The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), on Monday vowed to take legal action against online news medium, Sahara Reporters, over what he described as defamatory publications made against him.
Malami, in a statement signed by his spokesman, Umar Gwandu, said the consequence of the criminal defamation published by Sahara Reporters has subjected him to considerable distress, psychological trauma, anxiety, and greatly injured his character and reputation, which is capable of lowering his estimation in the eyes of right-thinking persons in the society.
He said series of prejudicial articles/materials were published by Sahara Reporters Inc. which were adverse against him, disparaged his reputation via its online internet platform and broadcast on the internet via the Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and other similar social media platforms where same could be viewed and assessed by the whole world and further shared and/or disseminated virally without restraint.
He alleged particularly that on the 10th, 11th and 12th of July 2020, Sahara Reporters, in what appears like a coordinated attack, viciously wrote and maliciously published libelous and criminally defamatory articles against his personality.
The minister said it was pertinent to note that the publications were untrue, fabrication, or at best a figment of imagination of Sahara Reporters and were unsupported howsoever.
He said since the 10th of July 2020 when the defamatory articles were first published, he has received several telephone calls and visits from well-meaning Nigerians, his friends, well-wishers and associates from all over the world, including those he has dealt with/still dealing with in his official capacity as Nigeria’s chief law officer, many of whom have expressed serious concerns over the publication.
He said the publication of malicious libel and criminal defamation published against him by Sahara Reporters was with a view to disparage him in the eyes of right-thinking persons, contrary to Nigerian Criminal and Penal Laws and a gross violation of his Right to Dignity of Human Person as guaranteed under the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).
On the premise of the foregoing, Malami gave the medium a seven-day ultimatum to retract all the libelous and criminally defamatory publications against him and issue a public apology to be published on the platform and on the front pages of three national newspapers for three consecutive days.
According to Malami, a senior lawyer has already been briefed to deal with the matter as may be appropriate, in the event of failure to retract the publication in question and offer the requested apology within the stipulated time.