• Tuesday, April 23, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Emefiele demands apology, N25bn compensation from Akpabio over ‘defamatory’ statement

Emefiele (1) (1)

Godwin Emefiele, the embattled ex-governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria has demanded an unreserved apology and compensation to the tune of N25 billion from Senate President Godswill Akpabio over his recent statement attributing Emefiele’s actions to the current hardship endured by Nigerians.

Emefiele, who is currently facing charges bordering on procurement fraud, made this demand through a letter dated February 19 and addressed to the Senate President. The letter titled: Defamatory Statement against Godwin Ifeanyi Emefiele, and Demand For Retraction and Apology” was served by his legal representative Matthew Burkaa and seen by BusinessDay.

Akpabio, during a Thanksgiving service in Rivers State, blamed Emefiele, for the current economic woes and attendant hardship in the country due to certain monetary policies and actions he implemented during his tenure.

“So the kind of debt and the kind of economic mess that we are in, a lot of people do not understand, I remember President Obama saying you cannot know Washington until you get to Washington. So by the time we went in to look at the economic state of the country, it was terrible, so the Former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria we didn’t even know what to charge him, whether to charge him for putting foam on the … or to charge him for illegal possession of Fire Arms or to Charge him for printing notes without income, I don’t know what we are going to charge him with. But, what I know is that, yes there is hunger today because of the policies that they took” the Senate President had said.

Emefiele threatened to seek legal redress if Akpabio did not retract the statement in writing, publish it, broadcast it on national television, and pay the compensation.

Burkaa, in the letter, said the “baseless and false allegations” clearly defame the character of Emefiele and have also caused him great pains and embarrassment as it has lowered his esteem before the right-thinking members of the Society in addition to the obvious odium and opprobrium from the unsuspecting members of the Society as a result of the falsity contained in that statement.

“We, therefore, have Our Client’s further instruction to demand from you an unreserved apology in writing, published and circulated by the same medium with which you have defamed his character, and the sum of N25 billion as reasonable compensation for the willful and unjustifiable denigration of his hard-earned reputation. If you fail, refuse, or neglect to comply with this legitimate demand, Our Client will be at liberty to seek the appropriate redress available to him under the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

He noted that the Federal Government of Nigeria had since August 14 2023 preferred Charges against Emefiele which he had long pleaded not guilty to, expressing concern that Akpabio’s statement undermines the honour and integrity of the Court and its independence and has the propensity of prejudicing the case against Our Client.

“Having submitted to the jurisdiction of the Court, it is only fair and proper that the Court should be allowed to determine the issues submitted to it without unnecessary pressure from any other arm of Government”, the letter read.

Burkaa further argued that Akpabio’s comment is the most appalling and exposes the inaccuracies, noting that no single policy was carried out by Emefiele without the approval, directive, or authorization of the President and/or the Federal Executive Council of which the Senate President was a key and powerful member.