…threatens to sue newspaper over alleged defamation
A former Minister of Aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, has threatened to sue Media Trust Limited, the publishers of Daily Trust newspaper, over a recent publication regarding his conduct towards a reporter at a press conference. Fani-Kayode, however, demanded that the management of Media Trust Limited enter into a negotiation for a possible settlement of N6 billion for defamation of character.
The former minister stated this in a letter addressed to the Managing Director of the newspaper dated August 31, 2020 and titled, ‘Defamation of the Character of Chief Femi Fani-Kayode by Iliyasu Gadu’ and signed by his lawyer, Adeola Adedipe of Ahmed Raji and Co.
The said letter a copy of which was sighted by New Telegraph was in response to an article titled, ‘FFK, the Drug Addled Thug in Designer Wears’ dated August 30, 2020. In the article, which was published in the newspaper, the writer chided Fani-Kayode for his conduct during a press conference in which he described a Daily Trust reporter in Calabar, Eyo Charles, as ‘stupid’ after he (journalist) asked who was bankrolling his (FFK) his ongoing tour of Southern States. The writer of the article in contention had claimed Fani-Kayode, who attended Cambridge University, was once “a drug addict” and had sought rehabilitation in Ghana, but “till today has not been cured of the habit”. In his letter, Fani-Kayode described the article as libellous and demanded an apology from the newspaper, which must be published in other national dailies.
The former minister also demanded that negotiation be entered into for the possible payment of N6 billion due to the irreparable loss the article had caused him. The letter reads in part: “The attention of our client has been drawn to a spurious publication that was made at your instance, on 30th August 2020….
“In that hateful and malicious publication, you consciously elected to denigrate our client, in the manner hereunder summarised as follows: that he is a dirty person and drug addict; he is a man of low esteem without dignity or reputation; that he is a pariah and disgrace to his state of origin; he lacks character training in the best traditions of an English man and, therefore, unfit to be an alumnus of the prestigious Cambridge University and the University of London; he is not fit to have been called to the Nigerian Bar, as a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, among other assertions. “It is our instruction to intimate you of this grievous breach on the character and hard-earned reputation of our client with patent collateral damage on his pedigree.
“Be aware that our client has not only suffered an immeasurable loss of goodwill, but he is currently confronted with unbearable opprobrium by his fans, followers and colleagues across the globe. “Our client is alive to his rights both in law and equity, but is disposed to an opportunity to undo the evil you have done by retracting the said insalubrious remarks on the same platform it was published and apologising to him in two other national dailies. “You are also advised to enter into negotiations with us for the sum of N6 billion being a token amount for penitence as opposed to the magnitude of infraction caused to our client’s nobility.” He, however, gave the newspaper 14 days to comply with the demands in the letter or face legal action. Fani-Kayode had equally written a similar letter to the writer of the article.