The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, has given a 7-day ultimatum to the publishers of Sahara Reporters to retract all libelous and ‘criminally defamatory’ publications against him or face the court.
This is sequel to a published report by the online medium, claiming that the minister had gifted his eldest son, AbdulAziz, who wedded on Saturday, a N300million mansion in Abuja, DAILY NIGERIAN recalls.
Mr Malami, in a statement by spokesman, Umar Gwandu, described the report as ‘criminal defamation’, saying it only ‘injured the character and reputation’ of the minister, subjecting him to an avoidable stress.
According to the statement, a series of prejudicial materials were published by SaharaReporters which were adverse against Mr Malami’s reputation, lamenting that the publication could be viewed and assessed by the whole world without restraint.
He noted particularly that on the 10th, 11th and 12th of July 2020, Sahara Reporters, in what appears like a coordinated attack, published libelous and criminally defamatory articles against his personality.
He, therefore, urged the medium to issue a public apology to be published on the platform and on the front pages of three national newspapers for three consecutive days or be ready to face legal consequences.
The Minister said: “It is pertinent to note that the publications were untrue, fabrication or at best a figment of imagination of Sahara Reporters and are unsupported howsoever.
“Since the 10th of July 2020 when the defamatory articles were first published, I received several phone calls and visits from well-meaning Nigerians, friends, well-wishers and associates from all over the world including those within my Official Capacity as Nigeria’s Chief Law Officer, many of whom have expressed serious concerns over the publication.
“On the premise of the foregoing and given that the publication of malicious libel and criminal defamation published against me by Sahara Reporters was with a view to disparage me in the eyes of right thinking persons.
“This is contrary to Nigerian Criminal and Penal Laws and a gross violation of our Right to Dignity of Human Person as guaranteed under the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (As amended).”
According to the statement, a senior lawyer had already been briefed to deal with the matter, in the event of failure to retract the publication in question and offer the requested apology within the stipulated time.