Sports Minister Dare Threatens to Sue Radio Presenter, Seek N10bn for Defamation

Sports Minister Dare Threatens to Sue Radio Presenter, Seek N10bn for Defamation

The Founder and main presenter of the Human Rights Radio, Mr. Ahmed Isah, has been asked to retract his unfounded accusations against the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr. Sunday Dare, and apologise within seven days or face a civil suit of N10,000,000,000.00 in damages.

This was contained in a letter dated Thursday, December 12, 2019, sent by the Sports Minister’s lawyers, Okechukwu C. Uju-Azorji, Esq. and Festus Ukpe, Esq.

The letter was titled “DEMAND TO RETRACT BRIBERY ALLEGATION PUBLISHED AGAINST THE PERSON OF MR. SUNDAY DARE AND TO CEASE FROM MAKING ANY FURTHER DEFAMATORY PUBLICATIONS AGAINST HIM.”

It reads in part: ‘Our attention has been drawn to a programme popularly known as “Brekete Family Programme” aired on your station on the mornings of 11th & 12th December, 2019. In the course of the said programme, you made defamatory statements against our client. Specifically, on 11th December, 2019, in the course of the said programme, you made the following statement:
“Any minister wey just land, the first thing wey this people go do na to give you 200 million naira. So if it be say this Dare don collect 200 million naira, if no be so why him no put mouth”
Additionally, on 12th December, 2019, in the course of the programme, you also made the following statement:
“As soon as dem appoint you minister, dem dey give the person 200 million naira so wetin me I dey suspect be say, no be say this present minister of sports no get the capacity, e be like say monkey hand don resemble human being hand, maybe he collect the 200 million naira and him neck don dey deep, if he try to dig, maybe him leg go show.

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“We have our client’s [Sports minister] instructions to demand an unreserved apology and a retraction of the defamatory publication in favour of our client to be broadcast in your programme and published in two (2) newspapers with nationwide coverage within seven (7) days of your receipt of this letter. Kindly note that in the event that you refuse to comply with the above requests, we will be left with no options than to seek redress for our client through the instrumentality of the judicial process and thereby seek injunctive reliefs and Ten Billion Naira (N10,000,000,000.00) in damages for the embarrassment which your publication has occasioned our client.”

It is unclear if the recipient has responded to the letter.

Full text of the letter below:

Thursday, December 12, 2019
The Founder/Chief Executive Officer,
Human Rights Radio,
Abuja.

Dear Sir,
DEMAND TO RETRACT BRIBERY ALLEGATION PUBLISHED AGAINST THE PERSON OF MR. SUNDAY DARE AND TO CEASE FROM MAKING ANY FURTHER DEFAMATORY PUBLICATIONS AGAINST HIM
We are solicitors to Mr. Sunday Dare, the Honourable Minister of Youth and Sports Development (hereinafter referred to as ‘our client’) and on whose behalf we write you this letter.
Our attention has been drawn to a programme popularly known as “Brekete Family Programme” aired on your station on the mornings of 11th &12th December, 2019. In the course of the said programme, you made defamatory statements against our client. Specifically, on 11th December, 2019, in the course of the said programme, you made the following statement:
“Any minister wey just land, the first thing wey this people go do na to give you 200 million naira. So if it be say this Dare don collect 200 million naira, if no be so why him no put mouth”
Additionally, on 12th December, 2019, in the course of the programme, you also made the following statement:
“As soon as dem appoint you minister, dem dey give the person 200 million naira so wetin me I dey suspect be say, no be say this present minister of sports no get the capacity, e be like say monkey hand don resemble human being hand, maybe he collect the 200 million naira and him neck don dey deep, if he try to dig, maybe him leg go show.”

Further to the foregoing, you provided your programme as a platform from which one Tunde Aderibigbe and Harrison Jalla made similar defamatory statements through direct reference and innuendo.
The ordinary meaning of the above statements suggests that our client is a corrupt and fraudulent public officer who collects bribes for the purposes of perverting justice. Curiously, all the aforementioned defamatory statements were unfounded, baseless and made without any scintilla of evidence but for the purpose of disparaging our client and denigrating the excellent work he is doing at the Ministry of Sports.

If your outfit had toed the path of responsible journalism and had investigated the activities of our client in public service before the mad dash for the defamatory publication, you would have discovered that our client is a responsible public officer who has maintained a high reputation for integrity both in public office and in his private dealings. The damage which your embarrassing broadcast has caused our client is unimaginable and totally unacceptable to him.

We have our client’s instructions to demand an unreserved apology and a retraction of the defamatory publication in favour of our client to be broadcast in your programme and published in two (2) newspapers with nationwide coverage within seven (7) days of your receipt of this letter. Kindly note that in the event that you refuse to comply with the above requests, we will be left with no options than to seek redress for our client through the instrumentality of the judicial process and thereby seek injunctive reliefs and Ten Billion Naira (N10,000,000,000.00) in damages for the embarrassment which your publication has occasioned our client. Thank you.
Yours sincerely,

For: Festus Keyamo Chambers

OKECHUKWU C. UJU-AZORJI, ESQ.​​​ FESTUS UKPE, ESQ.
Counsel

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