National chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole is in trouble as Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has challenged him to prove his claims of mismanagement of the Benue share of bailout funds and the Paris Club refunds.
Governor Ortom, who spoke in a letter written on 6th of August by his counsel, Samuel Irabor, accused Oshiomhole of making libellous statements against him.
Be that as it may, the governor’s counsel has demanded that Oshiomhole write a letter of retraction/apology… “That the said retraction/apology be simultaneously published in the Sunday edition of 10 national dailies circulating within Benue State as well as a paid advertorial to the same effect on the prime time beats of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Channels TV, TVC News, African Independent Television (AIT), Independent Television (ITV) Benin, Radio Nigeria, Radio Benue and Harvest FM, Makurdi.”
“An undertaking not to indulge in any such false publication against our client in future, payment of N10 billion as punitive, general, exemplary and aggravated damages. Should Oshiomhole fail to meet the terms within seven days, he should prepare to defend a libel suit.”
“It is noteworthy that in the entire web of false accusations that you weaved against our client, you could not bring yourself to mention a single Benue person or any other person for that matter from whom you sourced your false narratives. For the records, the principles of law grounding liability for defamation and libel do not exculpate tale bearers from liability for the reason that the tales they bear are not original to them.”
“It is the complaint of our client that the false and offensive publication has deeply injured his reputation by portraying him in literal, unequivocal and unambiguous terms as a dishonest, fraudulent and violent person who has not only diverted the various intervention funds meant for salaries and arrears by sharing same with party leaders but is also an accomplice to the killings in Benue State.”
“It was in this parlous state that the Samuel Ortom led administration applied for the said N69 billion as bailout funds but it received N28 billion of which N12.5 billion was meant for the state and the balance of it was meant for the local government areas. After carrying out staff verification, the state paid four months arrears for January 2015 – April 2015 and was able to save N1.6 billion as a positive consequence of the verification exercise. Unfortunately the N1.6 billion saved from the verification exercise was garnished by the workers of Taraku Mills Ltd who had earlier secured judgment at the National Industrial Court before our client became Governor.”
“On the issue of Paris Club refund, the expenditure profile by the Benue State Government is also in the public domain as our client, in the spirit of transparency, probity, honesty and accountability, has variously engaged the Benue people through several interactive sessions entailing phone-in programmes vide the state media. The records show that the first tranche of Paris Club refund amounting to N12.7 billion was received in December, 2016 and used in facilitating two months salaries across board. The second tranche came in June 2017 amounting to N6.4 billion and was also used to offset salary, pension and gratuities while the Benue State Government in agreement with the Labour Congress in Benue State took an overdraft of N8 billion in anticipation of the third tranche which was also utilized to settle indebtedness to workers.”