Information and Culture Minister Lai Mohammed has sued an online publisher, Jackson Ude, for N100 billion over alleged defamatory publication on his news platform, Pointblanknews.
In a suit filed at the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in Abuja, Mohammed accused Ude and Pointblanknews Editor Uduma Mba (sued as second defendant) for allegedly portraying him in bad light in a report that allegedly linked him with a purported N10 billon fraud.
In a supporting affidavit, he averred that the defendants allegedly claimed that he was involved in a N10 billion fraud and that the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) is reportedly investigating him.
The minister said the report, headlined: “Lai Mohamed in N10b fraud scandal as ICPC swoops in NBC,” was published on August 3, 2021 in Pointbalnknews.com and circulated worldwide.
Mohammed said the publication had damaged his reputation, claiming that the imputations about him in the publication were untrue, malicious, unfounded and wicked.
He prayed the court to, among others, award N50 billion as aggravated damages and another N50 billion as general damages against the defendants.
The minister is also seeking an order restraining the defendants from further publishing defamatory reports against him.
Mohammed is also praying the court for an order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants from writing or caused to be written, publishing or caused to be published and generally circulating or caused to be circulated by themselves or their agents or servants or otherwise howsoever any of such libel or similar words or any word to the like effect concerning the claimant.
He has, in the writ of summons, indicated his willingness to attend court to testify in the case.
According to court documents, Mohammed is expected to lead evidence to show that the news platform is allegedly “a purveyor of false, untruth, malicious libel against anyone and intentionally sensationalises its report to defame innocent people as they have done in this case”.
The minister is equally expected to lead evidence to show that he has always been at the forefront of the development of the Ministry of Information and Culture where he is currently serving as a minister and will not do anything to bring his name and the name of the ministry to disrepute.