The Akwa Ibom State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mike Igini, has threatened to file a N1bn libel suit against a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, Blessing Agbomhere, over alleged defamatory statements.
While denying the allegation, the activist and former President of the University of Benin Students Union Government also demanded N1bn from him as damages.
He therefore gave Agbomhere a 48 hours ultimatum within which he should retract the said defamatory statements and tender an apology to him in four major television stations and five newspapers, including The PUNCH or he would go to court.
When contacted, Agbomere told The PUNCH that he stood by the allegation.
“I have not seen his letter but I stand by my allegation, we will meet in court,” he said.
Igini, in a pre-litigation notice that was prepared by his team of lawyers led by Chief Clement Onwuenwunor (SAN), obtained by journalists in Abuja on Sunday, alleged that the APC chieftain had in a television interview he granted on June 29, accused him of not only working for the Peoples Democratic Party in Akwa Ibom State, but also acting as a ceremonial consultant to Governor Udom Emmanuel.
The letter read, “We act as legal practitioners for Honourable Mike Igini (hereinafter referred to as our client) and on whose instruction we write this protest and demand letter to you.
“In a television interview aired by Arise Television and anchored by Dr. Rueben Abati on June 29, 2022 and subsequentlyy relayed in several other news media platforms, you maliciously aired to the whole world about our client as follows: ‘Mike Igini has abused the privilege of his office, he is partial/biased against the interest of APC in Akwa Ibom State, he is working for the PDP in Akwa Ibom State, he is a ceremonial consultant to the Governor of Akwa Ibom State in electoral matters, he has compromised the values of INEC, he is a hatchet man hired by the PDP to work for them in INEC, shamelessly defending the rights of political parties and that he lives in the Lodge of the Government of Akwa Ibom State….. that he has videos of him driving in and coming out.
“The above malicious accusations aired to the whole world have, ever since, been given unprecedented publicity and they constitute the most wicked attack on the towering image of our client, who over the years, has earned a deserved reputation in Nigeria and internationally as a forthright electoral umpire.
“Your said bogus allegations were hellish conjectures from the spiral imaginations of a mischief maker who neither have the fear of God nor regard for a man of probity in your misguided foray for ephemeral political power.
“As characteristic of unrepentant blackmailers, you threw caution to the wind, and in your frenzied efforts to disparage our client without checking your facts, you did not know (and will be shocked to know) that our client does not know where the Government Lodge of Akwa Ibom State is located and that our client lives in the official quarters of Independent National Electoral Commission in Uyo, and this is very well known to you.
“We have the instruction of our client to challenge you or anyone else to post your taunted pictures and videos to the whole world.”
It added, “Consequently, we have been instructed by our client to demand from you a retraction of the defamatory statements and an apology to be broadcast on Arise Television, Channels Television, AIT, TVC and to also be published on a full page in The PUNCH Newspapers, Guardian Newspapers, Vanguard Newspapers, Tribune Newspapers and Sunday Sun Newspapers within 48 hours from the receipt of this letter.
“We also demand the modest sum of N1bn from you as damages for the said defamatory statements.
“Take note that if you fail, refuse and or neglect to comply with the above demand within the stated period, we shall have no other option than to perfect our client’s standing instructions against you.”