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Defamation: Lekan Fatodu Sues Omoyele Sowore For N100 million

First Bank Nigeria

Journalist and PR consultant, Lekan Fatodu has filed a defamation suit against Sowore Omoyele of Sahara Reporters.

In the suit filed at an Ikeja High Court with suit number ID/ADR/492/2017, Fatodu, who is claiming N100 million in damages, named Sowore Omoyele, Sahara Reporters Media Foundation and the online publication Sahara Reporters as defendants.

The claimant, in the court document, stated that a publication by Sahara Reporters claiming that he and his company, Leeman Communications Ltd, were used by a former minister, Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode to launder N1.7 billion which was part of the controversial Dasuki arms funds was highly injurious to his hard-earned name and had caused serious damage to his reputation while also resulting in loss of businesses and clients.

Meanwhile, Fatodu has vowed to pursue the case to the end and secure a well-deserved justice which will serve as a deterrent to reckless online publishers and blackmailers.

“I am committed to following this matter to a favourable conclusion and getting justice which will be used as a strong warning to vicious blackmailers who parade themselves as online publishers and journalists,” he said.

He further said that he would use the peculiarity of his case against Sahara Reporters to lead the advocacy against fake news and help innocent citizens.

“My case against Sowore and Sahara Reporters is peculiar because I am an ordinary citizen; not the usual public official who can easily be blackmailed into silence by Sowore using the online platform. But my concern is really for potential innocent victims of this criminality who may not have the guts to publicly defend and pursue a legal action in similar instances.

“Therefore I have started an advocacy against fake news which began in June with the first anti-fake news and anti-blackmail protest in Nigeria which was held in front of Sahara Reporters’ Lagos office. And that has been followed with development of a good communication channel and skill service to help victims raise their issues and embolden them to stay strong in fighting their cases.”

The journalist also said that the N100 million being asked for damages done on his reputation is symbolic and will also serve a special purpose.

“The N100 million being demanded for damages on my reputation will be used for a special purpose vehicle that is for the creation of Citizens Advise Bureau similar to what they have in the UK. But this will be established essentially to help the victims of blackmail, fake news and cyberbullying. And the figure the same amount Sowore criminally demanded from me to stop him from publishing the defamatory story he cooked up against me. I want it to be a cross of shame he will carry in his heart for a long time to come”.

He also said that after successfully securing judgment against Sowore and Sahara Reporters in Nigeria, he would take the case and the judgement to the United States of America where Sowore also has an operational branch to institute a legal action against the publisher in line with the laws of the country and to let the US authority have a better insight into the other activities of Sowore and Sahara Reporters.

Fatodu maintained that he will not back down from the criminal case he has against Sowore which remains with the police in Panti.

“It is important to state that the criminal case upon which Sowore was arrested in January is still alive and I am not backing down on the case”.

Fatodu, who has been friends with Sowore for over 20 years, called serious media attention to his dispute with Sowore when in January he posted a picture of Sowore amidst some policemen on social media and wrote that he just got Sowore arrested for criminal defamation, and threat to life and career.

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