Nigerian Senate on Tuesday bowed to pressure from Civil Society Organisations, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and other Nigerians and refused to confirm the Special Assistant on new media to President Muhammadu Buhari, Lauretta Onochie from Delta as a Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
The refusal was based on Federal Character Principle and to adhere strictly to the Act, just as the Senate said that she is from Delta and the state has May Agbamuche who is the Chairman, Legal Services, INEC.
The resolution of the Senate was sequel to the consideration of the Senator Kabiru Gaya, APC, Kano South led Senate Committee on the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
Lauretta Onochie, aide to President Muhammadu Buhari, has commended the police over the way it handled the #OccupyLekkiTollGate protest in Lagos on Saturday.
In a tweet on Sunday, Mrs Onochie gave kudos to the police, saying nobody was hurt during the protest.
She said: “Kudos to the @PoliceNG for the professional manner it operated at Lekki yesterday. Nobody was hurt.
Kudos to the @PoliceNG for the professional manner it operated at Lekki yesterday. NOBODY WAS HURT
Best of all, no Police officer was killed nor roasted and eaten We must applaud you for doing well so that you can take our criticisms of your shortcomings in good faith. THANK YOU pic.twitter.com/UfsQBkWhFE
Former Vice-President and the presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has slammed a N2.5 billion libel suit against President Muhammadu Buhari’s Special Assistant on Social Media, Lauretta Onochie.
The presidential aide had on May 7, 2019, allegedly tweeted on her twitter handle suggesting that Atiku was on the watch list of security operatives in the United Arab Emirates and had travelled to shop for terrorists in the Middle East.
Irked by the statement, Abubakar in a May 14, 2019, letter, demanded an apology, retraction and payment of N500m compensation from Onochie “to assuage” the damage allegedly caused him by her social media post.
He also threatened to sue her should she fail to accede to the demand “within 48 hours.”
Alleging that Onochie was unmoved by his demand letter, the former vice president, through his counsel, Mike Ozekhome (SAN), on June 26, filed a N2.5bn suit against Onochie before the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.
In his statement of claim, Abubakar noted that “to say that the claimant is shopping for terrorists knowing same to be untrue and without any foundation is not only dishonest and reckless, but is calculated and politically designed to instigate security agents against him not only in the UAE, but across the world.”
While denying the allegations contained in the said tweet, Abubakar said the tweet was “politically orchestrated solely to cause maximum damage,” to his “high reputation” while challenging “the purported victory” of Onochie’s boss, President Buhari in the last presidential election at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal.
He Abubakar, stated that rather than show “remorse by retracting her earlier publication,” she further, on May 20, made “another derogatory publication and also published same globally online in the social and other print media,” against his person.
Besides, the PDP presidential candidate said sometime in May this year, he had embarked on a foreign trip to the UAE as he had done over the years, and while on the said trip, Onochie on May 7, 2019, wrote, through her twitter handle: “Atiku on UAE watchlist- Security sources Security operatives in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are keeping a close tab on a former Nigerian Vice Pres Atiku Abubakar who has been in the Middle East nation for several weeks now. What is he doing there? Me: Shopping for terrorists?”
He told the court that “the defamatory publication” was also published by several newspapers nationwide and on several social media news.”
Abubakar further denied the allegations contained in the said publication which he described as “a figment of the imagination of the defendant,” but said it portrayed him “as an evil man, mentor of terrorists, someone who has links with terrorists, and a person who is interested in destabilising the peace and unity of Nigeria.
“The publication also portrayed the claimant as a security threat and terrorist to right-thinking members of the public and the society at large,” the former Vice-President added.
He noted that “the odious publication has clearly rubbished the claimant’s image and reputation. It has caused him national and international backlash and embarrassment and has done incalculable damage to him.
He added, “he has thereby been subjected to the shame and infamy of being viewed by members of the public as not only corrupt, but as a terrorist and sponsor of terrorism.”
Abubakar also told the court that following the publication, he received numerous telephone calls, emails, visits, letters and private social media chats by his family members, friends, political and business associates, and international statesmen and women, confirming “the alarm and serious concerns generated by the defendant’s false publication.”
While promising to tender the call logs showing the text messages, and calls received by him in the aftermath of Onochie’s post, Abubakar described “the entire opprobrious and denigrating story” as “most misleading, baseless, false, malicious and totally bereft of any foundation howsoever.”
He noted that the “inference and grave conclusions” contained in the post were “politically orchestrated” and “invented by the defendant and others of her ilk, solely to cause maximum damage to the high reputation of the claimant, who is currently before the Election Petition Tribunal against her employer and boss, President Muhammadu Buhari, challenging the latter’s purported victory in the last presidential election.”
He said contrary to the said “derogatory, disparaging, mendacious and unrestrained defamatory statement, as published in various print, electronic and online media platforms” he had “never been on the security watch list of the UAE, or any other country, for that matter.
