Prince Ned Nwoko, a former member of the House of Representatives, has written to Sahara Reporters, requesting that it retract its “defamatory statement” against him or face legal action.
In a letter to Sahara Reporters, Nwoko’s lawyer, Rolls Law Firm, demanded a retraction of the libelous publication on the online news platform, as well as a publication of an apology in two national dailies, as well as a payment of N10 billion in damages for the publication of the libel.
“We are solicitors to Hon. Prince (Dr.) Ned Munir Nwoko (herein referred to as “Our Client”) and on whose behalf and instruction we write you this letter,” the letter reads. “Our Client’s attention has been drawn by several people including members of his family, friends, business associates and co-politicians amongst other well-meaning Nigerians to serials of your false publications in your news media where
“In one of these publications, titled “How Ned Nwoko Humiliated Monarch, Asked Police To Dig Up Palace,” you maliciously and falsely stated that Ned Nwoko, a former federal lawmaker from Delta State, “Ordered the arrest of Prince Chukwunonso Nwoko, monarch of the town, and subsequently asked the police to ransack his palace,” on August 14, 2020.
“The monarch and some residents of Idumuje-Ugboko had opposed Nwoko’s attempt to forcefully acquire additional 90 hectares of land from an area earmarked for all indigenes of the community,” you falsely claimed in your publication.
“Your portrayal of our client as an unconscionable land grabber who has terrorized and frightened an entire community in order to seize people’s lands gravely portrays him as a bully, marauder, buccaneer, pirate, Viking, and bandit. Our client abuses the privileges of God’s favors and endowment on him to oppress and extort others who are not equally endowed, according to the false allegations’ implication and innuendos.
“In the eyes of respectable people in society, it portrays him as a devious, manipulative, dishonest, and fraudulent person of questionable character.”
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“This is in stark contrast to our client’s reality and reputation as a former lawmaker, philanthropist, accessible, easygoing, and rule of law adherent. Our client was previously well-known in Delta State, Nigeria, and around the world for using the established conflict resolution framework and judicial process to air his political and business convictions.
“Our client chose to ignore the unprovoked slur and distraction that your false publications attempted to inflict on his reputation in order to concentrate on the more important projects he is working on.” It’s ironic that our client’s pacifist demeanor appears to have fueled your rashness in launching more attacks on his person, business, reputation, and integrity.
“A few days ago, our client’s attention was drawn to yet another false, wicked, malicious, and defamatory publication dated 15th December 2021 by you and published in several News and Social media captioned, “EX-HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES MEMBER, NED NWOKO ACCUSED OF SCAMMING AFRICAN LEADERS WITH ‘WHITE ELEPHANT PROJECTS’,” wherein you published to the world and repeated the
” You then went on to make new and false claims about the Paris Club Refunds and the Ned Nwoko Foundation’s Malaria Eradication Project. The involvement of our clients in the Paris Club Refund in Nigeria has been widely publicized. It has been subjected to judicial scrutiny, the Nigeria Governors’ Forum’s private company review and audit, and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s forensic investigation three (3) times (EFCC). In 2016, when no money had been paid to our client, Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, issued a stern instruction to the EFCC to conduct a detailed investigation into our client in response to a claim by a whistleblower NGO that our client had been paid about $6 billion USD with respect to the Paris Club Refund. He was invited, and a large number of documents and files were taken away from him. Our clients’ role in the Paris Club Refunds was confirmed in the EFCC Investigation Report. The EFCC conducted two additional review investigations, both of which yielded the same result. Part of our client’s entitlements was eventually paid.
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“Our client categorically denies all of the allegations you made against him in the aforementioned publications, as well as other publications by you on the same subject that, due to space constraints, cannot be included herein, all of which were intended to smear his reputation.”
“On the contrary: In May 2017, the said Prince Chukwunonso Nwoko was implicated in the investigation and prosecution of a case of violence and property destruction in Idumuje-Ugboko. He and others, according to a prosecution witness, conspired and masterminded the mindless terror and destruction inflicted on Idumuje-Ugboko in 2017. Our client followed laid-down processes in the acquisition of lands in Idumuje-Ugboko and anywhere else in Nigeria, as evidenced by a cursory investigation or verification; b. with respect to land acquisition, our client followed laid-down processes in the acquisition of lands in Idumuje-Ugboko and anywhere else in Nigeria. Again, if you had given any thought to telling a balanced story, you could have easily established this fact.
