A businessman, Dr Andrew Warri Foubiri has demanded the sum of N5 billion, retraction and apology from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for alleged defamation.
Fuobiri who is the Managing Director A.M Projects, A.M Project Consultancy Limited, Medical Director Ranez Medicals and Director of Health and Missions International made the demands through his legal representatives, Chief Nelson O. Imoh and Kini Inemkpo Marcus, Esq in a letter dated April 14, 2021.
The EFCC had made a publication in a national daily declaring Fuobiri wanted for obtaining the sum of N125 million under pretence and issuing a dud cheque.
Consequentially and in line with professional best practices, the Commission said it approached a court of competent jurisdiction for an arrest warrant which was used in declaring the suspect wanted with a view to letting the public know and assist in apprehending him to face the criminal charge against him which he obviously wants to evade.
In his response, Fuobiri said EFCC acted in total and flagrant disregard to the rule of law as the matter was pending in a court of competent jurisdiction and had been scheduled to be heard. He also stated that the EFCC’s publication was laced with barefaced distortion of fact and was issued with the intention to damage his hard-earned reputation.
The letter written by Fuobiri’s legal representatives, Chief Nelson O. Imoh and Kini Inemkpo Marcus, Esq reads in part: “Our client’s attention has been drawn to, and he is aware of a maliciously actuated and libellous publication carried out against him by your Commission, authored by your Wilson Uwujaren, Head, Media and Publicity EFCC, and caused to be published vide Leadership Newspaper No.431 of Friday April 9th, 2021 at page 21 thereon.
“By your said libellously directed publication which publication was made to the whole world, read throughout the entire universe both in its hard-copy, circulated in all the nooks and crannies of the Federation of Nigeria, widely published and read through the internet cum all social media platforms without any legal justification whatsoever, you caused to be published against our client inter alia the following concocted, and unfounded statements.
“By your writings and publication aforesaid you put forward our client as an irresponsible, fraudulent, fugitive of the law, double standard and unworthy Nigerian Medical Practitioner and Businessman, and imputing dubious and unhealthy character standing against the interest and reputation of our client depicted in the aforesaid publication.
“This is not only unwarranted, libellous and destructive of his respected, well nurtured and sustained image, but also has the unfortunate tendency of portraying our client as an unreliable and irresponsible Nigerian Medical Practitioner and businessman in the eyes of both his teaming business partners, reputable patients, blue chip companies as his medical clients and patrons, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) where he has a major medical consultancy stake.
“There is no order of any court of law in Nigeria, nor anywhere in the world that has declared our client wanted either by the issuance of a valid bench warrant of a competent court of jurisdiction, nor has our client been adjudged to be guilty of any known criminal offence under our statute books to warrant this onslaught against his reputations and persons.
“On March, 30 2021, our Chief Nelson O. Imoh Esq of Principal Counsel and Kini Marcus Esq appeared at the Ikeja High Court, before Hon. Justice S.O. Solebo where the matter was called, and in the absence of the Prosecution Counsel, My Lord Hon. Justice S.O. Solebo adjourned the matter to the 24th day of May, 2021 for arraignment.
“Respectfully, it is our submission that declaring our client wanted in the face of the pendency of the Information in Charge No: ID/12426C/2020 – FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA V. ANDREW WARRI & 2 ORS, and for which he has not been served as required by law smacks of executive lawlessness, contrary to sections 382 (1)(2)(4)(5) & 389 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, as well as Section 252 (1)(3)(5)(6) of the Administration of Criminal Justice (Repeal and Re-enactment) Ch. A3 Law of Lagos State, 2015,
“In view of the vexatious, damaging and image destructive defamatory activities of your Commission as depicted in your authorship and publication without any legal justification, and due process against our client, we are DEMANDING an immediate retraction of the said libellous publication, unreserved apology from your Commission made in favour of our client.
“Same should be made to be published and retracted the defamatory publication in two National Newspapers circulating in Nigeria and on–line, through the internet cum all social media platforms.
“We also have the further instructions of our client in addition to demand and we are demanding a commensurate and assuaging sum of N5 Billion be paid to our client through our law firm Nelson & Nelson Chambers as damages caused our client by your ill-informed publication.”
He added that, “If at the expiration of 72 hours, including the date of the receipt of this letter, you do not accede to our humane demand as instructed by our client, we shall have no other option than to pray in aid all known instrumentality of the law to protect the image, corporate, business and professional standings of our client.”