The statement of claim added that “he has neither been denied entry into, interrogated, nor declared wanted by the UAE authorities, or any of its security agencies.
“That claimant was at the time of the said publication in the UAE and was never accosted by any security agencies over the said frivolous and baseless allegations.”
Abubakar prayed among his eight prayers, a declaration by the court that the publications made by Onochie via her social media accounts on May 7, and May 20, 2019, concerning and touching on him “are utterly false, baseless, unfounded and defamatory of the claimant, and injurious to his reputation.”
He also sought an order compelling the defendant to make a retraction of, and an apology to him “for the said offensive twitter and Facebook publications on the same platforms, also to be published in three national newspapers with wide circulation within the country and also broadcast on AIT, Channels and NTA television stations.”
He also sought an order compelling her to write to him, “a letter of unreserved apology for the said offensive twitter and Facebook publications.”
The claimant also sought an order of perpetual injunction restraining her whether by herself, her servants, agents, privies, assigns, friends and /or representatives, or otherwise howsoever, from further posting such “offensive and libellous material or any other form of defamatory statements against his person.
He asked for an order directing the defendant to pay him “the sum ofN2,500,000,000,000 “representing general, aggravated, punitive and exemplary damages over the untold embarrassment, derision, public ridicule, odium, obloquy, marital disharmony, mental agony and psychological trauma which the defendant’s publications have caused the claimant.” (The Sun)
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Atiku Abubakar, the PDP Presidential candidate in the 2019 election has demanded an apology and N500m from Lauretta Onochie over alleged defamation. Atiku through his lawyer Mike Ozekhome, threatened to begin a N2 billion suit against her if she refused to meet his demands, following her claims that he was placed on a watch list in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
However, in a letter which countered the claim, Atiku Abubakar demanded an apology and N500m from Lauretta Onochie over the alleged defamation. He further asked her to publish a retraction in six national newspapers and one international daily, as well as on social media.
The letter reads: “Your odious publication is clearly also aimed at rubbishing our client’s image and reputation,” the letter read.“It has caused him national and international backlash and embarrassment and done incalculable damage to him. Your publication has also caused our client, in the eyes of reasonable members of the public, unspeakable odium, obloquy, hatred, ridicule and psychological trauma.“He has thereby been subjected to the shame and infamy of being viewed by members of the public as not only corrupt but as a terrorist and sponsor of terrorism. Numerous telephone calls, emails, visits, letters and private social media chats by his family members, friends, political and business associates, and international statesmen and women in the last few days attest to the alarm and serious concerns generated by your false publication.” (unclesuru)
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Atiku Abubakar, former Vice President and PDP presidential candidate for 2019
Festus Keyamo said with Atiku’s emergence, Nigerians would choose between a candidate with credibility crises and one with an unblemished record.
Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Personal Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Social Media, Lauretta Onochie, has declared that Atiku Abubakar’s emergence as Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate for the 2019 election has made the job of the President’s team easier.
Also, the spokesman of Buhari/Osinbajo Campaign Organisation, Festus Keyamo, said with Atiku’s emergence, Nigerians would choose between a candidate with credibility crises and one with an unblemished record.
Both presidential aides took to the social media to tackle the former vice president shortly after he emerged the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party for the 2019 elections.
Abubakar was earlier in the day declared the winner of the party’s primary which was held in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
Onochie through her verified @laurestar handle alleged that Atiku ran away from the All Progressives Congress to avoid contesting against Buhari in the primary.
According to her, the fact that Atiku cannot go to the United States of America nor represent the country at the United Nations, has made his defeat at next year’s polls easier.
She also alleged that Atiku spent more money than his co-contestants before he could emerge winner of the contest.
She twitted, “Alhaji Atiku Abubakar outspends Saraki, Tambuwal and others, wins the PDP presidential ticket for 2019.
“Congratulations Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. You have outspent the rest. You have a new toy. But believe it, it is only a dream.
“You ran away from facing President Buhari in a primary, now you’ll meet him at the presidential elections. Ntor!
“14.8 million people made President Buhari their candidate, 26,584 people made Atiku their candidate.
“Bearing in mind that you can’t go to America to represent us at the United Nation, nor meet with Nigerians in America, our job is made easy.
“Sai Baba Buhari. 2019 is settled. God bless Nigeria.”
Keyamo posted the message on his verified Twitter handle, @fkeyamo, “We welcome H.E, Atiku Abubakar to the 2019 campaign trail.
“Nigerians would now decide between a candidate with a history full of credibility crises, damning reports on corruption, both home, abroad and from his former boss and another candidate with an unblemished record in public service.
Onochie also responded to Keyamo’s tweet, saying, “Spot on. Nigerians have new trade currencies.
“Credibility and integrity. Our candidate, Muhammadu Buhari has both in abundance Nigerians will trade with him.
“Nigerians will not trade with Atiku Abubakar. He has neither credibility nor integrity. His currencies are counterfeit.” (The Sun)