Former Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, Nasir El-Rufai, has instituted a N1.5 billion libel suit against the Peoples Democratic Party, its National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh and ThisDay Newspapers before a High Court in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
El-Rufai accused Metuh of authoring a defamatory statement, issued on behalf of the PDP, linking him and the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the Boko Haram insurgency.
He added that in a separate publication, Metuh claimed that he (El-Rufai) collected N5billion as consultancy fee from the suspended governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Lamido Sanusi.
Metuh was said to have made the claims in separate publications in the March 17 and 23 editions of ThisDay Newspaper.
The plaintiff, who is also the deputy National Secretary of APC, named Thisday newspaper, as the third defendant in the suit marked CV/1424/14.
The former minister claimed that the publications occasioned irreparable injury against him and damaged his hard-earned reputation.
He quoted one of the publications as saying, “specifically, PDP cited the instance of an APC chieftain, ostensibly the former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Nasir El-Rufai, who collected N5bn for consultancy fees provided to the Central Bank and another N1.5billion diverted to APC to enable it open offices across the federation”.
The former minister also quoted the publication of March 23 as being “boldly captioned as, ‘In a daring move, PDP says Buhari, el-Rufai, know more about B’Haram’”.
The plaintiff averred in his statement of claim that the publications have done irreparable injury and damage to his hard-earned reputation by portraying him as a corrupt, money-laundering, reckless, lawless, greedy and unscrupulous public figure, who illegally collected N5billion as consultancy fees.”
He is specifically seeking an order awarding N1billion as general damages against Metuh and PDP.
He is seeking another order awarding additional N500 million as general damages jointly and severally against all the three defendants, including ThisDay newspaper.
El-Rufai is also seeking the award for “the injury, embarrassment and distress suffered in respect of the loss of reputation and goodwill as a result of the malicious, unwarranted and defamatory utterance against the person of the plaintiff.”
He is praying for an order declaring that he was “deservingly entitled to a written apology from the defendants, published with the same prominence as the offending publications”.
He claimed that the publications were “in furtherance of the defendants’ campaign of calumny” against him.
The ex-minister equally wants the court to give an order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants from further defaming him.
The case has been adjourned till June 5 for mention before Justice Abubakar Talba.