Legal Nigeria

Forfeited properties: Army general threatens lawsuit over publication

By Guardian

Onyechi Ikpeazu, the lawyer to Major General Jafaru Mohammed has threatened to sue a national daily for its reportage of an Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) case.

The Army General currently works in the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA).

Ikpeazu, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) said Mohammed’s image was damaged after the judgment of a Federal High Court was wrongly presented.

Justice Nkeonye Evelyn Maha delivered judgment in February after an ex-parte application by the EFCC.

The anti-graft agency informed the court that the late General Aminu Maude and associates acquired N3billion assets from proceeds of unlawful activities.

“I observed that the name of General Jafaru Mohammed was never mentioned in the originating ex-parte application and the respondent (EFCC) did not rebut this fact.

“It is clear General Jafaru is not on trial here and the Court has not been asked to decide his guilt or innocence in this case”, the judge said.

Ikpeazu noted that the newspaper in reference reported the verdict in a manner that painted Mohammed in a bad light.

In a letter to the Editor-in-Chief, the SAN said the story conveyed an “unfounded information” that Muade, Atlasfield Integrated Services Nigeria Ltd, Marhaba Events Place, Aflac Plastics and Atlasfield Gas Plant Ltd are proxies of his client.

“This allegation is not contained in the judgment or the media releases issued by Wilson Uwujaren, the Public Relations Officer of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

“This false publication has caused serious damage to our client’s reputation and good name amongst his peers, family members, associates, and colleagues who accord him great respect and hold him in very high esteem. 

“Your publication which is a faux pas is a bid to tarnish our client’s image by creating a cheap media sensation linking a serving Military General with corruption.”

The legal practitioner demanded that a retraction and a letter of apology “be published in at least 5 print media circulated nationwide and 5 renowned online media outfits including your own”.