The chief of staff to the Kogi state governor, Edward Onoja, has demanded for the withdrawal of a report suggesting he plotted to attack a former Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Jibrin Usman (rtd).
Onoja in a letter by his lawyers, FemJoe & Associates, addressed to the editor in chief of The Guardian newspapers, demanded that the report, which also suggested that he was arrested by the Department of State Services (DSS), be retracted.
The report was published on Tuesday, June 4th, 2019 and reported by some other online news sites.
The DSS has since denied arresting Onoja in a statement from its spokesman, Peter Afunanya.
“The said news, relating to the arrest of Onoja, is fake and misleading and should be disregarded as the DSS never carried out such operation,” Afunanya said.
Part of the letter to The Guardian read: “Our client takes vehement exception to the said malicious publication as he was neither invited nor detained by the DSS or any other security agency either on Friday or any other time material to this publication or the alleged plot.
“Contrary to your allegations in the said malicious and libelous publication, our client was in Lokoja with friends and political associates for meetings at all material time, only traveling to Abuja or other places as duty demands.
“Our client declares that the said story published against him by you on the 4/6/2019 is false, malicious, grossly offensive and indecent.
“That the said story has caused annoyance, inconvenience and needless anxiety to Our Client’s family and well-wishers.
“That as you well know, the 2019 gubernatorial elections in Kogi state have been scheduled by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for November 16 and both our client’s boss, Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi state and the alleged target of the alleged killer squad allegedly led by our client, former Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Jibrin Usman (rtd), are both aspirants.
“That you well know, our client’s said boss and the former Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Jibrin Usman (rtd) who is the alleged target of the alleged killer squad allegedly led by Our Client both hope to become the flag-bearer of the All Progressives Congress (APC) after the party’s primaries thus giving the false impression that our client is on a mission to eliminate one of his principal’s competitors through unholy and illegal means.”
The law firm stated that the report had caused embarrassment to Onjoa, his employer, party members and political associates.
“You have also lent your considerable voice to scoring cheap political points in Kogi state by a ploy to destroy our client and the political careers of anyone associated with him.
“As a result of the said defamatory publication, our client has been inundated with calls from well-meaning Nigerians both home and abroad angry or worried over his alleged roles in the aforesaid dastardly and criminal enterprise, which is a definite blot on the person and character of our client,” the lawyers stated.
The firm requested that the newspaper publish a retraction of the said false story on its front page, write a letter of apology to Onoja and pay the sum of one hundred million naira as compensation.
“Note that unless our client’s demands are are fully meet within seven days from the day of the receipt of this letter by you, we shall be constrained to institute a legal action against your organization in a competent court of justice,” the firm warned.