Minister of transportation, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi has filed a N2 billion suit against Femi Fani-Kayode, a former minister of aviation, and Lere Olayinka, spokesman of Ayo Fayose, governor of Ekiti state.
The duo had accused Amaechi of owning the $43 million which the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) found in a Lagos residence.
In separate letters to Fani-Kayode and Olayinka, Lateef Fagbemi, counsel to Amaechi, said the allegations against his client were false.
Fagbemi said his client has never owned a home in Lagos state, and that the “misleading information” was capable of tarnishing Amaechi’s reputation.
“The story as uploaded by you is to our knowledge, blatantly false, malicious and is aimed at impeaching the credit of our client, a two-time speaker of the Rivers state of house of assembly, a two-time governor of Rivers state and current minister of the federation,” read a letter sent to both men.
“Our client neither owns the house where the cash was found and your story and claim are unfounded.”
Amaechi’s counsel said the publication constitutes a libel and is defamatory “aimed at impinging our client’s character and credit in the eyes of Nigerians and foreigners.”
The Minister, through Lateef Fagbemi SAN said if they failed to make the retraction within seven days they would meet in court, stressing that the retraction should be made in about five national newspapers and their twitter pages.
He also said Olayinka should pay him N500 million while Kayode who was a former Minister of Transportation should part with N750 million as compensation for the damages he had suffered from their various postings.
According to Amaechi he was not the owner of the luxury apartment and the money found in the place, adding that he also did not acquire an apartment in the place for a lady and does not own a house in Lagos state.
Amaechi who is also a former governor of Rivers state said the post painted him as an adulterous man whereas he is a happy family man, married to only one wife.
“In the spirit of a second chance we have our clients instruction to give you an ultimatum of 7 days from receipt of this letter to issue an apology in 5 national dailies and your twitter handle.
“Your apology which should be heartfelt must be a total withdrawal of your claim and its imputation must also contain an expression of deep regret for this unwarranted attack and must also contain retraction of the false statement of yours.
“We also demand from you as compensation for the malicious and defamatory claim. Please note that the demand will increase with time if you fail to retract the statement immediately. Failure to do any of these would be met with stiff legal actions which your defamatory act deserves .”,the counsel said.