“Your malicious publication was purposefully orchestrated to inflict irreversible scares on our client’s reputation as easily verifiable facts were purposefully ignored by you to further your quest to destroy as illustrated hereof.”
“Experts investigated and authenticated the claim that the late king’s signature on the letter approving the allocation of the land was forged based on available records.” False information was charged against those who peddled the false allegation.
“Before they proceeded with formalizing the allocation, the LGA Chairman confirmed that he conferred with the late king and confirmed that he signed the letter.”
“The late king’s signature was confirmed by Chief Uzor, the Adviser to the Delta State Governor on Peace and Reconciliation.”
You could have discovered the following if you had conducted a cursory investigation:
The elder (senior) members of the Nwoko Royal Family have never proclaimed Prince Chukwunonso Nwoko as king of Idumuje-Ugboko.
The Anioma North Traditional Rulers Committee did not recommend Prince Chukwunonso Nwoko.
Crown Prince Solomon Eziokwubundu Nwoko has been named Obi(king) Idumuje-Ugboko by the Anioma North Traditional Rulers’ Committee.
HRM Asagba (Prof.) Chike Edozien, Chairman of the Anioma Traditional Rulers’ Forum, has recommended Crown Prince Solomon Eziokwubundu Nwoko to the Delta State Government for the presentation of the Governor’s Staff of Office as the Obi (king) of Idumuje-Ugboko.
“Court judgments are public documents that can be found at the registry of any Nigerian court.” There’s also the Freedom of Information Act, which gives sincere news organizations the power to obtain any public information they need. Several court decisions involving our client have resulted from the Paris Club Refunds. If you had asked for information, we would have gladly provided it so that you could publish an objective report.
“Had you followed the steps in paragraph (e) above, you would have discovered that the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) signed a Terms of Settlement with Asishana B. Okauru, their Chairman and Director General, with Ned Nwolo acknowledging;
“They owe Ned Nwolo money because he worked for them.”
That they (NGF) issue a Letter of No Objection to Payment to Ned Nwoko and Linas International Limited.
That the NGF issued the Letter of No Objection to the Federal Ministry of Finance as stated above in accordance with the court’s decision.
According to the records, the NGF has not filed a $418 million USD claim against Ned Nwolo or any of his affiliated companies.
There are several court orders in Ned Nwoko’s favor regarding the subject matter.
That the University project is progressing as planned.
You would have found a gold mine of factual information that contradicted the malicious and deliberate lies you have been spreading.
Based on the foregoing, it is clear that you purposefully and recklessly misrepresented Prince Chukwunonso Nwoko’s status in order to add vitriol and sensationalize your false publication in order to sully our client’s reputation and standing in society.
“Our client is a well-known figure in Idumuje-Ugboko, Aniocha North Local Government Area, Delta State, as well as elsewhere within and outside the country.” He was a member of the Federal House of Representatives, a senatorial candidate, a recipient of numerous honorary doctorates, a savvy politician, an international lawyer, a business mogul, and a philanthropist. He is a social crusader who always has his people’s best interests at heart and always seeks out development projects for them. Our client is well-known around the world for spearheading the malaria crusade and fight. As a result, he has a sizable social media following and presence.
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“The publications you made were read by the public both inside and outside Nigeria, and it has cost our client his reputation—meaning Nigerians are beginning to regard our client with contempt and disdain, and he is being ridiculed and openly embarrassed as a land grabber and extortionist.” Since your false and malicious publication, his involvement in proposed businesses and a variety of other activities has been met with a cold shoulder and a silent rebuff. They believe your fabrication and believe our client is a liar.
“Your repetition of these falsehoods, with new additions on each occasion, betrays a deliberate baiting of our client’s reaction and response.”
“As a result, we formally make the following demands of you: a, That you publish a statement in two national newspapers, as well as in your online News Media, retracting the libelous publications of August 14, 2020, and December 15, 2021, respectively, with an unqualified apology.
b, Only the sum of #10,000,000,000 (Ten Billion Naira) is paid as compensation to our clients for the malicious, false, and disparaging publications.
This letter should also be regarded as a warning to you in case you choose not to comply with our Client’s demands.