by Seyi Lawal
Following “the publication of a patently false story against the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala by POINTBLANKNEWS”, an online news medium, the minister has sued for N10 billion.
Paul C Nwabuikwu, senior special assistant to the coordinating minister for the economy/minister of finance, released a statement which stated that the minister is claiming the amount against Pointblank News Communications Inc. and its directors – Jackson Ude and Churchill Umoren – as general damages for libel and the same amount as exemplary and aggravated damages for libel.
According to the statement, “The suit is with regard to a news story titled “Okonjo-Iweala buys N1.2 billion Abuja mansion!” published on 10 January, 2012 which, among other false claims, alleged that the Minister purchased the “mansion” from Chief Fabian Nworah, owner of EFAB Properties Ltd in November 2011.
“In response to a rebuttal issued by the minister’s office, POINTBLANKNEWS responded that it had “overwhelming evidence to prove that she owns the mansion but if she insists we are wrong she knows where to seek redress”.”
Chief Nworah issued a statement in which he denied that he or his company sold the alleged property – No 3 Nworah Street, Off Gana Street, Maitama, Abuja – or any other property to Dr Okonjo-Iweala. He added for emphasis that the property described in the story was in fact still available for purchase at the time the story was published.
In his statement signed, he said: “We are still looking for buyers and we want to say categorically that we did not sell any of the houses to Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.”