant has suffered humiliation, embarrassment, vilification, denigration, disparagement and agony, all of which are unquantifiable,’’ he stated.

Mr Sani averred that the governor made the malicious statement against him at the live broadcast when he was reacting to Senate’s rejection of 350 million dollars external loan request by the Kaduna State Government.

He added that the loan request, which was rejected by the Senate on March 29 through a voice vote, was unanimous.

The lawmaker in the statement of defence denied knowing about or authorising the publication being complained of.

He prayed the court to dismiss the governor’s case as being “frivolous, reckless, lacking in merit, malafide and baseless altogether.’’