Political cross-firing over Boko Haram between the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the main opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) has gone into legal battle as the chieftain of APC, Malam Nasiru el-Rufai dragged PDP to court claiming N1.5 Billion damages.
El-Rufai sued PDP along with the party’s national publicity secretary, Olisah Metuh for linking him with the Boko Haram sect. Former military Head of State, General Muhammadu Buhari has also been threatening to take PDP to court on the same ground.
In the libel suit he filed before an Abuja high court sitting at Gudu, El-Rufai, insisted that the defendants should be compelled to pay him the sum of N1.5billion for tarnishing his public image via a press statement that alleged that both himself and the All Progressive Congress, APC, are connected to the Boko Haram insurgents.
He told the court that Metuh, in another publication that was sponsored by the PDP, alleged that he (El-Rufai) collected N5bn as consultancy fee from the suspended governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi.
Metuh was said to have made the claims in the March 17 and 23 editions of This Day Newspaper.
In the suit dated April 2, 2014, El-Rufai, equally joined the newspaper as the third defendant in the matter.
The former minister insisted that the publications greatly damaged his reputation and occasioned an irreparable damage to his hard-earned public image by portraying him as a corrupt, money laundering, reckless, lawless, greedy and unscrupulous public figure.
He maintained that the publications were “in furtherance of the defendants’ campaign of calumny” against him.
Meantime, Justice Abubakar Talba has adjourned the case to June 5 for mention, even as he ordered service of the court processes on all the defendants.
Specifically, the plaintiff is seeking an order awarding N1bn as general damages against Metuh and PDP.
He is further asking for another order awarding additional N500m as general damages jointly and severally against all the three defendants.
Moreso, the ex-Minister, is urging the court to award cost in his favour for “the injury, embarrassment and distress suffered by the plaintiff 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 prayed 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”.
More so, he wants the court to give an order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants from further defaming him.