• Tuesday, May 28, 2024
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Betta Edu, suspended humanitarian minister, threatens lawsuit against BBC News, demands $50million

Betta Edu

Betta Edu, the suspended minister of humanitarian affairs and poverty alleviation, has issued a legal threat against the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) for what is claimed to be defamatory reporting.

In a letter from her lawyer, Chikaosolu Ojukwu, a senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), addressed to the BBC’s offices in Abuja and London, Edu disputes the report that N30 billion was recovered from her by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The lawyer stated that the report has harmed Edu’s reputation and has caused her distress. The letter demands $50 million in compensation from the BBC.

“Our client has suffered immeasurable reputational damage, psychological trauma and anguish as a direct consequence of the publication and dissemination of the article,” the letter reads in part.

The letter stated that Edu’s legal team is concerned about a BBC article suggesting that N30 billion was recovered from Edu by the EFCC and that 50 bank accounts linked to the recovered funds are associated with her.

The article also mentions Edu’s previous suspension in January due to allegations of diverting public funds into a personal account.

“We write to express our deep concern regarding the recent article published by the BBC on its website: www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-Africa (Last accessed on 9th April 2024 at17:40 GMT) titled: “Betta Edu Probe: Nigeria Recover $24m in Poverty Minister Investigation- EFCC” with the byline “Nigeria Has Recovered 30bn Naira ($24m; £19m) as Part of an Ongoing Corruption probe Into a Suspended Minister, the Financial Watchdog Says,” the letter stated.

The letter criticised the BBC’s article for suggesting guilt without evidence and for not allowing Edu to respond before publication, calling it a breach of journalistic standards.

It asserted that Edu has not been indicted or found responsible for financial misconduct and that no such funds have been recovered from her accounts or linked to her as proceeds of crime. The letter emphasised Edu’s innocence and the lack of evidence against her.

“First and foremost, the language used in describing our client’s purported involvement in the alleged corruption case suggests guilt without allowing for the presumption of innocence, which is fundamental in any fair and unbiasedreporting. The reckless manner in which the article was crafted, without providing our client with the opportunity to respond to the allegations before its wide publication, is a clear breach of journalistic fairness and due process and demonstrates a complete disregard for journalistic integrity and professionalism.

“The headline, content, and tone of the article imply guilt on the part of our client, without any concrete evidence to substantiate such claims. This is a blatant attempt to tarnish our client’s reputation and undermine her credibility which she has earned over the course of her distinguished career in both private and public life,” it stated.