Commander of Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (F-SARS) in Rivers State, Mr. Akin Fakorede, an assistant commissioner of Police (ACP), is asking for N2 billion damages from the Rivers State government.
He has given seven days’ ultimatum to the government to retract the libellous publications against him, and demanded an unreserved apology from the state government.
Fakorede said the apology must be published on the front pages of national newspapers that carried the false advertisements.
This, he said, should be published twice the number of times the advertisements ran in each newspaper.
Fakorede’s lawyer, Ayodele Akintunde, in a 10-page letter, dated May 22, and addressed to Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Emma Aguma, yesterday in Port Harcourt, accused the state government of deliberately lying against his client.
The F-SARS commander approached his lawyer after the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, authorised him to sue Governor Nyesom Wike and the government for the malicious, false and libellous publications against him, having been exonerated by the IGP of allegations levelled against him.
Akintunde said: “The allegations that our client is an election rigger and an enemy of democracy, and that our client is recruiting, training and arming a special squad to rig the 2019 elections in Rivers State though violent means are totally false and baseless.
“In the consequence, our client’s reputation has been seriously damaged and he has suffered considerable distress and embarrassment. We hereby demand that you retract the libelous publications contained in the national newspapers within seven days of the receipt of this letter and tender an unreserved apology to our client for the damage to his reputation and the distress and embarrassment caused him by the libelous publications.
“The retraction and apology must be given as much publicity as your libelous advertisements and they must be inserted on the front pages of the same newspapers, in as large a type and in as prominent positions as your advertisements. The apology must also be printed/published twice the number of times your libelous advertisements were published in each of the national newspapers.
“The Rivers State government must also give a written undertaking never again to publish any similar libel against our client in future.
“Take notice that if you do not cause to be printed/published, a retraction and an unreserved apology, in the manner demanded within seven days of receipt of this letter, and pay an agreed amount as damages for the libel, we have our client’s instruction to commence legal action against the Rivers State government for N2 billion as damages for libel. You have been warned.”
Fakorede’s lawyer faulted the government’s claim on the report of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on the December 10 legislative rerun.
He said: “The words contained in all the advertisements are clearly intended to disparage our client in his duties as an ACP in the Nigeria Police Force and particularly as the commander of F-SARS, Rivers State and expose him to hate, ridicule and contempt.
“All the allegations contained in the publications, including the report of INEC, are false, malicious and completely unfounded. During the 2016 Rivers State rerun elections, our client never assaulted Mary Tunkayo, Dr. C. Odekpe or any INEC staff. This is clear from all the written statements obtained from the relevant INEC staff.”