A former Governor of Ekiti State and Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Kayode Fayemi, has gone to court, slamming a N3 billion libel suit against a two state officials over
alleged defamatory statements against him.
Mr. Fayemi filed the suit against a member of the Ekiti State House of Assembly, Samuel Omotoso, and the Special Assistant on New Media and Public Communications to Governor Ayodele Fayose, Lere Olayinka,
The suit followed the refusal of the defendants to retract the statements made against the minister and to tender public apology as demanded by his counsel, Rafiu Balogun, in a letter dated November 19, 2016.
Mr. Fayemi in a suit number 6/577/2016, filed at the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory in the Abuja Judicial Division, is seeking among others, payment of “aggravated damages” to the tune of N3 billion.
The amount has a breakdown of N2 billion against Lere Olayinka, the first defendant and another N1bilion aggravated damages against Mr. Omotoso, the second
Mr. Fayemi is also seeking a retraction of what he termed the offensive statements/utterances; a public apology to be published and aired on Ekiti State Television and Channels Television as well as the social media.
He asked for a perpetual injunction restraining the defendants from publishing or making libellous statements or utterances against him.
A statement by the media aide to Mr. Fayemi, Olayinka Oyebode, on Wednesday, said Messrs. Omotoso and Olayinka had during an EKTV live programme also broadcast on a cable network, Startimes, on July 6, 2016 alleged that Mr. Fayemi illegally took N1.5 billion from Ekiti treasury and gave it to the then presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Muhammadu Buhari, to win the 2015 presidential election.
“Olayinka also said that Fayemi illegally collected N5 billion from Ecobank in the name of Fountain Holdings for purported road construction,” the statement read.
“He also alleged that Fayemi spent the state’s funds to build a private university for himself in Ghana.
“For failing to retract the offending statements and tender public apology within the stipulated period, Fayemi’s counsel is asking the court for reliefs compelling the defendants to pay damages for the statements against him which had portrayed him as a “very corrupt public office holder and fraudulent person who siphoned public funds at the detriment of Ekiti citizens while serving as governor.”
The House of Assembly in Ekiti State had in October last year petitioned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, accusing the former governor of mismanaging the state’s N40billion in the form of contracts during his tenure as governor of the state.
Following the inaction of the EFCC regarding the petition, the house on Monday submitted a reminder to the commission, calling for an investigation into the allegations, threatening to sue the commission fails to commence action.
Mr. Fayemi in his suit claimed that he was exposed to “public ridicule, odium, opprobrium, embarrassment and unprecedented disrepute,” arguing further that Messrs. Omotoso and Olayinka had done “incalculable and tremendous injury” to his image and personality as an international figure.
He said given the nature of the libel, the wider publication of the offending statements and posting and having done it maliciously and failure to apologise to him when requested to do so, he is entitled to aggravated damages from the defendants.
Mr. Olayinka, while reacting to the suit, said Mr. Fayemi had a lot of petitions against him on how he mismanaged the economy of Ekiti State.
“I think his going to court will afford us the opportunity to expose him further,” he said.
“Why did he not come to Ekiti, why did he choose to go to Abuja to file the suit, it is something that happened here in Ekiti and he is also from Ekiti State.
“We are not afraid of him, he can go to court, he should explain where is the flowers he said he paid for, the SUBEB funds.
“He brought us to where we are today by taking all frivolous loans that we are suffering from today.”