Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Wednesday said he was willing to waive his constitutionally guaranteed immunity to ensure persons who spread falsehood about him were brought to book.
Mr Osinbajo stated this on his verified Twitter page on Wednesday.
The vice president was reacting to claims made by a former APC official, Timi Frank, that the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) provided campaign funds for Mr Osinbajo during the 2019 elections.
“In the past few days, a spate of reckless and malicious falsehoods have been peddled in the media against me by a group of malicious individuals. The defamatory and misleading assertions invented by this clique have been making the social media rounds anonymously,” Mr Osinbajo said.
“I have today instructed the commencement of legal action against two individuals, one Timi Frank and another Katch Ononuju, who have put their names to these odious falsehoods.
“I will waive my constitutional immunity to enable the most robust adjudication of these claims of libel and malicious falsehood,” he said.
Timi Frank, a former deputy national publicity secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), accused Mr Osinbajo of mismanaging N90 billion allegedly provided by the FIRS for the 2019 election campaign.
Mr Frank has, since losing out in the APC power struggle, been very critical of the party and the Muhammadu Buhari administration.
Mr Frank did not provide any evidence to support his latest claim.
The FIRS has since debunked Mr Frank’s allegation.
Wahab Gbadamosi, FIRS director of information, on Monday dismissed the claim, saying the agency’s annual allocation is not up to N90 billion.
“The attention of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, has been drawn to publication in some online and daily newspapers by a certain Comrade Timi Frank, the former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who claimed that the FIRS supported the`APC, through the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo with a phantom N90 billion.”
“… IT IS NOT PLAUSIBLE nor DOES IT MAKE ANY SENSE that FIRS will commit its resources to a phantom campaign of N90 billion as suggested by Mr. Timi Frank and FIRS does not fund political associations,” Mr Gbadamosi said.
The spokesperson said the FIRS is a creation of statute and its activities are governed by the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and financials regulations and thus, “IT IS NOT PLAUSIBLE, that its funds could be expended in such a cavalier manner as suggested by Mr. Timi Frank.”
The other person mentioned by Mr Osinbajo, Mr Ononuju, is a public affairs analyst, who at different times had criticized the APC-led government and its policies. It was not clear, at the time of this report, if Mr Ononuju made the same claim as Mr Frank or a different one.
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