False Allegations: Osinbajo threatens to sue Google, Vanguard apologises

Nigeria's Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo. [PHOTO CREDIT: Osinbajo's official twitter account]
Nigeria's Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo. [PHOTO CREDIT: Osinbajo's official twitter account]

Nigeria’s Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, has threatened to sue Google over ‘false allegations‘ made against him on a YouTube page.

A video report published on September 20 on the video-sharing site by Roots TV Nigeria alleged that Mr Osinbajo “used” federal agencies under his supervision as vice president “to stack funds” for 2023 general elections.

The allegation is based mainly on a claim made by Katch Ononuju, described in the report as a political analyst.

Mr Ononuju in the Roots TV report said there is an “anticipation” that Mr Osinbajo will run for president in 2023.

The vice president’s lawyers said in the letter to Google that the report was untrue and defamatory.

“The publication is undoubtedly a barefaced attempt to unfairly discredit and expose our client to contempt and ridicule in the eyes of right-thinking members of the society,” the lawyers said.

The vice president demanded that Google remove or suspend the publication immediately or be ready for legal action.

The letter was delivered to the Google office in Lagos.

There have been critical reports, most of them unsubstantiated, against Mr Osinbajo of late in the media.

Some of the reports claimed there is a power tussle between the vice president and a cabal which wants to edge him out of the presidency because of succession politics.

Also on Wednesday, Vanguard newspaper apologised to Mr Osinbajo over a news report alleging that he mismanaged N90 billion said to have been released by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) for the 2019 general elections.

The Vanguard story was based on an interview with Timi Frank, a former deputy national publicity secretary of the APC, who had long fallen out with the leadership of the party.

Mr Frank did not substantiate the allegation which has since been debunked by the FIRS.

“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,” the agency’s spokesperson, Wahab Gbadamosi, said on Monday.

Vanguard said in a statement posted on its website on Wednesday, “We have since discovered that the story lacks factual substance and we hereby retract it in its entirety.”

The paper apologised to the vice president, the APC, and the FIRS for “any inconvenience or embarrassment the publication has occasioned them”.

“We hold Professor Osinbajo, SAN in the highest esteem,” it said in the statement.

The report was yet to be pulled down from the Vanguard website as at Wednesday night.

The vice president was yet to react to the apology as at the time of filing this report.

He has said he is ready to wave his constitutionally guaranteed immunity to ensure persons who spread falsehood about him were brought to book. He particularly mentioned Mr Frank and Mr Ononuju is the tweets threatening the lawsuit.

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