Defamation: Saraki’s lawyer, Afe Babalola writes Gov. AbdulRazaq, demands apology, N20bn compensation

The immediate past Senate President, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki has demanded a public apology and #20billion damages from the Kwara State Governor, Mallam AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq over alleged defamatory statement he recently made against his person.
This was according to a letter sent to the Governor from the office of the legal representatives of Saraki, Afe Babalola & Co. on his behalf dated 30th of December last year.
It would be recalled that Governor AbdulRazaq on 25th December 2022 at the inauguration of the campaign council for the APC senatorial candidate for Kwara Central, alleged Saraki of being involved in embezzlement of funds belonging to UBEC.
This was according to a publication by Daily Trust Newspaper on the 26th December 2022 which the news report was captioned: “ABDULRAZAQ KNOCKS EX-GOVS SARAKI, AHMED OVER UBEC FUNDS”.
“I went to Abuja to ask UBEC why Kwara was blacklisted for seven years and was told the funds have been embezzled. But when I inquired why UBEC did not prosecute them, they said their leader (Saraki) was the Senate President and they would have a problem defending and getting their budget approved if they had taken such action,” The Governor was reported to have said.
The legal luminary, Afe Babalola SAN in the letter, stated that the Governor was only trying to blackmail Saraki with the allegation that he embezzled funds belonging to Kwara State and earmarked for the advancement of the primary education of its indigenes and residents and also using his office as the then Senate President to frustrate investigations.
According to Afe Babalola, Saraki who was the President of the Senate ,“was not the executive governor of Kwara State, so he could not have been involved in any form of embezzlement of the funds of Kwara State.
“Furthermore, there is no evidence that, as Senate President, our client relied on his office or position to shield anyone from investigation and prosecution.
“It has not been mentioned that our client was in the habit of blackmailing MDAs with the non-passage of their budget while he was Senate President. Nonetheless, you chose to make this statement against our client”.
He described the allegations as malicious, unwarranted and intended to incite reasonable members of the public, particularly the electorate in Kwara State and Nigeria as a whole, against Saraki.

In the three pages letter, Saraki demanded that the Governor retract his statement, publish the written apology to him on the front page of three widely read national daily newspapers and pay him #20billion as compensation for the damage occasioned to him by the statement.
Saraki however threatens that failure of the Governor to accede to his demands will result him seeking a redress at the court of law.
He said, “Be advised that your failure to accede to our client’s request will constrain us to proceed with our client’s outstanding instruction to seek redress against you at the appropriate time and Court”.

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