Nigeria’s Minister for Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has filed a suit before a high court in Abuja challenging publications against him by an online news publishing platform.
Naija News understands that the said media platform had published two different articles where it alleged the minister’s involvement in a fraud scandal.
The articles condemned and described by the minister as an act of defamation against his person were published on August 3 and 11 respectively.
Mohammed in his argument pleaded with the court to grant him N100 billion in damages against the news platform which has its registered name as Pointblank.
He blamed the media platform for causing him mental distress as a result of its publications and hence demand payment for damages and also to send warnings to other platforms that may want to make ‘false’ publications about him.
According to Mohammed, Pointblank News on August 3, 2021, published an exclusive story about him titled “Lai Mohammed in N10 billion Fraud Scandal as ICPC swoops on NBC”.
The Minister claimed his lawyer then sent a letter asking the media platform to retract the said publication.
However, the publisher failed to retract the said publication. Hence, he approached the court seeking redress.
While he was yet to get relief from the first article, the media house according to him again on August 11, published another article against him titled: “Lai Mohammed, NBC head for showdown over N10 billion Fraud, Minister in Hot Deal with Interpol Most Wanted.”
Mohammed said: “The defendants made a publication described as ‘Exclusive Pointblanknews.com investigations’ and written under the very bold banner and title: ‘Lai Mohammed in N10 billion Fraud Scandal as ICPC swoops on NBC” which was published on Aug. 3, 2021.
“They published another one tagged as ‘Lai Mohammed, NBC head for showdown over N10 billion Fraud, Minister in Hot Deal with Interpol Most Wanted” published on Aug. 11, 2021,″ the minister stressed.
Lamenting that the publications have caused him unrest, Mohammed said he received calls from so many people asking about the alleged fraud scandals.
The Minister is in this regard, asking the court to award N50 billion aggravated and exemplary damages against the defendants for libel.
He also sought the court to award another N50 billion general damages against the defendants for alleged libelous publication as it injured his character and reputation.
He asked the court to order the defendants to retract the said publications and apologize to him publicly in two national newspapers.
Mr Mohammed also asked the court to order the two defendants to respectively write an undertaking to desist from further publishing defamatory words against him.