Atiku demands N200b damages, retraction from Unongo
Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, has threatened to take legal action against a chieftain of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF), Paul Unongo, for alleging that he (Atiku) is a financier of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria.
The Miyetti Allah is an association of cattle breeders that is being accused of wanton destruction of lives and property in Benue State and other parts of the country.
In a letter yesterday by his lawyer, Mahmud Magaji (SAN), Atiku demanded that Unongo retract “the blatant and malicious falsehood” within seven days, and must be published in all national dailies.
Atiku, who made reference to the publication in a national daily of January 6, also demanded that Unongo should, within 30 days of receiving the letter, pay him N200billion as damages.Unongo was reported by the medium to have claimed that he had interacted with Atiku and knew that he was the most powerful person financing Miyetti Allah, a claim the former vice president has since refuted.
The letter reads in part: “You made this assertion even when you knew that in fact and in truth you never had any such discussion with our client.
“The above allegations aside from being frivolous, callous, baseless and unwarranted are utter falsehood and unjustified.
“Your mischief has gravely defamed our client and painted him in very bad light as a sponsor and instigator of violence across the country, a character you know he does not possess.
“Having given much of his life to the service of his country in various capacities, rising to the enviable position of vice president, our client has continued to function as an elder statesman and stakeholder in the nation’s polity whose core interests lie in the general welfare and unity of the Nigerian populace devoid of ethnic/religious divides.”
Atiku’s lawyer further wrote: “As you very well know, those unwarranted allegations calling our client the financier of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, an organization you made out as the perpetrators of the heinous and wanton destruction of lives and property in Benue State in the recent past, is nothing but complete falsehood. Nothing can indeed be farther from the truth.
“Take notice that our client takes strong exception to these allegations and considers same as an act of character assassination.“Hence, our instruction to demand of you and we so demand that you retract your mischievous allegations and tender an unconditional apology to our client. Such apology should be published in all the national dailies, not later than seven days from the receipt of this letter, inclusive of the date of receipt; and pay to our client by way of damages, the sum of N200billion not later than 30 days from the receipt of this letter, inclusive of the date of receipt.
“Take further notice that should you fail, refuse and or neglect to abide by our simple demands, we would have no choice than to subject you to the rigours of litigation and this we shall do without any further reference to you.”