Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, has petitioned the Anglican Church on the Peninsula over a statement by a church member describing the lawyer as “deceitful” and “fake,” and only “chasing human rights donations.”
A copy of the petition made available to PREMIUM TIMES quoted one Uche Obiajulu saying in the Men’s Fellowship Whatsapp platform of the Anglican Church on the Peninsula, Royal Garden Estate, Ajiwe, Ajah, on October 17 that “90% of the so-called social critics including Falana are fake and deceitful. It’s only NGO human right (sic) donations they are chasing for.”
The church member alleged that Mr Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, demanded 50 per cent of “demand promises” in a case between councillors in Anambra State and Governor Willie Obiano when the case was settled out of court.
He said from the “meagre money” given to the councillors, Mr Falana “wanted and collected 50% of it and calculated what he termed administrative charges, even threatened to go to court.”
Mr Falana, through his lawyer, Malachy Ugwummadu, said the social media post against him is malicious and libelous.
The lawyer demanded a retraction of the publication, an apology, as well as N50 million compensation.
“You know or ought reasonably to know that the content of the said story already published about our client is false yet, you maliciously caused same to be published with the sole aim of bringing our client to disrepute.
“By your publication, you falsely, maliciously, intentionally, unconscionably stated and was understood to mean that our client is fake and of dubious character in your choice of words when you stated: “It’s only NGO human right donations that are chasing for.
“By your said publication you persevered in your falsehood insisting that our client fleeced the Anambra State Councilors when he demanded and collected 50% of settlement out of court blackmailing and threatened them with a court action,” the petition partly reads.
Mr Falana’s lawyer said the publication has “lowered his image in the eyes of the numerous readers of the unfortunate story both on the church platform and other platforms where the story was forwarded to within Nigeria and overseas.”
He added that the publication, which suggested that Mr Falana is dishonest, fraudulent, dishonourable, untrustworthy and corrupt, is not only a “deliberately contrived falsehood but a wicked contraption” that exists in the writer’s imagination.
“As a result of your said publication, our client has been gravely damaged in his reputation and standing as he has been bombarded with a deluge of telephone calls, letters, messages, personal calls of friends, family members, well-wishers demanding to ascertain the authenticity of the said publication,” the petition reads.
The lawyer added that the statement was published with no verifiable proof, investigation or hearing of Mr Falana’s side and demanded a written apology to be published in at least two daily national newspapers including the Punch and Guardian Newspapers.
Femi Oladokun, the acting secretary of the church, confirmed the receipt of the petition to PREMIUM TIMES.
“We got the letter, we have forwarded to the person named on the letter. We are waiting for him to react, whatsoever he says we will surely communicate to the chambers,” Mr Oladokun added.
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