A former Deputy Governor of Osun State, Iyiola Omisore, has sued the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission claiming N10billion as damages over an alleged libelous publication by the commission.
In the suit filed at the Federal High Court in Abuja on Friday, Mr. Omisore claimed that the publication contained on page 37 of the Nation Newspaper of May 25, 2016 maliciously declared him “wanted” in connection with a case of receiving and misappropriating the sum of over N700 Million from the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA).
The publication referred to reads, “The public is hereby notified that Iyiola Ajani Omisore whose photograph appears above is wanted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in connection with a case of receiving and misappropriating the sum of over N700 Million between June–November 2014 from the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA). He has refused to make himself available to the Commission for clarifications in the investigation since invitation via a letter dated 7th April, 2016.”
“Whereof the Plaintiff claims against Defendants as follows: The sum of N10 billon being Aggravated and Exemplary damages for libel and injurious falsehood maliciously published of and concerning the Plaintiff in the pages of the Nation Newspaper of 18th May, 2016 whereof the Defendants declared the Plaintiff wanted,” the suit stated.
“An Order of perpetual injunction restraining the Defendants either by themselves, their agents, officers, servants, privies or otherwise however called from making such or similar defamatory publication of and concerning the Plaintiff to any person or persons.”
Mr. Omisore told the court that the content of the publication “is completely false, misleading and defamatory.”
He said by the publication, the defendants damaged his character, integrity and persona by alluding that he was a fugitive of dishonourable character seeking to elude the law
“That the Plaintiff is a fraudster who has deliberately refused to honour an invitation by the 1st Defendant in relation to criminal allegations of fraud,” the suit stated, enumerating the damages done by the publication.
“That the Plaintiff lacks financial credit and has been involved in criminal misappropriation.
“That the Plaintiff’s hard-earned reputation is questionable.
“That the Plaintiff is a person to be avoided and shunned by the Society being a fugitive and a man of questionable character.
“The Plaintiff avers that since the publication, he has received numerous phone calls all over the world from family members, friends, business and political associates, concerned residents of towns in which he holds chieftaincy titles and old school mates abroad.
“Further to paragraph 17 above, the Plaintiff has been subjected to daily interrogation by friends, business and political associates who are now of the opinion that the Plaintiff is a person tainted with fraud and ought not to be accorded any goodwill.”
Mr. Omisore said he was compelled to seek the protection of the court when he became aware that the EFCC’s invitation was a “deliberate ploy to arrest and detain him on account of the civil transaction between Finex Gilt Lts and the Office of the National Security Adviser.
According to him, he got the court to protect his fundamental human rights in no. FCT/HC/CV/1456/2016 when the court restrained the EFCC from arresting him and the commission was duly served and duly filed a counter affidavit.
“Regardless of the above state of affairs, the 1st Defendant acting through the 2nd Defendant pretending that it was not aware of the fact that the action was pending and that the Court Order was subsisting and most importantly that the Plaintiff had through the action submitted the issue of is invitation to the Court proceeded to make the false and malicious publication declaring the Plaintiff wanted for not honouring its invitation,” the suit stated.
Mr. Omisore held that the said publication by the defendants eroded the confidence of private enterprises, public institutions, business associates, friends and the general public in his character, goodwill and reputation.
According to him, he continues to suffer untold hardship, emotional distress and irreparable loss and damage as a result of the defendants’ publication.