As ₦5 billion defamatory case against Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello-led government heats up, a Nigerian newspaper identified as Blue Print has apologised and retracted its publication linking the senatorial candidate of Kogi Central Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the last general election, Barr. Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan to terrorism without any proof.
Recall in the build-up to the 2023 Kogi Central senatorial election, the Kogi State government in what was described as a desperate attempt to stop the PDP senatorial candidate linked her to terrorism and alleged that she had connection with the Kuje prison break of July 5, 2022, and Owo church massacre on June 5, 2022, in Ondo, respectively.
Irked by the deliberate attempt to drag her hard-earned reputation in the mud, Barr. Natasha, through her lawyer Femi Falana SAN, filed a lawsuit in Abuja High Court dated 10th November 2022 and sought the order of the court to declare that the publications are libelous and defamatory against her.
She sought an order against the defendants jointly and separately to pay the sum of N5,000, 000,000,000.00 (Five Billion Naira) as damages for the libelous publication by the defendants against the claimant in their various publications.
However, in a publication dated Sunday, May 21, 2021, the paper said they have since discovered that the said statement against Mrs Akpoti-Uduaghan by Kogi State government was not true and therefore sincerely tender an unreserved apology to her, her husband, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Kogi Central, and regret whatever inconvenience or embarrassment the publication must have caused them.
“We are also using this medium to retract the story and dissociate Mrs Akpoti-Uduaghan from any link whatsoever to terrorism, as no security agency or a court of law indicted her to that effect.
“Why admitting our error in this regard, we also wish to state that until last week, the newspaper did not receive any document from Mrs Akpoti-Uduaghan asking us to retract and also apologise, as done by other newspapers which reported same story.
“Again, we respectfully apologise for this error and strongly urge the public to disregard the earlier story”, the paper was quoted as saying.
It was also gathered the Kogi State Government has not yet retracted its statement on Natasha at the time of filing this report.