The Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, has threatened to sue the Ekiti State Governor, Ayo Fayose, and a former Minister of Aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, if they did not retract the allegation that the $43 million recovered by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Ikoyi last week belonged to him within seven days. Amaechi is also demanding the sum of N750 million from Fayose and N500 million from Fani- Kayode as compensation for the malicious and defamatory claim.
Fayose had, through his spokesman, Lere Olayinka, on his Facebook page, alleged that the $43,449,947, £27,800 and N23,218,000 found by the EFCC at the Osborne Towers belonged to Amaechi.
He said that Amaechi bought two apartments in the building. Fani-Kayode, on his twitter page, said “the $43 million is Rotimi Amaechi’s. He owns the flat it was found in too. NIA story is fake news! NIA does not keep cash in minister’s flat.”
Yesterday, Amaechi, through his lawyer, Chief Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), said the allegations were false and aimed at tarnishing his image, hence an apology letter must be published by the duo in five national dailies and on their Facebook and Twitter handle within seven days, adding that it must be written in a heartfelt manner, and must be a total withdrawal of their claims.
Amaechi said the imputations in the apology “must also contain an expression of deep regrets for this unwarranted attack and it should contain a complete retraction of the false statement.”
“Please note that the demand may increase with time if you fail to address the situation as expected. Failure to do any of these would be met with stiff legal actions which your defamation acts deserve,” he threatened. According to Fagbemi, his client neither owns the house where the cash was found nor the cash, noting that the stories were unfounded.
“As a matter of fact, our client does not own any house in Lagos State not to talk of keeping cash in one, and your story is preposterous. “We observed that as informed as you are, and being one of the echelons of Ekiti State, you ought to know that anyone who desires to know who owns any property, especially in a world-class land documentation system like Lagos State, only needs to conduct a diligent search in the Land Registry, but you intentionally failed to do so, as to achieve your malicious aim,” he said.
But Fani-Kayode said he would wait to receive Amaechi’s letter before knowing how to respond. In a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media, Jude Ndukwe, Fani-Kayode said:
“We have been inundated with calls concerning a threat by Rotimi Amaechi to sue Chief Fani-Kayode for defamation over the $43 million issue. We are not losing any sleep over this matter. We have not received any court processes or letters from Ameachi, but when we do so, our lawyers will respond vigorously and appropriately.”