The national legal adviser of the All Progressives Congress, Muiz Banire, has threatened to sue the Lagos State chairman of the party, Henry Ajomale, for alleged defamation.
In a letter addressed to Mr. Ajomale dated July 9, Mr. Banire’s lawyers demanded an apology and a N500 million compensation from the APC chief.
“As you are aware, our client considers litigation only as a resort,” read the letter by Uwensuyi-Edosomwan & Co. and Heritage Partners.
“In this regard, our client is open to resolving this matter through conciliation, mediation, arbitration or other dispute resolution options you deem most suitable.”
Last week, Mr. Ajomale, while reacting to a court ruling ordering a fresh primary election in Odi-Olowo local council, accused Mr. Banire of misleading the judge.
Some party members had approached a Lagos High Court seeking the cancellation of last May’s party primaries which ended in violence.
The APC chieftain said, in a statement after the judge’s decision, that the court judgment was obtained by deception and described the ruling as an ambush.
“Pray, how can the so-called party members brought in as defendants be the same persons disavowing the party’s primaries?” Mr. Ajomale asked.
“They were the ones who were served the court processes.
Nobody in APC Lagos was served the court processes. They were the plaintiffs and defendants at the same time.
“Muiz Banire filed the suit by proxy; he also procured the lawyer who ‘defended’ the party.
As the Yoruba would say, he invited the thief and also called for law enforcement officers to come and arrest the thief.”
Mr. Ajomale also stated that the court process had been ongoing for over a month but that the party only became aware a day before the ruling.
He added that the party would appeal the court ruling.
“It must be pointed out that this flighty judgment is in respect of Odi-Olowo LCDA.
There is another one also fraudulently filed in respect of Mushin and recall that Odi-Olowo and Mushin are the two local governments where Banire comes from.
“The fraudulent cases are a testimony to how an officer is busy abusing his position.”
But Mr. Banire’s lawyers insisted their client was neither a claimant nor a defendant in the cases filed before the courts, adding that he merely discharged his role as the party’s national legal adviser by appointing counsels to defend the party.
“In the said publication, you cast aspersion on the personality of our client as someone who procures judgment by fraud, subverts the course of justice and manipulates the judicial process for ulterior motives,” Mr. Banire’s lawyers continued in the letter.
“It is certain that you know very well the status of our client as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and a member of the Body of Benchers who would not engage in anything capable of subverting the course of justice.”
The lawyers further claimed that since Mr. Ajomale’s statement was published, Mr. Banire’s friends and relatives had inundated him with calls asking why he would engage in such a “despicable act.”
The lawyers demanded a retraction of the publication and an “unreserved apology” in two national daily newspapers, one of which must be ThisDay newspapers, where Mr. Ajomale’s statement was first published.
They also demanded N500 million as compensation for seeking to “maliciously destroy” Mr. Banire’s reputation.