Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has filed a N3 billion libel suit against a member of Ekiti House of Assembly, Dr Samuel Omotoso; as well as Special Assistant on New Media and Public Communications to Governor Ayodele Fayose, Lere Olayinka, over statements considered as assassination of character made against him.
The Minister’s action follows the failure of the defendants to retract the false accusations of corruption considered libellous statements and tender public apology as demanded by his counsel, Rafiu Oyeyemi Balogun, in a letter dated November 19, 2016.
The Minister in the suit number 6/577/2016, filed at the High Court of the federal Capital territory in the Abuja Judicial Division, is seeking among others, payment of an aggravated damages to the tune of N3billion. (N2 billion against Lere Olayinka, the first defendant and another N1bilion aggravated damages against Dr. Omotoso, the second defendant.)
Besides these, the plaintiff is also seeking a retraction of the offensive statements/ utterances; a public apology to be published and aired on Ekiti State Television and Channels Television as well as the social media.
He is also seeking a perpetual injunction restraining the defendants from publishing or making statements or utterances similar or further libellous publications or statements or utterances against the plaintiff.
The duo of Omotoso and Olayinka had during an EKTV live programme also broadcast on a cable network Startimes, tagged Ejiire on July 6, 2016 alleged that Fayemi illegally took N1.5 billion from Ekiti treasury and gave it to the then presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Muhammadu Buhari, to win the 2015 presidential election.
Olayinka also said that Fayemi illegally collected N5 billion from Ecobank in the name of Fountain Holdings for purported road construction. He also alleged that Fayemi spent the state’s funds to build a private university for himself in Ghana.
For failing to retract the offending statements and tender public apology within the stipulated period, Fayemi’s counsel is asking the court for reliefs compelling the defendants to pay damages for the statements against him which had portrayed him as a “very corrupt public office holder and fraudulent person who siphoned public funds at the detriment of Ekiti citizens while serving as governor”.
Balogun also argued that his client was exposed to “public ridicule, odium, opprobrium, embarrassment and unprecedented disrepute”, arguing that the duo had done “incalculable and tremendous injury to our client’s image and personality as an international figure”.
The plaintiff averred that having regard to the nature of the libel, the wider publication of the offending statements and posting same on Internet, and having done it maliciously and failure to apologise to him when requested to do so, he is entitled to aggravated damages from the defendants.
No date has been fixed for hearing of the case.