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Wikki Times: Dogara Demands Apology, Libelous Story Retraction Within 3 Days

Vows To Take Legal Action Against Publishers

By Idris Khalid

House of Representatives former Speaker, Hon. Yakubu Dogara has threatened to institute legal action against publishers of online news blog Wikki Times over defamatory and libelous story published against him.

In the said libelous story published on June 28, 2021 the online blog alleged that the former Speaker “connived” with the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) to squander a fictitious sum of N1 billion meant for renovation of schools in his federal constituency.

Dogara, a member of the House representing Bogoro/Dass/Tafawa Balewa federal constituency addressed and delivered the letter of his demand to Publishers of Wikki Times Media, and Publishing Limited, dated July 2nd, 2021.

The letter was written by his counsels, Barristers Ahmed A. Accanny and S. N. Yusuf from Baushe Chambers Bauchi, demanding for immediate retraction of the defamatory story and written apology to Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara within three days from the date of the receipt of the letter or risk legal action.

It reads in part, “Your disingenuous publication purported to elicit information from some named persons one of whom is one Mr. Gideon Gambo, whom your spurious publication claim is an uncle to our client and NUT.

“Chairman of Bogoro Local Government. Your publication went on to recklessly quote the said Mr. Gideon Gambo, a fictitious uncle to our client”.

“It is very glaring that nowhere in your ignoble publication other than the sensational headline did you trace the release of the sum of 1 billion naira to UBEC for the construction of Model schools which UBEC undertakes at 250 million naira and have constructed same in many states across the country”.

“Since you have categorically failed to state whether the purported sum of 1 billion naira was released and to whom, how therefore did you arrive at the conclusion that our client in conjunction with UBEC has squandered a nonexistent sum of 1 billion naira? It is crystal clear that you have left no intelligent person in doubt as to the fact that your mendacious publication was just meant to defame our client”.

“As though the foregoing was not enough, you went on to personally state that the proposed ICT centre in the community has been converted to an APC warehouse used by Dogara. The building which has an APC Logo, the political party of Dogara, is behind his house.”  Our client finds it shocking that you went to great lengths to starkly defame him without a shred of evidence and had to resort to base conjecture and suppositions”.

The letter added, “In sharp contrast to what your unfounded publication would have the world believe, our client has no uncle dead or alive that bears the name Mr. Gideon Gambo in which by virtue of your publication is the acclaimed principal of Gwarangah Secondary School and chairman of NUT, Bogoro L.G.A”.

Counsels explained that their client was not aware of the release of the sum of 1 billion naira to any entity by UBEC for the construction of schools in his constituency other than a budgetary line of 1 billion naira for the construction of Model Schools in Dass Central Primary School, Tafawa Balewa Central Primary School, Bogoro Primary School and Gwarangah Primary School at the cost of 250 billion naira each.

It however said that there wasn’t any budgetary release of the monies appropriated for the proposed projects to have been undertaken, stressing “It is also noteworthy that contrary to the letters of your defamatory publication, no project was ever listed in the budget for Junior Secondary School in Gwarangah”.

“Our client is baffled by the fact that you opted to feign ignorance of the fact that the responsibility of fixing and rehabilitating schools lies with the state government and not on our client who as a legislator merely but concertedly nominates the schools where the projects will be carried out”.

Letter similarly recalled, “The grossly unfounded claim that books meant for school children are stashed in our client’s house at Gwarangah and that the ICT centre at Gwarangah bears the APC logo are not only fantastic lies but seem like a carefully crafted scene of a fictitious movie”.

“Our client is equally marveled and mortified by your publication’s insinuations that he works for UBEC and superintends over their projects all in a bid to defame him”. 

Counsels therefore gave publishers of Wikki Times 72 hours from the date of service of the letter to retract the defamatory publication against their client and unequivocally apologize for the same through the same medium.

They argued that failure to abide by the conditions, would have no option other than to proceed to seek legal redress against publishers of Wikki Times before a competent court of law in the course of which they shall claim substantial damages against it.

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